Cowboy Under Siege
by Gail Barrett
(HRS #1672, $5.25, PG) ISBN 978-0373-27742-1
This story is part of a series written by different authors. Because of that there is a lot of background that is either just alluded to or missing all together. The primary mystery involves the heroís father, a senator who has messed things up badly. There is a kidnapping that is in the background, too, but it is not part of this book. With all that said, there is a major threat to the heroís ranch. However, it was difficult to believe it because of it being part of this larger plot that was so elusive. Having said that, I did enjoy the romance between the hero and his lady and it is unfortunate that the background of the story is so convoluted.

The Lazy K ranch is owned and operated by Cole Kelly, a man who aspired to great things, despite a rather dysfunctional family life growing up. His mother and father were not good role models and his father, particularly was way more interested in his political career than his wife or his children. Cole fell in love with Montana after spending time with his aunt and uncle and they have really been his support system. In high school in the little Montana community of Maple Cove, Cole fell in love with Bethany Moore, a Native American girl who was his soul mate.They rode and planned and loved. But Bethany was often at the brunt end of prejudice. Her dream was to get out of Dodge and go somewhere where her skin color did not matter. She and Cole broke each otherís hearts when she got a scholarship and headed out of town, and Cole did not stop her due to his issues about being abandoned.

Now, years later, Bethany is back to help nurse her dad, Coleís ranch foreman, who has suffered from a broken leg. His injury occurred when he was checking the fences and Bethany suspects there is more to it than a fall from his saddle. And the more time she spends on the ranch, the more she realizes there are a lot of things going on that Cole wants to hide from her. But Bethany has never backed down from a challenge and despite some things going on in her world in Chicago, she is determined to help Cole and her father.

The Chicago subplot is a distraction and yet the purpose is to show Bethany how much she is missing by leaving Montana. The storyline has to do with a drug study that she has been helping with and her giving the wrong dose to a patient that has now caused the patientís death. It could have been left out and the story would not have suffered.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, the Senator is hiding out from the press because of the multiple mistresses who have come forward. In reality, he is hiding from a group of bad guys and a plot afoot to kill the President of the United States. All Cole knows is that someone has been killing his cattle, cutting his fences, burning his property and in the end, threatening to kill Bethany. Through it all, he fights his attraction to Bethany and she to him. They torment themselves over their past actions and how despite their physical attraction, their love is not enough to bridge the gap between Chicago and Montana.

I liked both Cole and Bethany, although both have their stubborn nature to blame for their lack of communication. Their chemistry was hot and often overcame their reluctance to talk. When they just acted and didnít think, they fell right into step with each other, confiding and sharing concerns. It was only when the future intruded that they realized they had decisions to make and to do that, their bias and blinders had to come off.

Cowboy Under Siege is both a good story and a convoluted story. If a reader has followed the series, maybe the murkiness of the Senatorís story wouldnít be as distracting as it was for me. But the love story at the heart of this tale is still an enjoyable one.

--Shirley Lyons

@ Please tell us what you think! back Back Home