Hunter's Law by Pat Tracy
(Harl. Historical #509, 4.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-29109-4
***
Annalee Amory is on a quest. Her sister came west and married a man so quickly that Annalee believes she must have been forced, despite her sister's letters to the contrary. While her parents are away, Annalee takes a train to find her sister. Alone one night in the observation car, she sees a man on horseback being chased by three other men on horseback. She assumes that the man being chased is an outlaw. When he jumps on the train and ends up dragging her to the floor to protect her from gunfire, she challenges him.

Hunter Moran is not an outlaw, but a member of the Guardsmen, a group of men who secretly work for the good of their communities. His encounter with the plucky woman who won't tell him her name affects him more than he wants. When she bravely comes to him to warn him that the men searching for him have returned, they end up fighting the pursuers and fleeing through and on top of the train to escape. He wishes he could get to know her, but until the villain who is trying to run him off his ranch is stopped, he doesn't believe that he can make any connections with a good woman.

Annalee stops in Denver to stay with her newly engaged cousin. Megan persuades Annalee to dress up as a tempting French woman to test Norbert, Megan's fiancÚ. Megan wants to know that Norbert truly loves her. Annalee does not want to do it, but she owes Megan for saving her life when they were children. Hunter is at the party and overhears Annalee flirting with Norbert. He knows that this is the mysterious woman from the train and thinks that if she is really a loose woman, he can set her up as a mistress. He kidnaps her and tries to convince her while she tries to explain that she is not a loose woman and was only acting.

There is much action in this fast-paced story. Hunter and Annalee are both determined people who are willing to push for what they want. Hunter's reluctance to become attached to Annalee is understandable since people he loves keep getting killed. Annalee is no faint-at-heart female. She doesn't let Hunter or anyone else push her around. She also does not hesitate to seduce Hunter when she decides that she wants him.

A secondary romance with Hunter's widowed mother and an Englishman is pleasantly woven through the last half of the story. One part of the story that seemed rushed was the final confrontation with the villain. It was almost anticlimactic.

Hunter's Law is the final book in Pat Tracy's "Guardsmen" trilogy. I have not read the other two, but this story stand well on its own. It did make me want to read the other two stories since Gideon Cade and Burke Youngblood did appear in this book.

--B. Kathy Leitle


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