candy moulton
encampment, wyo.

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October 28, 2013
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Candy Moulton: Reading the West 10-28-13

Ruthy MacNeil would do about anything to get away from the family who raised her, and particularly the son who has his own ideas about their future together as husband and wife, but she didn’t expect that the flash flood that struck their wagons while crossing a river would set her on a tumultuous ride down the rushing stream and into a new future.

Luke Stone is riding south toward the ranch in Palo Duro Canyon where he grew up. He has a score to settle with Flint Greer who Luke suspects killed his father and then stole the land.

It is inevitable in this romance novel that Luke Stone finds Ruthy MacNeil, and since he is on a mission to reclaim the home property, and the country is sparsely settled, it is also inevitable that he takes her with him as she is Swept Away.

But this is a novel with lots of action, a cast of friends — the doctor (Dare Riker), the lawyer (Vince Yates), the preacher (Jonas Cahill), and the Texas Ranger (Big John Conroy), set out to aid Luke in regaining his ranch. But there is more to the story since there is another cast of characters: Flint Greer, the violent, powerful ranchman, his mail-order bride Glynna, his hard-core foreman Simon Bullard and Bullard’s confused wife Lana.

The spitfire in the bunch is Ruthy, who proves she is just as loyal to Luke as the men who spent time with him in Andersonville prison during the Civil War. She also proves she can handle herself in the woods, or climbing a cliff, and is a good shot with a rifle.

Broken Wheel, Texas, is a man’s town, and in fact the only woman in town is Ruthy, who like Luke must hide out in Dr. Riker’s home/office to avoid tipping Greer off that Luke has come home to reclaim his family ranch.

This story moves quickly and has a few twists and turns before a final face-off between Luke and his friends and Greer and his tough supporters. Nobody comes away without a bruise or two, or a bullet hole.

This is the first in a new series of books by Nebraska writer Mary Connealy, who follows it with “Fired Up” that picks up where “Swept Away” ends. This time the story centers on Glynna Greer with a bit of mystery thrown in when there seem to be a string of attacks on Dr. Dare Riker. Is the culprit a young man intent on protecting his family, or a woman who seems on the verge of insanity, or possibly one of the men in town with a strong need to obtain some of the doctor’s drugs, such as laudanum?

There is romance in each of these books, but also plenty of action including gunfire and fistfights. The books are published by BethanyHouse. ❖

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The Fence Post Updated Oct 24, 2013 05:56PM Published Nov 18, 2013 04:48PM Copyright 2013 The Fence Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.