High-spirited horse trainer Jessica Stanson stumbles into the perfect job on one of the most elite ranches in Montana. Or at least it would be if her boss, ex-detective Michael Carven, stopped acting like he didn't want her there. Jessica has to prove herself to him on the ranch, and also try to penetrate his armor to get to the man inside. Michael Carven is a man who has left a difficult past behind him, and now works at his dream job raising horses under the Montana sky. But he knows that the past has a way of coming back to him, and soon enough, it does. A wave of violence hits the nearby small town of Riverside, nestled deep in the mountains, as a cunning serial killer preys on the population. Against his will, Michael finds himself both drawn into the case and coming to care for his independent new trainer. And if having a killer on the loose wasn't enough, his two worlds collide when Jessica becomes the only material witness in the case. Before it is over, Michael and Jessica will put everything they know and hold dear on the line to catch a vicious, cunning killer - and to protect each other as well.
I loved this book. It drew me in from the first page and kept me hooked as I tore through the book. I immediately liked Jess and felt the draw towards the painfully lonely Michael. I like that the author spent the better part of the book developing the relationship between Jess and Michael. They didn't just fall into each other's arms and profess their love for each other. They had their ups and downs, and by half way through the book I was screaming (in my head, of course!) "Just kiss already!" I liked the internal struggle for Michael and the way Jess slowly chipped away at his hard exterior. It was that slow progression into the relationship that made it believable and made me, as a reader, love them as a couple.
And then of course, there's the murders that must be solved. The mystery was told well, with plenty of suspense, drama and action. I like the premise of the story. I like that Michael is tormented by the most important case of his career which remains unsolved. I do think that the author could have spent just as much time developing the case as she did the romance, though. Unfortunately, I was able to pin down the killer within the first half of the book, but really, it's through no fault of the author. There was no indication about who the killer was and the author even drops clues that it might have been someone else. I wasn't buying it though, but I chalk that up to the fact that I have read so many mysteries and watched so many crime shows. It's sort of a skill that I have developed and my husband hates me for it, LOL!
"The haunting memories that inhibited every aspect of his life were set free. He had managed to accept them and then let them go."Rating:
It wasn't hard for me to give this one 4 wine glasses. I'm going to have to throw in a snack tray, too because I loved this book that much. The only thing keeping it from 5 glasses is the fact that I wish there was much detail and plot development with the murder mystery part of the story. What was included was well written and I enjoyed it. I just feel like there was the potential to take this book to a whole new level with another chapter or two of plot development in that area.
Overall, this was an excellent book and I would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of mystery, suspense and/or romance.
You can see a list of all my reviews HERE.