The Interpreter

Renegade Father

Saving Grace

The Valentine Two-Step

The Wrangler & the
Runaway Mom

 
Daltonís Undoing by Raeanne Thayne
(Silh. Sp. Ed. #1764, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-24764-8
****
Seth Dalton is a respectable man with a horse training business connected to his familyís ranch in Pine Gulch, Idaho. He has a reputation as a womanizer and slightly rebellious third son of the Dalton family. This is quite a thrill for him in one sense because growing up, Seth had asthma and was often sickly. It wasnít until age 16 that he bloomed and grew into the man he has become. He is getting restless now, watching his two older brothers raise families with wives they adore.

Jenny Boyer moved to Pine Gulch to be near her father in the hopes that she can salvage her family. Her son, Cole is almost 16 and her daughter Morgan is 10. All three are still recuperating from a nasty divorce. Jennyís ex decided one day that he wanted to go to Europe with his twenty-something secretary and he abandoned the family. Despite therapy, Cole has grown more sullen all the time, getting into trouble in Seattle. Morgan suffers from asthma and the doctors think the emotional issues havenít helped. When the elementary school principalís job opened up, it seemed like just the thing to start over.

Cole however, doesnít like it. He steals a sweet little red GTO and ends up crashing into a ditch. Luckily Seth, the owner, is determined to make him work it off and help with the repairs rather than go to jail. In making that choice, he meets Jenny and is instantly attracted to her. She is attracted, too. But she knows all about his reputation and she wants no part of it. She lived with one mistake for too long and is well aware of how upset some townspeople were when they hired an outsider like her. She fears if she is seen with Seth, her job will suffer.

But Seth works his magic on Cole, Morgan and Jenny. He finds himself in a situation he has never been in. He isnít sure what it means, but he is enjoying himself and finds himself bonding with the kids. Jenny likes Seth but is terrified of the feelings he brings out in her. She is scared that if he doesnít stick around, her kids will feel abandoned again. And she is not sure she is ready to trust her heart and her instincts again.

This tale could have reverted to predictability, but the author keeps the issues on an adult level and their concerns are handled with adult logic. Neither is too stubborn, yet both are wary. The kids are normal and not too precocious. The secondary characters are from other parts of the Cold Creek series, but are given enough depth that one does not have to be aware of their stories for them to resonate with the reader.

There is romance and sexual tension, but there are adult situations and the more things happen, the more the reader is drawn into the tale. Seth and Jenny are good together. The author does a good job of not succumbing to patterns one can predict even though some of the situations are predictable. There is just enough creativity to set the plotlines apart from other similar stories.

Daltonís Undoing is an entertaining story set in the snowy mountains of Idaho. The setting brings a refreshing rush of pleasure into a category romance. Donít hesitate to pick it up.

--Shirley Lyons


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