cover image The Rustler

The Rustler

Linda Lael Miller, . . HQN, $7.99 (379pp) ISBN 978-0-373-77330-5

Miller’s third Stone Creek novel (after 2008’s A Wanted Man ) gets as hot as the noontime desert. In early 20th-century Arizona territory, Wyatt Yarbro leaves behind his life as an outlaw as he temporarily replaces his brother as the deputy marshal of Stone Creek and sets out to woo Sarah Tamlin, the intelligent and beautiful daughter of a local banker. The somewhat predictable plot line is enhanced as Sarah’s secrets are carefully revealed, and the relationship between Sarah and Wyatt sizzles in a series of very sensual love scenes. Miller’s portrayal of Sarah as a strong, independent woman sets this novel apart from customary tales of the damsel in distress and the rescuing hero. Instead, Miller focuses on Sarah and Wyatt’s shared and separate vulnerabilities and how they find it easier to face the difficulties of everyday life when they’re together. Well-developed, personable characters and a handful of loose ends will leave readers anticipating future installments. (Oct.)