"A Wanted Man" by Linda Lael Miller tells of two people shrouded in secrets, trying to live peacefully and not fall in love with each other.
Lark Morgan is the local schoolteacher, hiding out in Stone Creek from her rich, abusive ex-husband. A former dance hall singer, she fears her ex has stolen the music from her soul. Oh, but she finds it again when fate brings Rowdy Rhodes into her boarding house's kitchen.
New town marshal Rowdy has secrets of his own, including a train-robbing father and a few wanted posters with his own likeness on them. As with Sam O'Ballivan from "The Man From Stone Creek," Rowdy Rhodes is the real star of this book. His best friend is a dog named Pardner, a colorful individual in his own right.
One thing the author always does really well is create noble, charismatic, upstanding male characters who are also very human and realistic. Even the younger boys in her novels are hero material (and may show up as leading men in future books). "A Wanted Man" is a loose sequel to "The Man From Stone Creek" and is even better. It's got a tighter plot, with fewer distractions and side characters. Rowdy had a "blink and you missed it" part in the earlier story, but has enough intrigue and charm to carry his own book, no problem.
The past has a way of catching up with folks in Stone Creek, Arizona. So schoolmarm Lark Morgan and Marshal Rowdy Rhodes are determined to hide their secrets-and deny their instant attraction. That shouldn't be too hard, since each suspects the other of living a lie.
Her too-fancy clothes and big-city ways inspire gossip all over town; his blond good looks and impudent grin belong to a man sporting a gunfighter's coat.
But Rowdy and Lark have one truth in common: the very real dangers they face. Like the gang of robbers wreaking havoc on the railroad heading toward Stone Creek-the men Ranger Sam O'Ballivan expects Rowdy to nab. And as past and current troubles collide, Rowdy and Lark must surrender their stubborn pride to the greatest power of all-an undying love.