Wyoming Cowboy Justice
Grady and Laurel are the Romeo and Juliet of Bent, Wyoming. With each of their respective families caught in a generations-long feud, the two must put aside embedded prejudices to solve a crime. Told in alternating PoVs, Wyoming Cowboy Justice is a tale of two people who have to figure out who they are outside of their families, if they even want to, and what the consequences of risky love might be.
Laurel Delaney’s primary identity is that of cop. She loves her job and takes her oath to protect Bent seriously because she also loves her town. The fact that she’s a Delaney makes that both easier and harder; easier, because being from a powerful family means she has the connections she needs; and tougher because anytime she has to interact with the Carsons, her last name trumps her badge.
Grady Carson’s primary identity is that of being a Carson. He is steeped in the family lore of how the Delaneys stole their land from them many moons ago, and that all that is wrong with the world can be traced back to that family. As the saloon owner on the Carson side of town, he keeps tabs on his sprawling family from behind the bar.
The two knew each other before the start of our story, of course, but didn’t really, and that tension is one that Ms. Helm plays with expertly.
The issue at hand is a dead body in Bent and one of Grady’s relations as the only possible witness. The Carsons aren’t fans of law enforcement, so getting Grady’s cooperation in order to track the kid down is a challenge, but Laurel and Grady reach an agreement that allows the search to move forward. Over the next hundred or so pages, the two uncover some shady dealings in a local mining operation as well as uncovering some serious chemistry between themselves. Watching the two of them decide to trust the other, outside of their preconceived notions, was so much fun.
I also loved how specific Ms. Helm is with letting us know about Grady’s conflict over falling in love with a woman who can totally take care of herself. All of his protective instincts are challenged at every turn in this tale, but he checks himself repeatedly so as to allow Laurel to do her job. It’s never easy for him, but it was an evolving piece of their relationship I found myself smiling at quite a lot.
As suspense novels go, I wasn’t on the edge of my seat, but this is still a well-developed mystery. I rarely dip into the Harlequin Suspense line, but I’m glad I didn’t miss this on. If you’re looking for a tale where the bad guys get caught and the girl gets her guy (in more ways than one), I’d give Wyoming Cowboy Justice a try.
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