Friday, March 16, 2012

What's This About A Hush-Hush Romance? "Margot's Lawman" by Debra y

It's hard to keep a secret in the small town of Pike, Montana, but veterinarian Margot McDougal and sheriff Roy Lee Hanson managed to keep their relationship on the sly for months. Margot cares for Roy Lee, but the last thing she needs is to worry about local gossip while she's busy running her clinic and dealing with the loss of her beloved father.

Roy Lee can't wait to tell the world that he loves Margot. He respected her decision to keep their affair quiet?until now. It's time for everyone to know Margot is his gal...especially Ryan Martin, her new assistant. He's formed an attachment to Margot and Roy Lee is sure the city boy's unexplained appearance in Pike means he's up to no good.

Margot just wants to help Ryan fit in, and Roy Lee's jealousy soon drives a wedge between them. A wedge that only increases when Margot is roped into Ryan's secret, too.

The continuing story of the sisters of the McDougal Ranch has not yet disappointed as I have now come to Book Three and the sister who is not the town veterinarian and a woman as deeply affected by her father's untimely death from ALS. The collective grieving that shows up in these first three stories testifies to the close relationship all the daughters had with their dad, admittedly not perfect, by any means, but deeply connected and all of them much loved by their dad. Now this strong and dominant man is absent from their lives, and each woman must come to some kind of settlement in her emotions as the time for grieving passes.

It was one thing for the sheriff to be willing to keep his relationship with the good doctor under wraps while Margot was working through the fall-out emotionally and otherwise from her dad's dying. Now she has hired another young veterinarian to assist her with a growing practice so that she can have some time off and a bit of relief from the almost constant drain of running a vet clinic and ranch practice. What's a guy to think when it looks like his best and only girl is getting sidetracked by a new guy in town and one who works closely with her every day? So things heat up and the road to true love certainly doesn't run smoothly for these two.

I think an issue that continually seems to be present in all romance fiction is the fact that no matter how strong a person may be emotionally and psychologically, when the emotions get all tangled up there is difficulty and even strong, mature, well-balanced people seem to struggle with a sort of "should I or shouldn't I" kind of crisis. There's no denying that both Margot and Sheriff Lee are grown-ups who know their own minds in many aspects of their personal and professional lives, but the future that may lie before them collectively is troublesome for reasons that are hard to face or deal with.

This author has given us another in this series of novels that points up the importance of family loyalty and connection in times of deep loss, a loss that can upend carefully planned lives and change perspective for people who otherwise are very goal-oriented. Nothing has changed for Roy: he loves Margot and he wants everyone to know that. Such is not the case with the good doctor and Roy has acquiesed to her because of the recent loss in their family. The interaction of the sisters within the family circle is interesting in and of itself as it demonstrates the differences each has in dealing with a future without their father. Each additional novel also is a continuing story of the characters who were featured in previous stories and how their lives continue to change because of the relationshipsthat have embraced their lives.

I have enjoyed this series so far and this new addition to the series continues what I believe is a testimony to this author's ability to tell a very good story. Even though previous characters are now relegated to "background" status, they are still able to hold their own and add color and dimension to each new story. I also think this author has done a very good job of developing the personalities of the sisters so that they each shine in their own right. That's not always easy to do.

It's a good read, a very well-written romance novel, and one that will continue to charm fans of this author and good, family-oriented series. I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.

This novel was released in February, 2012, by Carina Press.

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