cover image Cherished


Jill Gregory. Dell Publishing Company, $5.99 (416pp) ISBN 978-0-440-20620-0

In spring 1873 Juliana Montgomery, with her aunt and uncle, visits wealthy Denver rancher John Breen, little suspecting she is walking into a ``giant trap'': she has been promised as a wife to Breen, who will further her uncle's business interests. Juliana hopes only to find and ``rescue'' her long-lost brothers Wade and Tommy, who have turned to banditry. When she learns of the intended marriage, she flees on one of Breen's horses. Breen posts a bounty for her capture, and while he won't marry her now, he looks forward to ``fun and games'' before she's charged with horse theft. Juliana's flight is cut short by ``handsome, nonchalant'' bounty hunter Cole Rawdon, who surrenders her to the local sheriff. The latter is in cahoots with folks who are hunting Wade and Tommy, and Juliana is being questioned--beaten senseless, actually--when Cole swoops in to the rescue. Cole plans to get at the truth about Breen and help her locate Wade and Tommy (who turn out to be very nice outlaws). Gregory's ( The Wayward Heart ) uninspired tale reduces the West, cradle of individualism, to a land populated by stock heroes and caricature villains. Gregory's books number more than two million copies in print. (Mar.)