cover image A Touch of Frost

A Touch of Frost

Jo Goodman. Berkley Sensation, $7.99 mass market (416p) ISBN 978-0-399-58427-5

Goodman (The Devil You Know) will satisfy fans of historical western romance with this sprawling, lusty recreation of life, love, and slowly uncovered secrets on a Colorado cattle ranch in the spring of 1892. Engine 486 judders to a halt somewhere east of Frost Falls, and pretty and practical Phoebe Apple tends to a handsome stranger who’s knocked unconscious. When three masked gunmen attack, she wounds one of the robbers with a gun from her reticule, but they take her captive and hold her for ransom. She’s saved by the stranger she’d assisted in the train, who’s none other than Remington Frost. His father, Thaddeus, is the owner of the vast Twin Star ranch and the new husband of Fiona, Phoebe’s older sister. From the moment Remington and Phoebe meet, bodice-busting sparks fly. Phoebe’s been managing dicey situations since she was 13, but now she faces Remington’s amusement at her inept horse-riding, Fiona’s unhappiness with ranch life and hostility toward them both, and a continuing threat from the kidnappers. Goodman produces a welter of domestic and legal complications and a pleasingly droll set of ranch hands, townsfolk, and bad guys. Her fairy-tale Wild West also surrounds the requisite sexy courtship with plenty of rip-roaring action and appealing Colorado scenery, making up for slightly flat characters and an improbable plot. Agent: Pam Hopkins, Hopkins Literary Associates. (June)