Dell, Apr 2002, 6.99, 357 pp.
In Bitter Creek, the Blackthorne and Creed clans have detested each other for eternity (or at least three series that has begot double-digit novels). Billy Coburn loves his father's daughter Summer, but they do not share a blood relationship. He is the illegitimate son of Jackson Blackthorne while she is the daughter of the lover of Jackson's wife.
Billy has an affair that results in a child. He wants to raise the boy with Summer, but the biological mother sees the infant as a chance to bleed money from the wealthy Blackthornes. Billy proposes to Summer feeling he has a better chance of winning custody if he is a married man. She loves Billy and though angry that he deserted once before, she marries him. They return to his family home since he feels he needs to help his dying mother and his pregnant sister. However, Billy's female relatives loathe Summer though she is kind and sacrificed a comfortable lifestyle to marry her beloved.. The rest of the broods are in the midst of a soap opera too.
The latest tale in the Blackthorne-Creed universe, THE LONER, requires a scorecard to keep track of the players. The tale will remind readers of when Bay City and Another World were running stories at the same time. The characters are fun to watch as hatred flows stronger than love in most cases. Fans of the series will find Joan Johnston's latest entry a triumph. For newcomers develop a distribution chart to follow who does what or wants to do what to whom.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner