This time out, I have the latest from Jodi Thomas, The Lone Texan (Berkley), part of her 'Whispering Mountain' series. Years ago, when Drummond Roak was a boy, he came to the McMurray family. Since then, he's always believed Sage McMurray was meant to be his. Now she's coming back from three years in Boston a doctor, and he's going to bring her home. Except that Sage is coming home a widow, and she still doesn't agree with his belief that they belong together. She just wants to get home, to open a clinic and practice medicine with her friend and nurse Bonnie. Drum isn't her only welcoming committee, either; her late husband's brother keeps popping up, too, though she's not sure why. Sage means to get her supplies together and head home, but when she goes to say goodbye to her brother-in-law, she arrives just before a criminal band robs the place. Then they take her with them, as the man they work for is in dire need of medical attention. Drum goes after them, determined to get her back and in one piece, but their lair is secure and dangerous to enter if one doesn't belong, which means this is a truly dangerous rescue mission. It's worse than he knows, too, because the leader of the band of robbers decides he wants to keep Sage for more than her medical expertise, and when she refuses, he intends to sell her to the highest bidder to break her. Drum and Sage rub each other in many wrong ways, she with her inability to see him for the man he is now rather than the boy he was when he came to her family, and he for his determination to bend her without giving consideration to any of her reasons for doing the things she does. But they also have a deep connection that makes them perfect for each other, as well as a history that makes their emotional resistance futile. Jodi Thomas is a master at writing terrific stories with characters you care about, and I'm sad to see the end of the McMurray family's stories here, though this one is a fantastic read. Sage's friend Bonnie also gets her own adventure and romance with a cowboy stranger, making an interesting detour from Sage's intense abduction. Drum is perfect, the strong and silent type, and with flaws enough to make him human while still letting him be a hero readers will fall in love with. I'm giving this one four and a half of Cupid's five arrows.
Until next time, happy reading!