NOTORIOUS by Janet Dailey


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Fans of Dailey's easygoing romances (all 90 of them) can drop the reins on this one and just amble through familiar horse-opera territory with a classic cast: a Boss Lady (with a vulnerable lil' gal within) working hard to keep the family ranch out of the clutches of the local law and a neighboring heavy who owns a rich spread. Enter an ex-rodeo rider, unattached, with a score to settle, and love and plots bloom like the sage. The Stranger, Kincade (with a ""sleepy-eyed look that almost concealed the cold, hard blue of his eyes""), first spots the proud, unbendable Eden Rossiter (her hair ""the dark, rich shade of expensive Swiss chocolate"") when he wanders into the little (and misnamed) town of Friendly, Nevada. Yummy Eden is being harassed regularly by DePard, a rancher ""wide and heavy in the saddle."" DePard not only wants Eden's Spur Ranch, but he's bent on revenge: He believes Eden murdered his brother Jeff. (Flashbacks uncover Eden's nightmare ""date"" with Jeff.) Prodding Eden to sell the ranch is her gambler brother Vince, whose only virtue seems to be his love for his sister. Kincade joins the crew at Spur and closes in on brother Vince--was he the cause of the death of Kincade's sister? Vince has been hog-tying Eden's plans to market her cattle by clueing in DePard, whose snipers warn off would-be haulers. Meanwhile, Kincade and Eden are lasso-ed in love and spend a passionate interlude in Reno while hunting down Vince, who's by now rabbitted off. It all ends with a marathon round-up and drive--and a showdown. Old stuff at an easy narrative canter by a pro, and it's all here--from the chuckwagon's lethal coffee to ""the pound of hooves, the clink of spurs, the snap of sagebrush.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1996
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: HarperCollins