Fire and Rain (MacKenzie-Blackthorn Series #2)

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Elizabeth Lowell's favorite family is back in town. Don't miss this reader favorite!

Owner of the wildest, loneliest ranch this side of the Rockies, Luck MacKenzie hadn't laid eyes on Carla McQueen for three years. Not since they day he'd sent his best friend's kid sister storming from the Rocking M Ranch and out of his life — for what he thought was forever . . .

Now Carla was back, lovelier and even more desirable than in his burning ...

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Elizabeth Lowell's favorite family is back in town. Don't miss this reader favorite!

Owner of the wildest, loneliest ranch this side of the Rockies, Luck MacKenzie hadn't laid eyes on Carla McQueen for three years. Not since they day he'd sent his best friend's kid sister storming from the Rocking M Ranch and out of his life — for what he thought was forever . . .

Now Carla was back, lovelier and even more desirable than in his burning memories. But Luke knew he could never give in to the raging need to make her his woman. For he'd made a vow long ago — one that he was determined to keep — that he would never fall in love with Carla McQueen. No matter how badly his body and soul ached for her . . .

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780373483990
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 12/2/1999
  • Series: MacKenzie-Blackthorn Series, #2
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 4.26 (w) x 6.56 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Lowell
Elizabeth Lowell
Elizabeth Lowell has written a variety of genres under a variety of names, some with her husband Evan Maxwell and some on her own. But it is her romance novels -- starring the romantic, swashbuckling Donovan family -- that have been her biggest solo success.


Extensive and versatile, Elizabeth Lowell's résumé of titles (in almost every genre) is as long as the list of her various pen names. She's written science fiction, mystery and romance. She's also penned historical fiction and collaborated on a movie novelization. So prolific is Lowell that she and her husband, Evan Maxwell, have had to create a whole raft of pseudonyms for her books.

Her earliest work, from the 1970s, is science fiction and is written under her actual name, Ann Maxwell. The romances she and her husband began writing together in the early '90s are under the same name, because their publisher wanted a female author’s name on the cover. Their Southern California mystery series featuring the divorced lovers Fiddler and Fiora are written under A. E. Maxwell (Ann and Evan), while their joint novelization of the 1992 Val Kilmer movie Thunderheart is under the name Lowell Charters (his middle name and her maiden name.)

Her biggest solo success, the romance novels that have taken her repeatedly to The New York Times bestseller list, are credited to Elizabeth Lowell -- a combination of the couple’s middle names.

Lowell’s romances are noted for their sass and, of course, their sex. But her characterizations, particularly, draw high marks. "Elizabeth Lowell's talent is enormous," wrote The Romance Reader in its review of 1984's Forget Me Not. "She has made a well-deserved name for herself by crafting likable, plucky heroines and enigmatic but intelligent heroes." And, in 1996 the Chicago Tribune wrote, "The protagonist she has chosen for her hardcover debut, Winter Fire could give a Navy SEAL lessons in survival."

Lowell embarked on a popular series in 1997 with the publication of Amber Beach, which introduced readers to the Donovan family, titans in the menacing world of precious gemstones who must dodge murderers, thieves, and power-hungry governments to protect their business. Of the first in the series, Kirkus Reviews wrote, "A romance that offers all the sexual tension, adventure and squishy clichés that fans of the genre could possibly want."

When Lowell was getting started as sci-fi writer Ann Maxwell, she was writing on legal pads while caring for her two young children. Evan was a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, covering international crime. In the early 1980s, after he had already collaborated on three mystery novels with Lowell, Maxwell decided to quit daily journalism and write fiction full-time.

The couple has since become a cottage industry of genre fiction operating out of their Seattle-area home. They collaborate on some projects, go solo on others. Lowell has described a seven-day-a week work packed with deadlines, an organized effort that starts out with book outlines that typically take about a month to draft as well as character sketches. Then the writing begins.

"My fiction deals with problems of strength rather than problems of weakness," she told Contemporary Authors. There is no appeal or purpose for me in reading -- or writing -- fiction that portrays incessant, excruciating, and pointless pain in the lives of characters."

Good To Know

Readers are surprised to find out that the books Lowell writes with her husband are true collaborations. "In fact, a lot of people, once they know, say, 'Oh, I know who did this in the book, and I know who did this,' and they're almost invariably wrong," she told the Los Angeles Times.

Two of the most intriguing time periods for Lowell are medieval England and the post-Civil War period in the American West. "In both cases it was a time of expanded possibilities for individuals, regardless of birth or heritage, to create a better life and, ultimately, a better world, from chaos," she told Contemporary Authors.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Ann Maxwell; A .E. Maxwell; Annalise Sun; Lowell Charters
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 5, 1944
    2. Place of Birth:
      Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    1. Education:
      B. A., University of California, 1966

Read an Excerpt

Fire And Rain

By Elizabeth Lowell

Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.

Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-373-21888-5

Chapter One

What in hell am I doing here?

Luke looked in the mirror, swiped a last bit of axle grease off his chin and had no fast answers for his silent question. In fact, he had no answer at all as to why he had stayed on at Cash McQueen's apartment knowing that Carla McQueen was coming to dinner.

It wasn't unusual for Luke to drive the long miles between his ranch in Four Corners country and the city of Boulder in order to visit his friend Cash. It wasn't unusual for the two of them to take on some kind of repair work on Cash's balky Jeep. It wasn't unusual for the two of them to split a pizza and a six-pack afterward and catch up on mutual news.

It was damned unusual that Carla would appear in the same room with Luke MacKenzie.

