"A desperate young woman and her infant running from a cult and finding unexpected love."
Reviewed by Kay Quintin
Posted January 29, 2012
Romance Suspense | Romance Series
Susannah Paul is running from the cult and Samuel Grayson,
leader of the cult, to save her imperfect 2 week old infant,
Melody, from possible death or adoption into another family.
Cold Plains, Wyoming has been infiltrated by the Devotee's
and only the absolute "perfect" people reside. Brainwashed,
Susannah is shocked to action when her beautiful daughter is
born with a large raspberry birthmark covering part of her
face. The town's midwife has helped Susannah but now she is
lost in the forest until stumbling across a farm where she
and the infant take refuse in a soft hay loft. Exhausted,
and Melody lethargic from dehydration, Nathan Pierce finds
them and takes them, albeit reluctantly, into his house.
Nathan does not want trouble knocking at his door involving
the cult, even though this is the first time his libido has
reacted to a gorgeous woman in over 4 years.
Nathan and his family soon become attached to Susannah and
Melody, but know she must leave and hide before the Devotees
find them. Nathan's ward and autistic niece, 6 year old
Sara, becomes responsive to Susannah when no one else has
that ability. Having lost an ex-wife to the cult, Nathan is
an exit counselor against the cult programming and strives
hard to work with Susannah. They quickly fall in love when
Susannah willingly goes back to the compound to save
Nathan's family from being killed. Approached by Devotees
packing guns and rifles, this is her only course to save
them as well as her infant. Being forced with plans to marry
Jonathan Miller, a Devotee of high standing, to produce lots
of "perfect" children, Susanna learns a secret that will
save the sheriff's life but reveal her true belief. Nathan
is able to rescue Susannah once again but she fears her
deeply kept secret of her past will cause Nathan to shun
Linda Conrad is continues Wyoming series with the second
book of her saga of the Wyoming Devotees in Cold Plains with
the RANCHER'S PERFECT BABY RESCUE. She has managed to
capture the chilling facts surrounding a cult while at the
same time including emotional feelings of the characters.
Love comes to a young mother who desperately loves her new
infant and refuses to relinquish her because of the
imperfection, even though she firmly believes in the
Devotees. You will be riveted to every page as all of her
tales are inclined to do.
Cult member Susannah Paul had been grateful to the Devotees
for helping her when she was pregnant and alone. But when
her baby was born with a minor defect, she discovered the
horrible truth about Cold Plains. And she ran. Desperate
and exhausted, she found refuge at the Pierce ranchâ€¦and a
savior in surly Nathan Pierce.
Nathan had plenty of reasons to distrust the Devoteesâ€¦and
Susannah had been one of them. But as the delicate beauty
insinuated herself into his life and his heart, Nathan
realized she was different. And very much in danger. Soon
nothing mattered more than protecting Susannah and her
child from the evil closing in around them.
Perfect, Wyoming: Where perfection has a deadly price.
Excerpt"Shush, baby. Please. They mustn't hear us." Susannah Paul
ducked through the cold darkness, dodging tree limbs and
praying that her two-week-old little girl would not cry out.
Howling winds rustled through the black-as-night woods,
sending her scurrying.
Away. If she could fly, high
above the rocky, tangled terrain, the two of them would be
hundreds of miles away from the town of Cold Plains and its
potential dangers. It seemed as if she and the baby had been
on the run for hours. Day had become night, and it was
harder than ever trying to make her way through the dense
She had no idea how long it had been since
she'd bid goodbye to her friend May Frommer and dashed into
the woods in broad daylight, but she couldn't stop nowâ€”not
until she was sure they would not be found.
in the carrier at her breast whimpered low, her cries so
pitiful and weak that Susannah's heart winced. We'll stop
soon, my darling Melody. Mommy will find safety, I promise.
I know you're hungry.
Frustrated to the point of
blindness by not being able to slow her steps long enough to
feed her child, Susannah barged into a gully and practically
tripped over fallen tree limbs in her way. Breathing
heavily, she scolded herself for not paying closer
attention. It would never do for her to fall. She couldn't
while carrying her baby and with the heavy pack of their
meager belongings on her back.
At the far side of the
gully, the moon broke through heavy foliage and lit her
surroundings just enough for her to get her bearings. It was
infinitely harder to find her way in the pitch darkness than
earlier that morning when she'd gotten directions.
needed to stop for a moment. They both required water, a
Leaning against the thick trunk of a
tall pine, she pulled a baby bottle from her coat pocket and
placed it against her child's lips. "Please drink,
sweetheart," she whispered.
Baby Melody seemed drugged
and had little interest in the bottle she hadn't learned to
use even in the best of surroundings. "I know. You want
Mama's milk. But we can't stop that long right
Susannah placed a couple of drops of the liquid
against the child's mouth, hoping some would spill inside,
then she pulled off the nipple and drank a couple of
swallows herself. Stale. She didn't blame her child for not
being interested in water that tasted old, but her baby
needed liquid. It had been several hours since she'd halted
their escape long enough to breast-feed.
Did she dare
try it now? While they were stopped for the moment, Susannah
quieted her breathing and listened for any sign that their
pursuers were closing in. She heard leaves rustling in the
wind but nothing that sounded like men crashing through the
forest after them.
How had she gotten into this
position in the first place? Everything that had once been
so clean and good had suddenly turned so rotten and
dangerous. It didn't seem fair.
