cover image Angel Creek

Angel Creek

Linda Howard. Pocket Books, $6.99 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-66081-9

Howard's ( A Lady of the West ) ability to develop engaging romantic characters is the greatest asset in this otherwise routine tale of a 19th-century female homesteader and the rancher who wins her heart. Dee Swann lives alone, and that's the way she wants it. She tends her small Colorado settlement, dissuading the occasional unwelcome suitor with a round of buckshot. Unfortunately, the local gents are also interested in Angel Creek, Dee's reliable water supply. When after a 10-year absence Lucas Cochran returns to inherit his father's ranch, he succumbs to the lure of the spunky woman and her creek--although he expects he'll marry socially well-placed Olivia Millican, Dee's only close friend. Dee's claims of independence seem less convincing after a fall renders her temporarily immobile, dependent on neighbor Lucas's help for even the simplest chores. Lucas presses his advantage, luring Dee into the intimacy she had always shunned. But as the relationship blossoms, the land withers in a dry spell that makes Angel Creek look ever more desirable to ranchers with thirsty cattle--men with no qualms about running roughshod over Dee or her little patch of earth. (Nov.)