by Kate Davies, contemporary (2009)
Samhain Publishing, $4.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-355-5
In Kate Davies' The Devil Inside, our doctor heroine Samantha Quincannon is forced by her boss to face her greatest fear if she wants to get promoted: the rodeo circuit. Thirteen years ago, her father was killed in a rodeo accident. Sam remembers not only that moment but also how her mother had always argued with her father about the man's dangerous passion and how her father could never stop putting his life on the line until his death.
Meanwhile, our hero Cody Shaw is determined to master the unruly bull called The Devil Inside, only to be sent flying and nearly trampled and gored in the process. Well, Sam is there for a reason, so she's off to offer Cody some medical TLC. Sam and Cody are casual acquaintances from way back (their fathers were each other's biggest rival in the rodeo circuit), but Sam understandably believes that Cody is just like her father and any relationship between them is not going to be a happy one.
I wonder about the set-up. Can Sam's superior force her to take this outpost assignment, holding her promotion as a bait? Even if such a tactic is legal, I am puzzled about the logic of sending a doctor with issues like Sam's to tend to the poor rodeo people. Won't it be more logical to send someone who can carry out his or her responsibilities without having to deal with emotional baggage in the process? It's like sending someone who is afraid of heights to clean windows on the hundredth floor.
Kate is rather dour here, but given her situation, I can certainly understand why she's not the happiest person around. Cody is a pretty good hero. The thing is, I have my doubts about the way the author resolve the issue about Sam's dislike for the rodeo circuit. The resolution is very simplistic, with Ms Davies treating Sam's feelings about the rodeo all this while as a matter of big misunderstanding that is easily put aside once the truth is revealed. Ultimately, I find it hard to believe that Sam and Cody have a shot at a happily ever after in this story.
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