Molly Ballard was desperate. It wasn't easy caring for two brothers and two sisters, and keeping a roof over their heads. She needed money more than ever. Yet in a fit of anger she quit her job as a groom at the posh Wyland Farm in Kentucky's rich turfand then stole out of the tack room with $5,000 in FBI cash. So when Agent Will Lyman catches her in a lie, she agrees to cooperate in a sting. She'll do anything to protect her family, to shield the secrets of her past, and guard her heart from further hurt. Molly will even spy for Will and let him pose as her lover. But soon the passion they pretend becomes searingly real as they court danger in bluegrass country and cross the path of a killer who will stop at nothing under a Hunter's Moon.
Robards (Walking After Midnight, LJ 12/94) holds the threads of many good potential stories here but, sadly, does not weave them into lovely fabrics. The heroic Molly Ballard fights money problems to raise a brood of stepbrothers and stepsisters. While interesting, the family dynamics of the Ballards-who live in a substandard house on the Wyland horse farm in Kentucky, where Molly works as a groom-are never fully explored. Robards could have fashioned bolts of cloth from the psychological workings of the mysterious horse slasher and the disappearance of two young girls-one ten years earlier and one-a sister of Molly-in the present. The emphasis, however, is on the romance between Molly and FBI agent Will, who is sent to investigate the doings at the horse farm. This angle is the weakest and most mundane thread of all. How many more throbbing pulses, scalding hands, and heaving bosoms must readers endure? Such a waste of talent, but buy it, as Robards fans will eat it up. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/95.]-Dawn L. Anderson, North Richland Hills P.L., Tex.