Is that why Cash dodged my question about who Carla is dating? Luke asked his reflection in the mirror. Did she finally get over me and say yes to some nice city boy? And what business is it of mine if she did?

Even as he tried to tell himself that it was only natural that he have a big-brotherly concern for the little sister of his best friend, Luke knew that was only part of the truth. The rest of the truth was a steel spur digging into his self-esteem: three years ago he had wanted Carla so badly that he had sent her running for her life from the Rocking M.

And him.

With an effort, Luke forced aside the image of Carla's wide blue-green eyes and trembling lips and the soft heat of her body flowing over his. That image had come to too many of his dreams, waking or sleeping. But that wasn't what he wanted from her. It sure as hell wasn't what he would take from her. What he wanted, all he would accept, was a return to the days when they had shared the kind of companionship Luke hadn't known was possible with a woman.

It's been three years. Surely Carla's forgotten the whole thing by now. Surely she and Cash and I can be an almost family again, the way we used to be.

God, I've missed the sound of her laughter and the way her smile used to light up the whole house.

"Hey, Luke, are you taking root in there?"

"I'm still trying to get your Jeep out from under my fingernails," Luke retorted to Cash. "You ought to trade that damn thing for a dog and shoot the dog."

The bathroom door opened. Cash's big body filled the frame with little left over.

"Give me your shirt," Cash said.


"The Jeep drooled all down your spine."

Luke made a sound of disgust that Cash didn't take seriously. But then, neither did Luke.

"The things I do for you," Luke muttered.

With quick, deft movements he rinsed his hands, stripped off the black shirt and fired it at Cash's head. Another shirt came flying back at the same speed. Luke pulled it on with a small smile; the shirt fit as well as one of his own. Cash was the only man Luke knew whose clothes he could wear without feeling as though he were in a straitjacket.

"Much better," Cash said. "Can't have you looking like something the cat dragged in and didn't eat. What would Carla think?"

"She's seen me looking worse."

"Not on her twenty-first birthday. Hurry up. I can't decorate cake worth a damn."

"What makes you think I can?"


Grinning, Luke tucked in the shirt and followed Cash to the kitchen, feeling very much at home. In many ways Carla and Cash were as close to a real family as Luke had ever come. His mother, like his grandmother and great-grandmother before her, had hated the Rocking M. Even worse, his mother had feared the land and the wind as though they were alive and hunting her. Finally she had had a nervous breakdown. Her parents had swept in from the East Coast, picked up the pieces of their daughter and removed her from the Rocking M. They had also taken Luke's seven-year-old sister, whom he loved as he hadn't permitted himself to love anything since. Neither mother nor sister had ever been heard from since that day.

At thirteen, Luke had been left alone with a silent, hard-drinking father and a ranch whose demands were as endless as the land itself was beautiful. At nineteen he had inherited the Rocking M. At twenty he had hired Cash to do a resources survey of the ranch. Six months later Cash had shown up for the summer with his half sister, a sad-eyed waif whose attempts at smiles had broken Luke's heart. Perhaps it was the memory of his own little sister, perhaps it was Carla's haunting eyes, perhaps it was only his own need to protect and care for something more gentle than himself. Whatever the reason, Carla had slipped past defenses Luke didn't even know he had.

One day while riding a distant corner of the ranch, he had found a shard of ancient Anasazi pottery in September Canyon. He had given the piece of the past to Carla, trying to tell her that nothing is lost forever, that everyone is part of what came before and what will come after. Somehow she had understood all that he couldn't find words for, and she had cried for the first time since her parents had died. He had held her, feeling her trust as she gave herself to his strength and wept until she couldn't lift her head. And as he held her, he felt as though he himself were crying for all that he had lost when he had been about Carla's age.

"Yo, Luke," Cash said, snapping his fingers in front of the other man's whiskey-colored eyes.

"Anybody home?"

Luke grunted. "Where's the cake?"

"Over there."

"I was afraid you were going to say that." Luke sighed as he looked at a lopsided chocolate heap that was charred on the sides and sticky in the middle.

"Hope you made a bucket of icing."

"It's in the sink."


Excerpted from Fire And Rain by Elizabeth Lowell Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2007

    A reviewer

    Although I am no reviewer, I have read close to a hundred love sotries and this one 'along with the mckenzie series' has always capture my heart. Ms. Lowell kept the story strongly between the two lovers. With a little imagination, its not hard to feel what its like to be a part of the story. A MUST READ ROMANCE BOOK!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2007

    Forget Cowboy Shoot-Em ups!

    (Angels singing)... Love. this book was awesome! i was reading it every chace i had! i didn't get in trouble during my classes because i finished it the night i got it! i have a bad habit of reading a book in 1 night and keep them till i have $20 late fee! but the bill was well worth it!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2005

    Great love story

    Excellent book. Luke and Carla's story really draws you in. I re-read this one at least once a year.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2004

    Absolutely Wonderful Book!

    I just started reading this author last week, my first book was Winter Fire. I read two others on Sunday. I started this one last night and could not put it down. All of her books draw me in and I just want to keep reading to finish it. Luke and Carla are wonderful characters and the chemistry between them is electrifying. They are both stubborn and determined in there own ways. I have not been disappointed by any of her books yet, and I plan to read them all! I am starting Enchanted today!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2004

    A Must Read

    I love this book. I couldn't put it down for anything.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2001


    I'd enjoyed a lot of her books over the years and every one I read I felt satisfied. For writing beautiful love stories, Ms. Lowell is incomparble.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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