Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Running Wild: The Men From Battle Ridge, by Linda Howard and Linda Jones

Carlin Reed (Named after George Carlin) is on the run from a police officer she had two dates with, that turned him into a stalker. Carlin loaned her pal Jina her coat, and police officer Brad kills her, thinking Jina is Carlin. Carlin feels she has no recourse since Brad is a cop, so goes on the run. She picks up odd jobs along the way, working for cash for a few weeks, and then she’s off to another town. She ends up in Wyoming at Zeke Decker’s huge ranch, hiring on as his cook/housekeeper. 

There is a lot of humor between Zeke and Carlin, along with a lot of sexual tension. They both think they don’t like each other, and at times they are like oil and water. Zeke was burned by his x-wife, so is leery of all women. He is drawn to Carlin though, and this provides for plenty of humorous banter between them. Carlin does not share any of her past with him, but it’s obvious to Zeke and the ranch hands that she is hiding something major. Carlin falls in love with the land, and winter is approaching. She decides that Wyoming is a safe distance from Houston, Texas, so plans to stay for the winter. 

Carlin insists that Zeke install new locks on the ranch house doors, that must be kept locked at all times. There are several episodes of events that frighten Carlin, so eventually Zeke gets her to talk to him about what she fears, and is running from. He insists he can help her put an end to Brad stalking her once and for all. After Jina’s murder, she does not want to risk anyone else being involved with her. However, over the course of time that oil and water thing turns to much more between Zeke and Carlin. She dreads the fact that she must move on again once spring arrives….and leaving Zeke. 

Libby, the retired cook/housekeeper, returns for a visit. She has heard about the budding romance between Zeke and Carlin, and wants to find out for herself what this girl is all about, and to make sure she isn’t out to take Zeke for all he’s worth. The innocent Libby sets the stage for the final showdown, and the suspense once again takes off full force. 

This story is king of a switch up for Linda Howard, who usually has cops as the good guys. This time around we have the cop as the stalker. The rancher/Wyoming setting is also uncommon for Howard. Since I am a lover of rancher/cowboy books, this was a definite home run for me. 

This book is what a lot of Linda Howard fans have been waiting for, a return to her roots of romantic suspense. A thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying read. 

1 comment:

Lynne said...

I listened to thid book on CD about a week ago, and I found Carlin very irritating. Maybe it was the way the narrator read it, but I did not like the way she was so rude to Zeke in the beginning. The Wyoming setting reminded me a little of Duncan's Bride, being on a ranch and the hero's first wife left because she did not like being so isolated in the country. Not a keeper for me.