Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Morrow Creek Marshal - Lisa Plumley (HH #1259 - Dec 2015)

Series: Morrow Creek (Book 10)

Dylan Coyle was all man. Tall. Handsome. Not to be trusted...

Dancing girl Marielle Miller makes sure no cowboy steps his spurred boots out of line. But then one night, she tumbles from the stage into the arms of Dylan Coyle...

Marielle doesn’t need a man in her life-especially a wandering gunslinger unwilling to put down roots. Except as Morrow Creek’s new stand-in lawman, Dylan will be around to vex her for a while yet. And when she becomes embroiled in his latest case, Marielle starts to hope this particular drifter will stick around for good!

Good book. This story picks up where Morrow Creek Runaway left off. Dylan was one of Rose's security guys and now that the threat is over, he's planning to leave town. Before he can do so, the men of the town coerce him into being their temporary sheriff since the previous one has disappeared. Marielle is the senior dancing girl at Murphy's saloon, one with very exacting standards. She works hard to protect herself and the other girls from patrons with trouble on their minds. A confrontation one night has her falling off the stage right into Dylan's arms.

Dylan and Marielle strike sparks from each other from the very beginning. Marielle has a very poor opinion of most men, believing that none of them can be counted on. Even though he is the sheriff, Marielle knows that Dylan isn't the kind to settle down anywhere, so she is always on the lookout for his departure. Dylan is a man who refuses to put down roots anywhere and goes wherever the wind blows him. He's not thrilled about staying in Morrow Creek, but something about Marielle makes the prospect more appealing.

One of Marielle's motivations in life is to take care of her younger brother, who seems to have a talent for getting into trouble. He's rather immature, though very protective of Marielle. Unfortunately, he also seems to have gotten tangled up with some bad men, who blackmail Marielle into "cozying up" to the sheriff for their own purposes. It was really fun to see her dial back her antagonism in order to do what she must to protect Hudson. What really surprised her was that, once she did, she found that she actually liked the man, and that liking began to grow into more.

On his side, Dylan discovered that he was actually enjoying his time as sheriff. Getting to know the people gave him a sense of belonging that he'd never felt before. He also has a purpose for being there, and that is to track down the previous sheriff and the money he stole. That's proving to be a little more difficult than expected, especially with the distraction that Marielle provides. 

I loved seeing Dylan and Marielle getting to know each other. Though her motive at first had been for the wrong reasons, she's soon enjoying it for herself. I liked how she saw past his tough guy surface to the sensitive man that he's determined to hide from the world. She also discovers that she trusts him, but can't bring herself to tell him of the trouble she is in. I liked seeing Dylan discover that it was okay to show his softer side, that it didn't stop him from doing his job. 

Their relationship progresses quite nicely with Dylan actually considering staying in Morrow Creek and Marielle believing that she can finally have everything she wants in life. Then the bad guys come back to town and Marielle is caught in the middle of a dangerous situation. Suddenly Dylan doesn't know if she's really in trouble or has been playing him for a fool the whole time. Though the danger is dealt with, hurt pride and heartbreak seem to be what's in store for Dylan and Marielle unless they can find a way past it. I loved the way that the men's club and ladies' society got involved and put them back on the path to love. The ending was really sweet and romantic.

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