The Lawmen of Silver Creek Ranch #10
By Delores Fossen
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
When a baby goes missing, a Texas marshal and a woman from his past discover there’s a whole lot more behind this kidnapping
Holden Ryland certainly didn’t become a marshal just to end up busting his ex, Nicky Hart, for taking files from Conceptions Fertility Clinic. But only Nicky knows just what was really stolen: a newborn being held for ransom. A newborn who is kin to both her and Holden. The missing boy is only the start of a mystery that snakes through Texas, winding its way through their families. Bad blood may linger between them, but Holden can protect his nephew back at the Silver Creek Ranch. If they can lay their past to rest to rescue this child, is it possible for them to have a future together? (From Goodreads)
‘Holden’ hits the ground running – literally – and speeding away from bad guys. I was many pages into this fast-paced novel before there was a sufficient break in the action to breathe, much less catch up with what was happening. After reading one of these addicting novels,it is easy to see why Delores Fossen is a well-known name in romantic suspense .
Holden Ryland, a US Marshall, went to the home of ex lady friend, Nicky Hart, regarding the FBI visit she would have the next day. Why? Probably because as a hard-working investigative reporter, she had been trying to find Senator Minton, gone missing two weeks earlier. Her search led to Conceptions Fertility Clinic, where not only Senator Lee Minton and his trophy wife, Beatrice, are clients, but where her late sister, wife of Holden’s late brother had been treated.
What Nicky found was stunning, albeit hopeful news. Unfortunately it was later that evening before she could share the news with Holden. When he arrived, her cues indicated there was someone in was in her home threatening her, so Holden slipped in to come to her rescue. Thus, their race against time began.
Holden and Nicky have a past that blew them apart before they barely began. Nicky’s betrayal once risked Holden’s and his brother Drury’s lives, something the Ryland family wouldn’t forget. They had to set it aside for the moment to save Nicky’s life and find the baby born days earlier. The baby had been carried by a surrogate mother with the embryo of Nicky’s sister and and brother-in-law. At least one more surrogate is involved in the case. Conceptions is involved in something criminal, and Nicky had a copy of the files to prove it.
The Ryland men in the novel are all in law enforcement and most in ranching. Holden has many brothers and cousins; when one is in trouble, the rest are there. As a newcomer to Silver Creek, I was almost overwhelmed at first to keep up with the lawmen and one law woman. The author skillfully shows readers who each of the Rylands are without weighing down the novel.
Nicky’s family is very small in comparison. There is only her estranged father, known for his illegal dealings that made him a very wealthy man, Nicky, and now her newborn nephew. I didn’t feel that I got to know any of the characters beyond the surface with the exception of Nicky and Holden. We do get to know them a little better than the others when privy to their thoughts. We learn simply through observing people’s actions and interactions. I didn’t have the kind of bond a reader has with characters other than by exception, based on the ones I didn’t like.
There are many bad guys after Nicky and those who appear to be “innocent bystanders”, Beatrice, the senator’s wife, Amanda, Conceptions’ former clinic manager, and Nicky’s father Oscar. The infant’s kidnappers were counting on a huge ransom and would kill anyone in their way. The question was…who was pulling the strings of the bad guys? There were definitely ample suspects with possible red herrings introduced through stunning, story-changing plot twists that left this reader’s head spinning.
The complexity of the mystery appeals to me; there are layers of mystery and deception. Amidst breath-taking, explosive action and a bit of spice, the suspense grows rapidly with each scene. To this reader, the means used by the bad guys might be overkill, but most is realistic. The reader is aware of violence (i.e. shootings) but there are no graphic descriptions and a minimum of lives lost, making it a good fit for those who enjoy suspenseful, intriguing romance. The actual bad guy(s)/ gal(s) were somewhat of a surprise based on how the evidence appeared; the ending however is more than satisfying. Sufficiently satisfying that this reader has already picked up the next ebook in the series with hopes of one day catching up on some of the earlier novels. I highly recommend ‘Holden’ to fans of the author, the Lawmen of Silver Creek series, and the Harlequin Intrigue imprint. This reader is amenable to reading more of this author and this imprint again in the future.