Out of a job and at loose ends in the Mexican town of San Rafael, Owen Burke overhears a conversation between two Mexican vaqueros seated at a nearby table in the local cantina. After introducing himself, he learns they work for Don Enrique Hernandez de Allende at a horse ranch some distance south. The Don is planning a horse drive to California where his brother-in-law has a ranch. Owen knows those trails and hopes the Don might be in need of a guide. Arriving at the Don’s ranch, he impresses the Don and his daughter, Rosa Maria. However, the ramrod, Chavez, who is suspicious of gringos in general and also guards Rosa Maria jealously, is not impressed. Despite Chavez’s mistrust, Owen is hired as a guide for the drive.
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R. W. Stone is a veterinarian in Central Florida, where he lives with his wife and two daughters. He is an avid horseman, a martial arts master, and a firearms enthusiast. He began writing Westerns as an adult to recapture some of the fun and excitement of a childhood spent horseback riding and target shooting.From Booklist:
Owen Burke is an itinerant cowpoke scuffling by in south-of-the-border San Rafael when he learns of work at Enrique Allende's horse ranch. He secures a job as a scout to lead a herd of horses to California. Before the drive begins, though, he earns the enmity of Chavez, the ranch ramrod, when Chavez sees him speaking with Allende's daughter, Rosa Maria. Soon after the drive is underway--with Chavez and Burke's feud simmering below the surface--rustlers make off with the herd. Chavez convinces the Allende crew it was an inside job, and Burke was the insider. In short order, Burke is convinced he must catch the rustlers and recover the herd before Chavez's ad hoc posse catches him. In his first published novel, Stone, a medical professional by trade, bursts onto the western scene with a suspenseful yarn replete with action, a chaste romance, and a very likable narrator in Burke. Western genre fiction is in need of some fresh voices. Stone and Burke fill the bill nicely. Wes Lukowsky
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