But most of her life
hadn't been fair, either, she realized. She'd been hoping
that the new circumstances and pleasant people she'd found
in Cold Plains would do the trick and change her life
aroundâ€”for Melody's sake, if not for hers.
didn't deserve to start out her life this way. She hadn't
done anything wrong. Susannah refused to allow this kind of
prejudice against her child. Melody was not going to suffer
the fate she had.
A single tear rolled from the edge
of her eye, but Susannah couldn't cry. She couldn't afford
to waste the bodily fluids. Biting her cheek to make the
tears stop, she tried thinking back to how happy she'd been
on the day Melody was born.
That morning she'd walked
twelve blocks to the other edge of town, already in labor
but determined to reach her new friend's cottage before the
birth. May Frommer was one of the kindest people Susannah
had ever metâ€”well, next to Samuel Grayson, that was. And May
had been waiting with open arms.
Lately Samuel had
been too busy selling his health-giving waters and with his
duties as leader of the Devotees to spend much time with
her. On the other hand, May was the town's midwife, not one
of the Devotees but someone who'd lived in Cold Plains all
May had been secretly helping with her
pregnancy for months. To be sure, Susannah had also gone to
the special parenting classes given by the Devotees. Their
classes were extremely helpful for a woman who knew
absolutely nothing about being a mother. Her own mother had
not been much of an example.
But when it came right
down to it, Susannah felt a bit nervous about using the
Devotees' tiny urgent-care facility for regular maternity
checkups. She wasn't too sure why she felt that way. After
all, she'd been ready to turn over the rest of her life to
the Devotees. Their facility and most of the town for that
matter was brand-new and sparkling clean, and everyone was
so pleasant. But she just wasn't comfortable at their urgent
care. And though she'd heard a new doctor had also recently
come to town and opened his own office, May had already
volunteered weeks ago, and Susannah was happy it turned out
The two of them developed a great
relationship in the couple of months they'd known each
other. They were like sisters almost. May even invited her
to have the baby at her cottage instead of Susannah's tiny
room at the boardinghouse in town.
For two weeks after
Melody's birth, she and the baby had stayed at May's while
she learned how to breastfeed and care for a tiny infant.
Everything seemed nearly perfect. .until May began putting
thoughts into her head.
And then this
Clouds suddenly covered the moon, and
Susannah heard an odd noise. Turning her head to the sound,
she jolted at the sight of gleaming yellow eyes staring at
her from out of the bushes. Night creatures. Were they
dangerous? Visions of wolves came to mind, sending chills
down her spine. It was time to leave.
But which way?
She knew she couldn't travel much longer without resting,
and the baby desperately needed feeding. But she was
becoming turned around in the darkness. How far had they
Taking a deep breath, Susannah made a best guess
at the right direction and started out through the forest
again. Within seconds, the moonlight broke through clouds
and canopy, leading her way. She found what looked like a
path. Well, maybe it was not a real path but at least a wide
place where the brush was not so heavy and the ground seemed
level. She rejoiced and followed along. Positive she was at
least not headed back toward town, she picked up her pace
and hoped to quickly find the highway she'd been seeking all
Another ten minutes went by until she came upon a
fence. It wasn't much of a fence, just a few wires strung
together, but it gave her hope. There was hope for
She bowed her head to go under one
high wire while stepping over the lowest one. Before long,
she came to the realization that a fence could be very bad
news. What if she'd gotten turned around worse than she'd
thought and the fence belonged to the Devotees? They did own
property, like the creek and a few isolated houses, which
backed up to these same woods. This fence could be at the
edge of their property.
She couldn't guess how many
miles she might have traveled today. It was difficult going,
fighting her way through the woods with an infant. But she
was determined to keep moving ahead. There could be no going
As she kept walking and left the fence behind,
the woods became less and less dense. Through the trees, she
began catching glimpses of structures in the moonlight up
again, unsure about this. Maybe it was a bad idea to barge
in on a stranger, one who could likely be another
Gritting her teeth, she walked on in fear. In
moments, she came to a clear area surrounding what looked
like farm buildings: big barns and sheds. Bright floodlights
blazed from every corner of each building, but it seemed no
one was around. She hadn't heard of the Devotees owning any
ranch or farm.
Listening closely, she couldn't hear a
sound except the same crickets and night noises she had been
hearing since sunset. Maybe everyone had gone to
She started trembling. The air felt chilly in the
woods at night, and spring in Wyoming was known for its cold
nights and warm days. But she felt sure her trembling must
be coming more from fear than from the weather.
she and Melody needed to get in out of the elements and
She held her breath and prayed again
that the baby would sleep quietly through the next few
minutes; she gingerly tiptoed over the short grasses and
bare dirt. Fortunately, the nearest building wasn't too far
from the fence.
She noticed a small door at the back
of the huge barnlike structure. Mentally crossing her
fingers, she tried the latch. It was open. With another deep
breath and with a tiny protest of the hinges, she and Melody
were safely inside.
Susannah had to wait a few minutes
for her eyes to adjust to the lower lighting, but once they
did, she moved farther into the barn. As she carefully
looked around, she decided this place must be used for
storage. Near the back door, saddles and tools were strewn
across worktables, and all kinds of ropes and equipment hung
on the walls.
Walking silently along a wide aisle, she
checked right and left. Nothing; there was no sign of human
life. As she took a deep breath, she smelled the scent of
hay. She knew it must be hay because it smelled a little bit
like new-mown grass, only stronger.
onto the center aisle and moved past a wooden half wall to
find a large room full of bales of hay. One of the bales
nearby was broken open and had spilled out in a blanket of
hay on the barn floor.
Just at that point, her knees
gave out and she sank into the soft hay. This was as far as
she could go for now. Surely it wouldn't hurt anything...
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