cover image LEGENDS LAKE


JoAnn Ross, . . Pocket, $6.99 (416pp) ISBN 978-0-671-78617-5

When horse-trainer Alec MacKenna rejects the instructions of an influential employer in the interests of an animal's health, his once-thriving business takes a turn for the worse. Then an old friend asks him to train Legends Lake, an awkward but lightning-fast stallion with a tendency to bolt off the racetrack. Alec's stepdaughter Zoe, daughter of his recently deceased ex-wife, is just as wild. In a desperate attempt to heal both horse and teenager, Alec takes Zoe and Legends Lake to Kate O'Sullivan's Irish stud farm, where the horse was bred. Kate is a successful businesswoman and a single mom who, thanks to Ireland's old-fashioned divorce laws, is still legally married to her violent husband. At first, Alec is befuddled by Kate's mix of horse sense, druid magic and feminine vulnerability, but sexual sparks fly between the two. Only Kate's marital status stands in the way. Covering terrain similar to that of Nora Roberts's Irish trilogies, Ross (Far Harbor, Legacy of Lies) spins a warm romance amid a setting loaded with charm. The horse-racing story line seems a bit implausible, but Ross's insight into both romantic attraction and family dynamics is striking. (Aug.)