Dell, Dec 2001, 6.50, 355 pp.
Emily Spoon feels Forlorn Valley, Colorado is the perfect place for her and her family to start over. However, Sheriff Clint Barclay has spent much of his law enforcement life jailing the Spoon gang and feels that Emily is just a chip off the old block. He rejects her insistence that the family is going straight, firmly believing that outlaws never change their spots.
At a town social, Clint is unable to stop himself from kissing Emily. Though both are shaken by their respective reactions, Emily knows she must find a way to prove to Clint that the family's outlawing days is over. As Clint and Emily fall in love, evidence surfaces that seems to lead to the conclusion THAT the Spoon family is still involved in illegal activities. The sheriff must choose between his duty and his heart unless new evidence surfaces.
The key to the well written ONCE AN OUTLAW is the depth of the characters, especially the lead couple as readers can understand the growing feelings of love shadowed by doubts and divided loyalties. The support cast, notably Emily's family, enables the audience to see even deeper inside Clint and Emily hearts. The story line shows the strength of Jill Gregory as a writer as she cleverly switches from amusing scenarios to situations filled with pathos that hook fans into seeking other western romances from this talented author.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner