cover image To Love a Stranger

To Love a Stranger

Connie Mason / Author, Connie Mason / Epilogue by Avon Books $

This talky western romance set in 1880s Montana shatters the image of cowboy heroes as strong, silent types with a soft spot for the ladies. Some good shoot- 'em-up scenes don't compensate for pages of sometimes tedious, often awkward and ill-suited dialogue between petulant, woman-hating Pierce Delaney and feisty but vulnerable Zoey Fuller (""This entire scenario is a farce."" ""I'm pleased that you want to continue our intimate relationship until I leave.""). In between, Pierce, a mysterious stranger on the run from vigilantes, saves Zoey from a loathsome banker who lusts after her and her ranch. Granted, cowboy romances are popular, and veteran author Mason's (Taken by You) sex scenes are hot and steamy, but with its meandering p.o.v. and rather implausible characters, this could have used more work. (Oct.)