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Jackson Rule    by Sharon Sala order for
Jackson Rule
by Sharon Sala
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2004 (1996)

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* *   Reviewed by Shannon Bigham

Romance author Sharon Sala writes this novel under the pen name Dinah McCall. Sala is known for crafting stories in which a couple's love depends on fate despite the odds, true love always endures. Such is the case in Jackson Rule starring a Louisiana preacher's daughter, Rebecca, and a man named Jackson Rule, who wears his hardened past like a coat on his back.

Jackson and Rebecca meet under unusual circumstances. Jackson steps off a bus in his home state of Louisiana after he has served fifteen years in prison for the murder of his abusive father, Stanton. Jackson was fifteen when he went to jail and now he is thirty-one years old. He spent his teenage years to early adulthood in prison, after enduring extreme abuse at the hands of Stanton when he was a child. The trail of scars on Jackson's back is a telling history of the cruelty to which he was subjected.

As Jackson is about to head into a convenience store for provisions, he notices Rebecca inspecting the radiator under the hood of her broken down pickup truck. Rebecca is so intent on these mechanical problems that she inadvertently steps out onto the highway and Jackson swoops her to safety. That act saves her life. She feels indebted to this dark, mysterious man, but he will barely say two words to her after she recovers and he fixes her truck. Jackson goes his way and Rebecca goes hers.

Of course, fate and circumstances bring the two together again when Jackson applies to work at a plant nursery only to find that Rebecca is the owner. While Rebecca is unsure about employing a convicted murderer, she hires Jackson and things are never the same from that point forward. Slowly but surely, Jackson and Rebecca fall in love. However, Jackson does not want Rebecca to fall for him. He cares about her too much to allow her to be punished by the stigma of loving a convicted murder.

As always in Sharon Sala's novels, fate determines whether love will survive - in this case, the pressure from society and especially from Rebecca's father. Interspersed as it is with suspense and interesting, unexpected plot twists, fans of romance and romantic suspense will enjoy Jackson Rule.

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