By Janet Squires
Whiskey Creek Press, December 2014
Sarah Ryan’s hope for a new life in the Arizona Territory is shattered in an instant by gunfire. Suddenly, she has to rebuild an uncertain future with her orphaned nephew, Will, and take on the challenges of a cattle ranch.
Just when order returns, veteran lawman, L.T. McAllister rides in. He’s a dangerous man determined to do what’s right regardless of the personal loss. L.T. believes himself ready for anything until he meets Sarah. Her ideas about the man he’s become soon pit his lifetime of duty against desire.
L.T.’s and Sarah’s loyalty to Will catapults them into a life for which neither one is prepared. And when L.T. and Sarah defy Sheriff Grant Simpson, they trigger a cataclysm of retaliation that escalates into kidnapping and murder. L.T. and Sarah are forced into a battle for justice…and their lives.
Janet Squires tells her story in visual prose, her descriptions of places make you believe you are right there viewing them first-hand. Her character studies are excellent too, you share their feelings be they happiness, sadness, frustration, anger and fears. Her words flow smoothly making this book a joy to read.
There aren’t that many characters in this story and Squires mainly switches between Sarah and L.T. as they become drawn to each other, yet fear acting on these feelings. But the growing love between them must take second place to the search for stolen gold and the running of the ranch.
The opening chapters deal with Sarah struggling to adjust to her new life in America, but her strong will sees her dealing easily with all the hardships thrown at her. It’s when L.T. arrives on the scene, and the anger he brings with him that attracts violence, that we see cracks appearing in her character.
Although the storyline follows the trail seasoned western readers would expect it does offer some neat surprises, not least what happens to Sarah and L.T. emotionally and physically making for a powerful ending in a tense and exciting final showdown with Sheriff Simpson.
If you like westerns filled with terrific character development and gripping action scenes, believable dialogue and touches of humour, then, like me, I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading this book.