“Running Wild...... By Linda Howard and Linda Jones.
Carlin Reed is a young woman enjoying her life and friends in Houston. She makes the mistake of going on a blind date with Brad Henderson, a police officer, and her life changes forever. He refuses to accept her rejection, and becomes a stalker. Knowing his profession, she feels it's safest to disappear. She ends up in Dallas, rebuilding her life, until her best friend , wearing Carlin's raincoat, is gunned down on the street. Now, his attention is deadly.
We meet some of the residents of a small town in Wyoming called Battle Ridge. Kat , the owner and baker of a little diner called The Pie Hole, is known far and wide for her baking skills. Zeke Decker, her cousin and owner of a ranch outside of Battle Ridge has the reputation of being a " love 'em and leave'em cowboy." He is in desperate need of a cook and housekeeper. Carlin makes a random stop in Battle Ridge looking for a meal and a little rest on her quest to a new home and identity. It turns out to be a very beneficial stop, and she becomes Carly.
Carly and Zeke have a rocky start to their housekeeper/boss relationship. They learn to get to know each other, one beginning to trust the other, and Carly, finally tells him her secrets. His need to protect her is all consuming.
The relationship between Carly and Zeke is so satisfying. They both have pasts and fears they have to conquer, and their journey is sweet and passionate.
I enjoyed this novel very much. I have never read one of Ms. Howard's western contemporaries, and I'm looking forward to the next installment of The Men of Battle Ridge.