Title: Dead Ringer
Series: Whitehorse, Montana: The McGraw Kidnapping #2
Author: B.J. Daniels
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 256 pages
Published: August 22, 2017 (Harlequin Intrigue)
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 4 out of 5 Wine Glasses
Can a stubborn cowboy recapture the one who got away?
Ledger McGraw may know all about horses, but he doesn't know anything about the lie that broke up his first romance with waitress Abby Pierce. Abby, tricked into marrying the wrong man, is at the end of her tether in her abusive relationship. When she learns the truth about her terrible marriage, she becomes desperate to escape it—before her jealous husband kills her.
Though Ledger's heart was wounded by Abby, he'll still do anything to protect her and free her from her violent spouse. He's determined to win her back and reignite their passion…
“Just tell me she’s alive.”
Dead Ringer is the second suspenseful installment in B.J. Daniels’ Whitehorse, Montana: The McGraw Kidnapping series. It can be read as a standalone if that is your preference, but you should know that the first book introduced the primary characters AND a major mystery plotline that will play out over the three books in this series. That said, the romance is self-contained in this book as is a danger plot and B.J. does seamlessly provide necessary historical information so newbies to the series will never feel lost.
In the first book, readers were introduced to the McGraw family consisting of the patriarch, Travers McGraw, his ex-wife residing in a sanitarium, and his three sons. Dark Horse featured the romance between one of the brothers and a true crime writer. Dead Ringer is the story of another of the brothers, Ledger McGraw, and a waitress, Abby Pierce. They had been a couple once, but their relationship was treacherously betrayed, and Abby married another, a Whitehorse deputy sheriff. The tale is told in the third person from multiple points-of-view allowing the reader to get into the heads of the major characters – both the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’.
Ledger McGraw is in love with a woman married to an abuser. He tortures himself by regularly having breakfast at the restaurant where she works. He has no idea how to rescue her from her husband’s clutches or how to make things right between them, but he’s not giving up…
Abby’s relationship with her husband is troubled. He is a jealous man and prone to violent outbursts. As the story opens, Abby wakes up in the hospital where she is recovering from an ‘accident’ that occurred at her home. She is also suffering from amnesia and, as her memory returns, she fears that her memories hold the key to multiple mysteries, but their return will also put her squarely in mortal peril.
An ample reward has been offered for any information regarding the whereabouts of the McGraw kids who were kidnapped twenty-five years ago. It appears that progress is being made towards solving the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question as a young man possessing an item that directly connects him to one of the missing children comes forth claiming to be Oakley McGraw. But, is he for real or is he a nefarious con man?
Following please find a few of my favorite quotes from Dead Ringer:
“The past is just that.”
“Please don’t take offense, but I want no part of this family or what comes with it.”
He sighed deeply, pain in his eyes. “What is it you’re running from? Is it me?”
“Where are you taking me?” Abby asked from the passenger seat of the pickup.
B.J. is a masterful storyteller and she is known for ingeniously intertwining multiple plot lines in her series. Dead Ringer is no exception. This story is primarily a suspenseful tale with the clean romance being a distant second. The story is well-written, fast-paced and action-packed with captivating characterization. Danger and deception are prevalent throughout. I would highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys gripping western romantic suspense.
Suggested Reading Order:
Dark Horse, Book #1
Dead Ringer, Book #2
Rough Rider, Book #3 Releasing Sept 19, 2017!