The Wrangler & the Runaway Mom
by RaeAnne Thayne
(Silh. Int. Mom. 960, $4.25, PG) ISBN 0-373-07960-5
RaeAnne Thayne’s debut in the Silhouette Intimate Moments series is a story with a fairly standard plot line. What makes the book worthy of its high recommendation? It is the artful manner in which she crafts her characters and the credible dialogue which moves the story seamlessly from scene to scene. Thayne varies the pace with the steadily mounting tension that is so necessary to a novel featuring romance and suspense.

Maggie had filed for divorce. While trying to negotiate with her husband, she is present in a washroom off his office when hired killers of a crime overlord appear. They kill her husband because he will not relinquish a computer disk of records and money that he had embezzled from their boss while working as his accountant. He dies claiming Maggie has the disk and the money.

Maggie flees to find and protect her five-year-old son Nicky. We next meet Maggie as she is hiding out in the course of her new employment. She is a physician and has accepted a contract for the remainder of the rodeo season to provide emergency services to the injured riders.

Colt McKendrick is an FBI agent who grew up in Montana and rodeoed in his youth. He is assigned to work undercover as an iterant calf roper to determine whether or not Maggie has the money and the disk, and if she is part of the embezzlement plot. Colt has a personal interest in this assignment: the overlord is a renegade FBI agent who was once Colt’s own partner. Quickly, Colt captures Nicky’s heart and is well on his way to capturing Maggie’s when the killers start moving in.

Both Maggie and Colt bring some emotional baggage to the table, but it is deftly handled so that it does not become oppressive. Thayne manages to find the common ground between these two lovers rather than unduly dwelling on their differences. The energy level in the romance is kept at a high level although Thayne leisurely paces the suspense part of the story.

RayeAnne Thayne introduces characters along the way that she will probably feature in her next scheduled novel. This reviewer joins Silhouette in welcoming a talented writer to the Intimate Moments line.

--Thea Davis

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