cover image Paradise Valley

Paradise Valley

Rosanne Bittner. Sourcebooks Casablanca, $7.99 mass market (352p) ISBN 978-1-4022-8097-9

Bittner (Wildest Dreams) takes on the dangers of 1886 Wyoming as a couple fall in love despite the odds. When Paradise Valley ranch owner Sage Lightfoot encounters Maggie Tucker on his land, she’s nearly done burying her husband—who’s been killed by a trio of Sage’s former employees. Raped by the fugitives and grieving her husband, Maggie doesn’t trust Sage at first, but she joins forces with him when she realizes that he’s just as anxious to bring the criminals to justice. After Maggie and Sage start hunting the outlaws, a series of crises befall them: Sage is attacked by a grizzly bear, one of the fugitives shoots Maggie with an arrow, and then Maggie is kidnapped. Amid all the drama, Sage falls for Maggie and she for him, even as she fears she may be pregnant by one of the rapists. The unrelenting lineup of disasters comes across as overly melodramatic, but strong characterization helps to balance it out. Agent: Maura Kye-Casella, Don Congdon Associates. (July)