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Carla Kelly "The Double Cross," the first is the Spanish Brand Series,

Editor's note: This has been updated to reflect that Carla Kelly will not be at the Romance-appalooza book signing this Saturday.

"THE DOUBLE CROSS: The Spanish Brand Series," by Carla Kelly, Camel Press, $13.95, 240 pages (f)

With more than 30 novels under her belt, Utah author Carla Kelly effortlessly produces another story to pull at the heartstrings and inspire love.

"The Double Cross," the first in the Spanish Brand series, is a story of love showing up after the loss of all hope and that love being used in extraordinary ways.

Rancher Marco is lonely since his wife passed away, but he'snot ready for another woman. In his search for a dog to warm his feet at night, he finds Paloma Vega. Paloma's family had been brutally massacred by Comanches when she was young, and she was raised, but not nicely, by her aunt and uncle. Used to a life of despair, Paloma had never looked for love, but she knows what it looks like once she finds it.

Traveling to ComancherĂ­a together, Marco and Paloma must welcome adventure, evade Comanches and face their biggest fears. They learn to rely on each other when for so long each had accepted a lone fight.

Kelly is known for creating fictional stories out of historical events, and "The Double Cross" is no different. The old Spanish Territory of New Mexico in the 1780s comes to life as the reader immerses herself in the Spanish monasteries, Indian territories and the laws, kept and broken, of the wild.

"The Double Cross" contains clever chapter headings and endearing repartee. The characters, even the secondary ones, are real and lovable. Even through some darker themes, Kelly's smart writing breaks through and the adventurous heart triumphs. The characters evolve and Kelly hints that the world of the Spanish Brand may be evolving as well.

With the story involving a pair of newlyweds, this novel does contain multiple sexual references and a few explicit sexual references.

If you go ...

What: Romance-appalooza, book signing: Karey White, "My Own Mr. Darcy" Mandi Ellsworth, "Uneasy Fortunes"; Lisa Rumsey Harris, "The Unlikely Gift of Treasure Bloom," Shannon Guymon, "Do Over";

When: Saturday, Oct. 5, 6 p.m.

Where: University Crossings Plaza, 330 E. 1300 South, Orem

Web: barnesandnoble.com, www.carlakellyauthor.com

Tara Creel is a Logan native and mother of three boys. Her email is [email protected]. Twitter: CreelTara