Anita Mills' knack for blending danger, adventure, and romance is in full bloom in Dangerous, as a young woman enroute to claim her father's estate meets a handsome gambler on the run from the law. But his is not the only trouble these two will face, for it seems that something may be hidden on her father's farm, something people think is worth killing for.
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Anita Mills' knack for blending danger, adventure, and romance is in full bloom in Dangerous, as a young woman enroute to claim her father's estate meets a handsome gambler on the run from the law. But his is not the only trouble these two will face, for it seems that something may be hidden on her father's farm, something people think is worth killing for.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451407085
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/1/1996
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 4.32 (w) x 6.72 (h) x 1.03 (d)

Reading Group Guide


From the moment Philadelphia-born Verena Howard first laid eyes on the smooth talking gambler, she knew he was trouble. He was everything her mother had ever warned her about – a darkly handsome man with something to hide. But as she embarked on a journey across the untamed Texas frontier, fighting off amorous ruffians and sinister strangers, he came to her rescue by pretending to be her husband and proving himself as handy with his gun as he was with a deck of cards.


The twist of fate which led Anita Mills to leave her niche in education administration after nearly eighteen years was certainly the best thing that could have happened to her. At least her fans wholeheartedly believe so. Anita's husband urged her to take her knowledge and love of history and English to create fiction. Just eighteen months later, in 1986, Anita had finished an enchanting medieval romance, acquired a first-rate agent, and sold the book, Lady of Fire, to New American Library, now Penguin USA.

Since then, Anita has published sixteen romance novels, including five with Penguin USA's Topaz Historical Romance imprint – Falling Star (1993), Secret Nights (1994), Comanche Moon (1995), Comanche Rose (January 1996), and her latest novel, Dangerous. In the past few years her books have been nominated for more than twenty writing awards and she has consistently received critical praise from Romantic Times, Affair de Coeur, Publishers Weekly, and Library Journal.

A devoted mother of four, Anita lives on a rural farm near Plattsburg, Missouri, with her husband Larry, five cats and three dogs.


Most of my books come into the world like babies – they are conceived joyfully, gestate about nine months, and are delivered only after considerable travail. Fortunately, every now and then there is that rare one that almost writes itself – the one that springs from my mind like Diana from the head of Zeus, the one with characters who never stop talking, who almost relegate me to the role of a scribe hurrying after them, trying to get everything they say and do down on paper before I lose it. In the case of Dangerous, my newest book, I almost couldn't keep up with Matt and Verena in this lively, almost comical duel of wits.

Matthew Morgan, alias Matthew McCready, is not only fleeing a hangman's noose, but also his very roots. Born the youngest son of a poor Tennessee farmer, he grew up yearning for the good things in life, and once he escaped into the Confederate Army, he knew he was never going back. At war's end, he headed for New Orleans, where his good looks and uncommon skills with cards carried him into the finest drawing rooms in the city. But that was before he killed the son of a prominent Louisiana politician. Now he's on the run, headed for an outlaw haven called Helena, Texas. Until he sees Verena Howard in Galveston.

A determined spinster, the pretty twenty-two-year-old schoolteacher is en route to San Angelo, hoping to settle more than her late father's seemingly worthless estate. She has to know why Jack Howard deserted his country, why he never returned home to her and her mother. At times, the bitterness she feels toward him is almost overwhelming. Sharing her mother's heartbreak has left her wary of men, particularly the handsome ones.

But when facing a rough and tumble Texas frontier, where life is cheap and women scarce, she discovers her aloof manner and sharp tongue provide little protection from drunken, amorous cowboys – or from the handsome, dark-eyed gambler who comes to her rescue, then offers to pose as her husband until the cowboys get off the train. So begins an adventure neither can foresee, where neither quite believes the other, where everything goes wildly awry, and where the law becomes the least of Matt's worries.


"For pageantry and passion, Anita Mills has few rivals." – Romantic Times


  1. What words would you use to describe Matthew Morgan when you first meet him? Did your opinion of his character change as you read the book? What pivotal things made you think differently of him?
  2. What words would you use to describe Verena Howard when you first meet her? Did your opinion of her character change as you read the book? Why?
  3. What do you see as Verena's vulnerabilities? Did you feel they were plausible? How did Matt appeal to them?
  4. On the surface, Matt and Verena seem to have little in common. Do you see any qualities that would lead you to believe they were a good match?
  5. In most of my books, secondary characters play major roles in plot development, but in Dangerous the supporting characters were minor. What plot devices did you see moving the story? How?
  6. In character development there should be change for the better, a progression to a higher level emotionally. When did you see Matt begin to change for the better? When did you see Verena begin to change?
  7. Sometimes, things that aren't said are as important as those that are. How do you see this when Matt talks about his dead brothers? How do you think their loss really affected him? Do you feel that he felt a sense of irony in his own survival?
  8. Verena seems to have a great deal of conflict within herself over her father's desertion. What sort of answers do you think she hoped to find in Texas?
  9. Matt spent years trying to forget where he'd come from. Other than Verena, what made him come to terms with his youth? With farming? And after years of living by his wits, do you think Matt can be content in one place? What leads you to think so?
  10. After years of poverty, why do you think her inheritance wasn't more important to Verena? What do you think she finally did with it?
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