A vulnerable woman ends up stranded at a dairy and stirs up memories of an old murder. Can the dairy manager get rid of her before someone kills her…or before she lassos his heart?
Riding a bucking bronco would be easier than the ride Dallas Mae Jenkins is on. While escaping an abusive relationship, she ends up in a wreck and stranded at a remote dairy in Utah. Worse yet, the presence of her horse whips up memories of an old town murder, and Dallas finds herself in serious danger.
The last thing Tom Allred needs is a wily female working at his dairy, especially one dragging up a murder he was accused of committing. Will Tom’s antacids hold out until he can get rid of Dallas? Or, will she lasso his heart?
Dallas Mae Jenkins darted another frantic look into her truck’s side mirror for what seemed like the millionth time in the last fifteen hours. Each time, she expected to see her husband’s white Corvette speeding up behind her. She touched her split lip and then reached for her painfully bruised ribs. Smoke from the fire still lingered in her braided, chestnut hair. She grimaced.
The potholed Utah highway sped beneath her truck, and she could feel her horse shifting his weight in the trailer behind her. Dallas increased her speed, hoping to find a place to stay before nightfall. She wiped the sweat from her palms onto her blue jeans. She had managed to get away, but for how long? How easy would it be for Ray to track her from Apple Valley, California, to Cokeville, Wyoming? Maybe she should’ve headed farther east. Maybe she should go back to Trimble, Colorado, where she’d grown up on a small farm. No, she definitely couldn’t go there. Ray would find her for sure. But would Cokeville be any safer?
Heavens. She didn’t know what to do or where to go. Her thoughts came like mixed-up jigsaw puzzle pieces, and she couldn’t seem to make any concrete decisions. Clearly, she had to keep moving. She’d never been able to keep a level head. Anxiety rose in her no matter how many deep breaths she drew.
She tried not to look into her side mirror again, but the compulsion got the better of her. Nothing but open road lay behind her. Relieved, she released her breath and looked at the highway. A wide-eyed doe stepped into her lane. Without thinking, she tromped on the brakes. The horse trailer swayed. She jerked off the brake.
Please, don’t jack-knife!
The deer thudded against the grill, came over the hood and then smashed the windshield into a thousand spider-web designs. The right front tire jolted into a succession of deep potholes and burst, jerking the steering wheel from her hand. She swerved into the oncoming lane in front of a blue Dodge pickup. The man blared his horn in warning. She swung her truck off the highway into the brush. She tried to bring her rig to a slow stop but didn’t see the fence suddenly before her. She crashed through the barbed-wire, which ripped at her tires like claws, and then smashed into a large juniper tree and high-centered on the broken remains.
The wind hurled from her lungs as her head crashed against the door window. Something warm trickled down her cheek. She gazed into the rearview mirror to see blood oozing from a fresh cut across her forehead. Sunken coffee-brown eyes peered back at her under swollen purplish lids, her old bruises still distorting her features. Ray had really done a job on her this time. She reached up and touched a painful new bump appearing near her left temple. Her head reeled from the pain.
A man’s reflection caught her attention in the truck mirror. Panic gripped her. But, no, thankfully, he wasn’t Ray. The man looked to be in his mid-twenties, tall and lean. He had the long muscular strides of a horse and the wildness of a stallion about him as he marched toward her.
He threw open the truck door, his icy-teal eyes boring holes into her. “What in tarnation were ya doing back there?”
“The deer...it—” she began to say in a daze.
“So ya swerved into my lane?” he questioned, in a unique central Utah drawl.
“The tire...” A wave of nausea rippled through her.
“Typical female driver.”
Her horse, Yuletide, snorted and kicked at the confining innards of the horse trailer. Dallas gasped, realizing he might be hurt. She undid her seatbelt and sunk her cowboy boots down into the hot clay soil. Pain ripped through her, and she reached for her ribs. The ground swayed, her vision blurred. Her knees buckled like a folding chair, but the man caught her before she fell.
“Whoa, wait a minute. Are ya all right?” He kept a firm grasp on her arm.
“My horse,” she said, struggling free. “I’ve got to get to my horse.”
A Great Read!
Hazardous Hideaway is a great read. Cindy Christiansen is a talented writer that can create a story with twists and turns, leaving you reading until all hours of the night. This book is no different. I love the way she weaves small-town ways into a compelling story that keeps you enthralled right to the very end.
Kathy Rochell, Author
Dallas Mae Jenkins is on the run from an abusive husband when she wrecks her truck and trailer in Utah. She is unable to trust anyone and with no money she is in a hopeless situation. Tom Allred has sworn off women and certainly doesn’t have time for this wayward girl. However, he takes her to the only safe place that he can think of…the dairy. There she is taken under the wing of the co-owners wife, Ina. Danger lurks around every corner when Dallas is attacked at the dairy. Will Dallas confide in Tom or Ina about her past before someone gets hurt? Can Tom ignore the feelings of love in his gut for Dallas?
Cindy Christiansen pens a story riddled with suspense, mystery and emotion. The main characters are well developed and you feel the inner turmoil as they try to decide what to think about each other. The reader slowly begins to see through the layers of deceit and the ending is heartfelt. Hazardous Hideaway is a triumph for Christiansen.
4 1/2 Stars
Hazardous Hideaway is an intricate, multilayered mystery crossed with a love story. Ms. Christiansen has shown us the true love; one that is enduring through both joy and pain.
No one knows who killed a man three years ago or why the death still impacts the dairy farm. Pure accident places Dallas and her horse in the middle of this mystery as she flees an abusive husband.
She didn’t expect to find love in the gruff manager of the farm, yet the attraction cannot be denied.
The author uses terms that endear the characters to the reader. She makes you a part of the story and the folks that populate it.
This book is a quick read because you find yourself eager to know what happens next. A well crafted tale that will leave you feeling uplifted. I highly recommend it.