Friday 5 April 2024

Lone Wolf

Finished March 30
Lone Wolf by Diana Palmer, Kate Pearce, and Rebecca Zanetti

This is a collection of three short novels all with a wolf as part of the story. 
The first one is Colorado Cowboy by Diana Palmer. This story has twenty-three-year-old Esther Marist is a real jam. Esther had fled her mother Terry's house in Aspen, Colorado after her mother's latest boyfriend Darrin pushed her mother down the stairs in a temper. She has her purse, but not her phone, and isn't really dressed for the winter weather. Esther is afraid to go to the police as Darrin had indicated he had contacts there. She ends up getting a ride from a middle-aged couple driving a semi who drop her off in northern Colorado where she told them she had friends. She ends up on the doorstep of Iraq war veteran Butch Matthews who works for the wildlife service and has a wolf he rehabilitated as a pet. The story is cute, but a little too sweet for my taste. Esther seems worldly wise in some ways, and completely innocent in others. She grew up in boarding schools, but has no friends. She's eager to please and only wants a happy home in her future. As the man hunting her grows near, it is Butch and his friends, who've become hers, along with long-lost family that save the day. 
The second story, The Wolf on Her Doorstep by Kate Pearce is set in the ranching country of California, and was the best story in my opinion. Beth Baker works at the Garcia Ranch and is in charge as the novel opens, with the Garcia family on vacation. She grew up in the area and her brother is a mechanic at the family-run gas station. Beth is also raising two young men, her own son Mike who is home for the summer from college, and her ex-husband's son Wes, who works as an apprentice carpenter in town.  One of the cabins on the ranch is currently rented by Conner O'Neil, a Navy SEALS veteran, and because he hasn't shown up for his weekly supplies from the general store, Beth agrees to take them up to him. Beth has another worry, as her ex-husband Sean has written her son from prison trying to get back into his good books. Beth knows the violence that he's capable of, but Mike was too young to remember the abuse. Wes is with Beth because Sean killed Wes' mother and she offered him a home. Conner has a wolf pet named Loki who accosts Beth soon after she gets to the ranch. I liked Beth as she's no fool, she's capable of a lot of things and has survived some bad times with grace. The chemistry between Beth and Conner was nicely done, and both were drawn as realistic people. A satisfying read. 
The third story is Rescue: Cowboy Style by Rebecca Zanetti and set in rural Wyoming. Hallie is on the run from something and when she crashes her car into a fence in a storm, she made her way to a clubhouse for local cowboys, following the only light she could see. She meets one of the men who own a large ranch in the area, Trent Logan. He's very pushy and although he doesn't force himself on her, he does make some questionable moves and talks in a very sexist way. Hallie has stumbled on something a little mysterious here that she struggles to understand as she still tries to find a way to save herself from what's chasing her. There was a wolf that followed her from her car, and it seems to have been tamed by someone and seems fixated on looking out for her. By the end, there is some sense of what the wolf represents. Hallie is a woman who has a college education, but seems a little helpless, and doesn't seem to put up much resistance to Trent's advances or sexist outlook. This story bothered me in a lot of ways. It seems to be the story referenced by the series indicator attached to the book, Redemption Wyoming, #1. 
All three novels have ex-military men as the male love interest. 

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