Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Fifteen years after Calder Born, Calder Bred, the last novel in her popular family saga, and two years after her well-publicized legal battle with Nora Roberts, who successfully sued her for plagiarism (Dailey's stressful domestic situation was generally accepted as the cause), Dailey has written a tale as clearly branded with her imprimatur as the herd on the Triple C Ranch is branded with the Calders' "C"s. Under the big sky of Blue Moon, Mont., Chase Calder still strides the land as a giant, despite the limp left by the plane crash that claimed his beloved wife, Maggie. His daughter, Cat, now a slender green-eyed brunette of 20, is his match in will if not in size. Thirsting for tough justice after her fianc , Repp Taylor, is killed by a drunk driver, she helps ensure that culprit Rollie Anderson gets jail time, cold-shouldering his parents' plea for mercy and earning their vengeful hatred. Frankly lusting for a man to relieve her of the virginity Repp had insisted on honoring, she tumbles into bed with smoke-eyed treasury agent Logan Echohawk one torrid night in Fort Worth, Tex. Names aren't exchanged, but bodily fluids are. Cat becomes pregnant with a son she names Quint Benteen Calder and raises on her own in Calder country. Just before Quint's fifth birthday, Echohawk trades in his treasury job for the position of sheriff of Blue Moon, and the tease begins. Of course Logan wants Cat and she wants him. Of course he loves their son, and their son fairly worships him. And of course Cat stubbornly refuses to do what her body and spirit are urging her to do; her Calder pride is the deterrent. Meanwhile, Rollie Anderson is out of prison, and he and his brother plot revenge. By turns an old-fashioned western, complete with cattle rustling, and a thoroughly modern romance, this update on the Calder family shows Dailey gamely back on the horse and riding well. Simultaneous Harper audio, 9-city author tour. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Cat Calder uses her Calder pride as a shield against the world. When she finds herself pregnant, that resolve straightens her spine and keeps her head high. But when the baby's father suddenly appears, that stiff family pride stands between Cat and her destiny. Judith Ivey is competent but unmemorable as the narrator. Although her characterizations improve over the six-hour reading time, she has a tendency to lapse into melodrama. Unfortunately, Ivey's narration doesn't compensate for the trite plots. The "Calder" series has enough fans to make this a necessary purchase, but Dailey is capable of better.--Jodi L. Israel, Jamaica Plain, MA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Dailey confirms her place as a top megaseller in her fifth roundup with the Calder family on the Triple C Ranch, home of the Calder Cattle Company, which she abandoned some 15 years ago (Calder Born, Calder Bred, etc.). Her sentence-stuffing, wordspinning excesses, though, are hardly an improvement over romance hackers of a century past ("Logan picked up the receiver on the old rotary dial phone and depressed the cradle's disconnect button, silencing the irritating beep"i.e., Logan hung up the phone). Dailey asks a question early in the novel that readers will know the answer to long before heroine Cat Calder does. Cat is engaged to marry Repp before she finishes college, but Repp is killed instantly in a car accident with drunken Rollie, one of the story's heavies. The death leaves Cat "with a gaping emptiness in her life she didn't think she could endure." But she does, vowing to avoid this pain forever and never to marry. So when sturdy, gray-eyed Logan Echohawk comes into her life for an overnighter, then departs, Cat chooses to raise their issue, gray-eyed Quint, on her own and as a Calder. Years pass, and when Logan returns as a sheriff, the melodrama deepens. Cat resists every feeling that might make her break her vow to long-lost Repp. Will she ever surrender again to Logan Echohawk and give Quint a father? Get serious. With 300 million copies of her books in print, would Dailey dare to create her first heartbroken reader?
Read an Excerpt
A north breeze swept across the private airstrip and rustled through the grass at its edges. It was Calder grass, growing on Calder land and stretching in all directions farther than the living eye could see.
Directly southwest of the airstrip stood the headquarters of Montana's famed Triple C Ranch, the home of the Calder Cattle Company. For well over a hundred years, the land had tasted the sweat, the blood, and the tears of the Calders.
Too many tears, Chase Calder decided and leaned heavily on his cane. For a moment, his big shoulders bowed under the weight of the thing that hung so heavily on him. But there was no one around to see this brief display of weakness by the Calder family patriarch. He stood alone outside the airstrip's metal hangar.
