I’d never heard of the Oregon Outback before reading this 4-in-1 Romancing America collection. Wikipedia tells me it’s a high desert region on Oregon’s southern edge, straddling the Nevada/California border, and home to adventurers and ranchers.
This set of four contemporary romantic suspense stories features the Love brothers, men who grew up in the outback in a rough-and-tumble family. Both of their parents are dead, and the brothers have varying ties with each other and the rugged land that birthed them.
In the first novella, “A Love Remembered,” Jonas Love is an FBI agent on temporary leave. Once he’d intended to marry the preacher’s daughter, but the man wouldn’t give his blessing. Now the preacher is dead and Darcy still single–and more desirable than ever. But Jonas suspects trouble has trailed him to the outback, and the last thing he wants to do is hurt Darcy. Again.
“A Love Kindled” is about the oldest brother, Carver Love. He inherited the family ranch and he’s as tough a cowpoke as you’ll find anywhere. If he weren’t so opinionated, he wouldn’t have made an enemy of Sheridan Hall by saying a woman could handle being Sheriff. What he meant, but couldn’t say, was a woman he cared about shouldn’t be in the hot seat. But when rustlers steal a bunch of his cattle, he’s forced to work with Sheridan, who’s just as stubborn as he is. Lots of flying sparks ensue.
Lucas Love is the owner of an ATV rental shop in “A Love Risked.” His friends are no fun any more. They’ve gotten married and settled down–no more leaping ATVs off sand dunes in the outback. Lucas hires a bookkeeper to straighten out his accounts and finds Avery his polar opposite–a gal who likes order and dislikes spontaneity and risks. Maybe he can coax her into a skydiving adventure. Maybe she can show him settling down isn’t a fate worse than death.
In the final novella, “A Love Recovered,” Justin Love is a bounty hunter who’s avoided Oregon for years. Now, however, the man he seeks is headed for the outback and Justin’s not about to let him get away. He checks into Darrow’s lodge while he awaits his quarry. Darrow’s been waiting for her boyfriend to propose. When she meets Justin, she begins to wonder if she’s settling for second-best in her hoped-for life with Smit. But what is Justin really up to in the Oregon Outback?
These four stories showcase some of the dangers when folks in assorted law enforcement capacities fall in love. More than that, though, Oregon Outback is a fun read with suspenseful elements.
Elizabeth Goddard is the award-winning author of seven contemporary romance novels and two novellas, including a romantic mystery, The Camera Never Lies–a 2011 Carol Award winner. Elizabeth is a member of ACFW and has served as a board member in her local RWA chapter. She is a 7th generation Texan who lives in East Texas with her husband and four children. She and her family recently spent five years in Oregon, which serves as the setting for several of her novels, including Oregon Outback, releasing with Barbour Publishing in 2012.
I received an e-copy of this collection for review from NetGalley. Opinions, as always, are mine alone.
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