Night Thunder

Author: Jill Gregory

Publisher: Dell

Release Date: June 29, 2004

Blue Ribbon Rating: 4.5

Format: PRINT

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Josy Warner has lost her creative edge recently.  Ever since she discovered that her boyfriend Doug Fifer is a married man with kids, she hasn't been able to come up with a single usable design.  Although she has always worked hard and enjoys her career as a fashion designer in New York City, her life hasn't been easy.  Josy was orphaned as a child when her parents were killed in an accident.  Alone in the world, she was shuttled from one foster home to another throughout most of her childhood.  She met her good friend Ricky Sabatini in a particularly bad foster home, and he's a major part of the reason she knows how to take care of herself.  Ricky is an NYPD cop in big trouble, but insists he's being framed.  When he asks Josy to hold a package for him, she agrees.  She's wary but she doesn't really believe the compassionate boy who protected her when she was vulnerable would ever become a dirty cop.

When Ricky asks Josy to return the package, chaos erupts and she has to get out of Manhattan.  Fast!  Trying not to leave a trail, she heads for the small town of Thunder Creek, Wyoming.  Josy visited the town once as a child and not only is it far away from New York City, she believes it may hold the key to her past.  Josy is in shock.  How could this happen to her?  She worked hard to carve out a life for herself, and now her world is crumbling.  She's frantic when she can't get in touch with Ricky.  Josy is afraid to trust anyone - even her new neighbor, Sheriff Ty Barclay.

Ty Barclay is a widower.  He and his wife Meg grew up together in Philadelphia and were already in love when they were kids.  Both were cops back in Philly.  When Ty lost his pregnant wife in the line of duty, he was devastated.  As a child, Ty had spent summers in Thunder Creek and when relatives told him the small town needed a new sheriff, he decided to put Philadelphia behind him and give it a try.  It's been two years since his wife's death, but Ty just throws himself into his work and still isn't dating.  He's been busy working on a case involving rustlers.  It's a big problem, especially for smaller ranchers who can easily lose everything when rustlers strike.  When the tall, hard, lean sheriff sees Josy he's curious about her as a newcomer, but he's not at all interested in her as a woman.  He still hasn't moved beyond Meg's death.  But something about Josy is getting to him.  She's secretive, arousing his cop's instincts.  She's also gorgeous, with her long, blonde hair and green cat's eyes, but Ty has seen beautiful women before.  Still, for the first time in two years, he finds himself looking for opportunities to be with a woman.  Could the ice around his soul actually be starting to melt?

Josy is grudgingly attracted to the prickly Ty, but she's not forthcoming about her past.  Although she's holding back Josy quickly makes friends in Thunder Creek, fitting into the small-town lifestyle but ever wary that Ricky has gotten her into a dangerous situation.  Josy wants to confide in Ty, but doesn't want to put him in danger.  Yet she can't seem to resist the handsome sheriff.  She can't be falling for him, can she?

NIGHT THUNDER is a gripping story, with twists and surprises at every turn that kept me intrigued and wanting answers.  What was in the package?  What was happening to Ricky?  Was Josy safe in Thunder Creek?  Would she find the answers she was seeking?  Would she ever have a chance to return to her old life?  Would Ty find the strength to move beyond his grief?  Could he forgive Josy for keeping secrets?  Also, it was a pleasure to see the warm and friendly townspeople welcome Josy into their midst.  And I loved the almost jarring contrast between the small-town ways of Thunder Creek and the serious criminal activities in New York City.  I couldn't put NIGHT THUNDER down until I had finished every last word!

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Alane

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