cover image Cold Night, Warm Stranger

Cold Night, Warm Stranger

Jill Gregory. Dell Publishing Company, $7.5 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-440-22440-2

When a one-night stand with Quinn Lassiter leaves Maura Jane Reed pregnant--and desperate to leave the ramshackle hotel owned by her adoptive brothers, the Duncans--she flees to a frontier town in pursuit of the mysterious gunslinger who has fathered her baby. After initial resistance, Quinn agrees to marry Maura and settle her safely on his ranch in Hope, Wyo., then return to his dangerous gun-for-hire life. Struggling against a mutual attraction, Maura and Quinn attempt to negotiate the terms of their arrangement; meanwhile, a local gang of outlaws and Maura's brutish brothers threaten the couple's chance for happiness. The outlaws kidnap Maura in hopes of trapping Quinn, but the couple is finally united in a rousing if obligatory heroic rescue. After this satisfying episode, however, Gregory (Never Love a Cowboy) adds a second, gratuitous threat to Maura's life that mars an otherwise engaging book, supported by a well-drawn cast of townspeople. (Aug.)