Beyond the Limit

Enemy Mine

Hunter's Woman

A Man Alone

Protecting His Own

Untamed Hunter

Bad Boys Next Exit

Behind Closed Doors

Hot Night

Mission Christmas

 
Shadows from the Past by Lindsay McKenna
(HQN, $7.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-77407-4
***
Successful photojournalist Kamaria Trayhern is the adopted child of Morgan and Laura Trayhern, a family featured by Lindsay McKenna in her long running Trayhern series. She was found in an apartment with her dead mother by rescue workers after a large earthquake ravaged Los Angeles. From the rubble, a single photograph in her mother's wallet was all that remained. This photo featured her mother with three men at a veterinary convention. Although Laura has had an ideal upbringing with the Trayherns, she is obsessed with locating her biological father.

Her adopted father has, through research, identified two of the men, and excluded them from paternity, and Cam feels the third unidentified one may be her father. She turns to Morgan and Laura, and not only do they support her current search but aid her in identifying the bolo tie worn by the stranger with the owner of a ranch near Jackson Hole.

From the website, Laura learns they are looking for an EMT or nurse to care for an elderly lady. An EMT, Laura decides to apply for the job without mentioning the true reason for being there. Arriving, she finds the ranch to be the largest in the state and the owner, Rudd Mason, is, at first meeting, a kind and compassionate man seeking to provide care for his mother,†Iris, who is still functioning as a naturalist and business owner but forgetful of her health. Kam is the fifth caregiver they have hired in a short time.

Kam starts work and immediately bonds with Iris, drawing the antipathy of Allison, Rudd's wife, and their two children. The issue is money as Iris is the true owner of the property and Rudd is her adopted child who will inherit. Allison, a wannabe Hollywood starlet who met Rudd at the same time Kam's biological mother apparently did, is in it for the money only, and uses all her wiles to create tension and discord hoping to hasten Iris's death.

The other main character is Wes Sheridan, a man disowned by his abusive alcoholic father who owns the second largest ranch in the state. Wes has spent his life ranching and is a huge asset for Rudd. Immediately attracted to Kam, he is determined never to repeat the disaster of marriage, a lesson learned from his alcoholic former wife.

This story is rich with Indian lore as Iris is part Native American Indian. It †is totally driven by the characters inner conflicts. Depending on the character; greed, guilt, fear of rejection, post traumatic distress are the defining facets of their lives.

The reader knows from the beginning that Rudd is Kamís biological father, and midway through the book she confesses her motives to him and DNA testing confirms this. Wes's father dies, and he leaves to help his mother with the ranch. Allison has now become truly threatened by Kam, the interloper daughter, in her quest for money and power. So the plot thickens, so to speak.

The pacing of the story is predominantly slow as the reader moves from one inner conflict to another. The author has used the locale to advantage, and the small amount of suspense created by Kamís search for her father is supplanted by her romantic interest in Wes, but threatening it all is a man employed to take her life.

--Thea Davis


@ Please tell us what you think! back Back Home