The Lone Sheriff (Harlequin Historical) - Lynna Banning

A WOMAN DETECTIVE? NOT ON HIS WATCH!

 

As if tracking down train robbers wasn't hard enough, now Sheriff Jericho Silver's backup has arrived, and she's a gun-toting, head-turning beauty. She sure spells trouble.

 

Madison O'Donnell had the perfect life -- a beautiful home and all the ladies' luncheons she could stomach -- but it left her bored to tears. Now a widow, she's determined to fill her days with daring deeds and wild adventures.

 

Jericho is equally determined that she'll be on the next train home. But this is one lady who won't take no for an answer….

 

This turned out to be a better book than I thought it would be at the beginning. Jericho is a sheriff in a small town. He prefers to do things on his own rather than put other people at risk. There is a gang of train robbers that has been stealing gold shipments that he hasn't caught yet and the bank has hired a Pinkerton agent to help him. He is dismayed to find out that the detective is a woman. 

 

Maddie is a widow who is determined to live life on her own terms. Her husband had kept her under tight control, where she wasn't able to do any of the things she liked to do. Since his death she has finally felt like she is doing something worthwhile by working for Pinkerton. She has a talent for nosing out information leading to the capture of criminals. She is also an excellent shot.

 

Maddie and Jericho butt heads from the beginning. He works alone and likes it that way and Maddie is determined to be involved every step of the way. He was recently injured and has not yet gotten back to full speed with his shooting hand. Maddie knows this and insists on being his backup. She is determined to stick with him, and even when he tries to leave her behind, she follows. 

 

Jericho is protective of everyone he knows. When he was a child, one of his friends died and he blames himself. Now he is careful not to get close to anyone. He finds that the more he is with Maddie, the more protective he feels toward her and he doesn't like it. The more he knows about her the more he likes her, and the more he hates the idea of her being in danger. He starts to think about her staying in Smoke River, even though she has made it clear that she wants the excitement of her work and the city.

 

Maddie frustrated me through a lot of the book. Even though she's unfamiliar with the West she insists on doing things her way. I felt like things would  have gone easier if she and Jericho had loosened their pride enough to actually make plans together. She also has terrible tunnel vision about the life she wants. She's so fixated on doing things her own way that she can't see the possibilities that are right in front of her.  Even as she falls in love with Jericho, she refuses to see that she can have just as exciting a life with him as that ideal she's chasing back in Chicago. 

 

When a capture attempt goes wrong at the end, both Jericho and Maddie have to face their fears in order to come through it. I loved seeing Jericho take his courage in hand and actually tell Maddie how he felt and what he wanted, and wanted to smack her for her reaction. She deserved everything he said to her. I was happy to see how it worked out.

 

I enjoyed the secondary characters also, especially the deputy. I liked his respect for Jericho and how well it seemed he understood him. I also enjoyed the other townspeople and how they all felt that their "Johnny" was a part of their family. I loved the way everyone looked out for him.