Christabel Gaines was the victim of abuse when Judd Dunn came into her life and rescued her at the age of sixteen and married her to keep her safe. Five years later, Judd is still protecting Christabel by helping her manage the ranch they co-owned. Christabel has learned to love him and dreams of a future with her Texas Ranger. Unfortunately, Judd values his freedom and isn't ready to settle down with a wife and children.
Complicating things is the appearance of movie star Tippy Moore. Much to Christabel's heartache, Judd seems to be taken with the "Georgia Firefly". To make matters worse, a hidden enemy is tailing Judd and Christabel. Now, it's up to Christabel to fight for the man she loves. Will she succeed or will she end up in heartbreak?
This report prepared by Giancarla Esguerra
Christabel Gaines and Judd Dunn have a marriage of convenience. She has only 20 but Judd is in his mid 30's. They were married to save a cattle ranch that was half his and half hers. Christabel has been in love with Judd forever but he is bent on making sure that nothing ever becomes of this "marriage".
Things on the ranch haven't been great, money is tight, a hand was caught steeling and their prize cows are coming up dead. Who is the culprit? They have an idea, just no evidence to back it up.
In the meantime, Cash Grier, a good looking tough lawman, with a shady past who is also years older than Christabel flirts with her. Judd is jealous of the two and trys to keep them apart.
When Christabel risks her life to save Judd from the man terrorizing their ranch, Judd realized just how precious she is to him.
This report prepared by Wendy Brown
Mira, Jul 2003, 23.95, 304 pp.
Though thirteen years her senior and she still attends high school, Texas Ranger Judd Dunn marries Christabel Gaines. He does so to keep her half of the Jacobsville, Texas ranch they own in partnership from fortune hunters until she comes of age. She agrees to the marriage because she hopes to make it a real one, as she knows what she feels is not puppy love.
Five years later Crissy has turned twenty-one and Judd plans to annul their paper marriage though she would prefer he wait a few lifetimes as she still loves him. With the chance to bring in some needed income, Judd allows a film crew to use the ranch. However, Crissy fears that the lead actress Tippy Moore seems to have her sights set on Judd. While she wonders how she can make her spouse realize she is a diamond of a woman now and has learned how to love Judd, dangerous “accidents” occur at the ranch. Only Assistant Police Chief Cash Grier believes Crissy's assertion that they are deliberate.
The suspense takes a back seat to the lead couple and the two supporting characters that add jealousy to the mix, yet readers will enjoy this exciting tale. The relationship between Judd and Crissy evolves so that the audience believes she knows her heart's desire. Judd comes across as foolish yet that is why the audience will like him as he struggles to hide his desires for Crissy for several reasons and not just her age. Fans of an ardent contemporary romance with a bit of intrigue will want to read this novel and hopefully Diana Palmer will follow up with Cash's story.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner