But don’t go leaving here with the idea that I don’t love you. That would make your leaving way too easy...If it’s a case that you’re expected to marry a Kentucky Blueblood socialite rather than a good, Scottish woman, that’s a different story. Then, be on your way...(p. 154)
Meet the fiery and beautiful Maggie McGregor, horse trainer extraordinaire, in Patricia A. Guthrie’s wonderful first novel, In the Arms of the Enemy. Guthrie’s book is an exciting blend of suspense and sexy romance, within the sometimes dangerous world of horse racing.
When Maggie’s fiancé, Ricky Lane, showed up with a beautiful woman on his arm, along with George Blakely, owner of the horse, Black Autumn, she was suspicious and jealous. But her feelings quickly turned to anger when he left her alone to attend Black Autumn during the race. Then when the horse she had trained won, Ricky was quick to identify himself as the winner’s trainer!
It didn’t take any more than that for Maggie to finally end her engagement, quit and leave.
Even so, when Black Autumn, Ricky Lane and George Blakely, were all murdered within a week, it was Maggie that was most suspected—especially by Blakely’s son, Jonathan Adam!
As may be expected by the title, Adam and Maggie were instantly attracted to each other. Adam had come to investigate Maggie, posing as, first, a novice who wanted her to train his horse, and then later as a private investigator and also, sometimes, as an owner of a software company, aka a playboy entrepreneur. The clumsiness with which Adam tries to be undercover provides a thread of humor for readers since Maggie is quite adept at seeing the many mistakes he makes. But Maggie seems quite willing to play along with his various roles, at least until she figures out why he’s really there!
Guthrie’s inclusion of Maggie’s father as an important minor character also provided an unusual perspective to the emerging relationship between his daughter and Adam—whoever he was!
Fortunately while this antagonistic couple is falling in love, there are sufficient, real lawmen that are working to solve the murders of the two men and high-priced horse! Adam had at least been able to feed his friend and FBI agent important information, even as he struggled between wanting to prove who destroyed his father and his growing love and need for Maggie.
And then a series of accidents start—with Maggie as the intended victim! Adam now found himself the protector, rather than the investigator out to prove her guilt, as he strives to keep safe the woman he must admit to himself he loves. A scene between Adam and his former mother-in-law was one of the best in the book and revealed the author’s sensitivity to detail about her characters’ lives that was especially impressive, in my opinion.
Guthrie has a fast-paced, fluent writing style that makes reading her book fun! Only problem...I wanted more! Maybe there will be a series coming up, or at least a sequel. Maggie McGregor is too good a character and too good a horse trainer not to find another mystery to solve in her life, especially as Adam’s wife!
So, readers, are you planning a quiet Sunday afternoon for yourself sometime in the future? Grab a cup of tea and Patricia Guthrie’s, In the Arms of the Enemy! And Enjoy! You’ll be so glad you did!
G. A. Bixler
For Author’s Den