Leisure, Feb 23 2010, $7.99
In 1875 in Canyon County, Arizona Territory, Trace Ord shoots the horse thief trying to steal his steed Diablo. He assumes the person he shot is a young boy, but when he goes to help him, he finds he shot a beautiful woman. He removes the bullet from her shoulder and gives her a chance to heal though he demands she explain why she was out here alone and took his horse. She refuses to answer beyond saying her name is Mae.
Not long afterward she steals Diablo for the second time. Her escape fails when four men grab her. Trace meets an older man who he calls the Preacher. They team up, but are unable to track Mae any further due to a storm. Instead they head to the Lazy C Ranch where Trace has business as a renegade rider seeking evidence that the owner Jared Comstock was stealing horses from his clients. With Preacher helping, Trace learns Mae is Jared’s wife and Comstock was riding Diablo. However, nothing is quite like it seems as Trace is to learn while trying to rescue Mae and Diablo and obtain the proof of rustling by the lazy C.
This is a terrific tribute to the late Dawn MacTavish. Known for her Regencies and as Dawn Thompson her paranormals, as well as the well written Renegade Riders, shows her audience the depth of her skill with a western romance. The lead couple is a fabulous pairing as each has doubts about the other’s loyalties yet take a dangerous risk for the other. Although Preacher’s insistence on helping is not adequately explained until the very end, fans will fully appreciate the late twists that add excitement to a strong tale in which the lead couple exchanges shoulder scars.