Beyond the Limit

Enemy Mine

Hunter's Woman

A Man Alone

Protecting His Own

Shadows From the Past

Untamed Hunter

Deadly Identity
by Lindsay McKenna
(HQN, $7.99, PG) ISBN 978-0-373-77474-6
Susan had been married to Dirk Payson for five years. Marrying against her parent's wishes, she learned too quickly what a mistake she had made. Her husband was an up and coming drug dealer as well as a spouse abuser. While pregnant, she loses her child when Dirk beat her after she dropped a plate of food. For a change, Susan protected herself with a skillet and knocking him unconscious managed to escape from the house. Rescued, Susan testified against Dirk; he was convicted and sentenced to prison. Susan and her mother entered the witness protection program in separate locations.

Five years later, Susanís FBI handler informs her Dirk had escaped from prison and the FBI thinks she should move from New York City where she had been attending art school while working as a nanny. Knowing Dirk's hatred of cold weather, they have chosen Jackson Hole, Wyoming for her. She agrees to comply and now living as Rachel Carson, she flies into Wyoming, picks up her rental car, and heads to town and the cabin on a nearby ranch she has rented.

En route, she is passed by a SUV that careens out of control and crashes. She stops to lend assistance and is fighting to open the passenger door when Deputy Sheriff Cade Garner arrives. He recognizes the car and realizes it belongs to the widow of his best friend. Quickly, he learns she is dead at the scene but her infant daughter strapped into a car seat in the back is alive. He is godfather to this child and he knows that it was the joint wish of both her parents that if they were dead that he would take this child to rear.

Realizing that Rachel is renting a cabin from his parents simplifies the transportation of baby Jenny. As he is driving Rachel toward their ranch he learns she is a nanny by occupation and hires before they even get there. What she does not realize is that he also lives in a cabin on their ranch and helps out when he is not working in town.

Cade's parents are happy with Rachel as a choice and urge her to stay in Cade's guest room to be closer to her charge. They are not unmindful that Cade has emotional issues attached to rearing Jenny as two years earlier he lost his wife and small daughter in a car accident.

So, the scene is set and in a slow gentle way Cade and Rachel get to know each other and a romance begins to develop. She continues her art classes online but gets out very little as she is fearful that Dirk will fulfill his threat to kill her. Meanwhile Cade is gradually letting loose of his grief and begins to join the world as a happy participant again.

Meanwhile Dirk has reestablished his drug connections, and has sufficient money to pay the best of hackers who are combing the FBI records for his wife's location. After a tragedy, Rachel confesses all to Cade and they unite in their efforts to protect Jenny. While this story is not particularly original, itís predictability is offset by its pacing and fairly well developed characters making Deadly Identity an evenly balanced read.

--Thea Davis

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