The drone of a twin-engine aircraft had Chase Calder squaring his shoulders and lifting his gaze to the immense blue sky overhead. His sharp eyes quickly spotted the plane making a straight-in approach to the landing strip. His son Ty was at the controls, and his daughter Cathleen was the plane's only other occupant.
The plane touched down and rolled toward him. Chase glanced at the heavens, the ache intensifying in his chest.
"Where am I going to find the words, Maggie?" he murmured, talking as he so often did to his late wife.
But there were no words that could dull the pain of the news he carried. Just as there had been none to blunt the knife-stabbing pain he'd felt five years ago when he learned his wife Maggie had died in the plane crash that had so severely injured him.
Chase shifted more of his weight onto the cane, his expression grim as he watched the twin-engine plane taxi to a stop near the hangar. Within seconds of the engines' being shut down, the plane's rear door opened and out stepped his twenty-year-old daughter, Cathleen.
His eyes softened at the sight of her. In many ways, Cat, as the family called her, was the image of his late wife, with her glistening black hair and eyes that were as green as the Calder grass in spring. It was a striking combination, made even more stunning by the mingling of fineness and strength in her face.
Simply dressed in navy slacks and a white silk blouse, Cat came toward him with quick, confident strides. Chase glanced briefly at his son when Ty emerged from the plane, experiencing a familiar surge of pride for this tall and broad-shouldered man of thirty-five who bore the unmistakable stamp of a Calder in every hard-boned line.
But it was Cat who concerned him now, this full-grown woman who was his little girl. Chase straightened to stand squarely on both feet, abandoning his reliance on the cane, needing to be strong for her.
With a smile on her lips that was positively radiant, Cat ran the last few steps and wrapped her arms around him, hugging him tightly. He held her close, reminded again of his daughter's tremendous capacity for emotion, a capacity that could swing to the extremes of laughter, softness, and anger.
"It is so good to be home again, Dad," she declared on a fervent note, then pulled back to arm's length, her green eyes sparkling with happiness. "Where's Jessy?" She glanced beyond him, then tossed a teasing smile over her shoulder when Ty walked up. "Don't tell me Ty's bride-to-be is off somewhere chasing cattle?"
"She's at the house." Chase saw the startled lift of Ty's head and the sudden sharpening of his gaze as he caught the faint scent of trouble in the air.
Cat was oblivious to it. "Wait until you see the sexy nightgown I bought Jessy for her wedding night, Dad. On second thought, maybe you shouldn't." She stepped closer and studiously straightened the collar of his shirt, slanting him a look packed with feminine wiles. "At least, not until I talk you into making this a double wedding. It's ridiculous that Repp and I should wait to get married until after I finish college. That's--"
"Cat." He gripped her wrists to still the movement of her hands, his cane hooked over his arm. She looked up, surprised by the hard tone of his voice. "I have bad news."
"Bad news?" Her eyes made a quick search of his face. "Don't tell me Tara decided to contest the divorce from Ty at the last minute? It's supposed to be final--"
"No, it isn't that. The divorce is final," Chase said. "It's Repp. There was an accident late last night--"
"Dear God, no," she murmured, her eyes widening in alarm. "Is he badly hurt? Where is he? I have to go to him."
She tried to pull free of his hands, but Chase tightened his hold even as Ty gripped her shoulders from behind, bracing her for the rest.
"It's too late, Cat," Chase stated in a firm voice. "Repp was killed instantly."
She stared at him for a long, brittle second, her expression awash with shock, pain, and denial. "It can't be true," she said, in the thinnest of whispers. "It can't be."
"I'm sorry." There were no other words Chase could say.
"No." She said it over and over, her voice growing in strength and volume until she was screaming it. Chase gathered her rigid body into his arms and silently absorbed the pounding of her fists on his chest, waiting through the rage until she finally sagged against him and broke into wild, body-wrenching sobs.
"I'll bring the truck around," Ty said quietly, and Chase nodded.
By the time the luggage was transferred from the plane to the ranch pickup, that first violent shock of grief had subsided, leaving Cat numb with pain. She felt wooden, unable to move on her own, and offered no protest when two pairs of hands helped her into the cab.