Grace Riley is on the run—from her past and from her fears. The victim of a violent rape at the hands of a rich politician’s son, she must “disappear” to escape his constant attempts to recapture her. Moving from cattle drive to cattle drive as a cook, she avoids her tormentor for nearly twenty years. When she discovers that the brother she gave up for adoption after their mother died in childbirth was orphaned at an early age, she is frantic to verify that he’s safe. She tracks him to a cattle ranch in Montana.
Widower Adam Morgan owns the Twin Springs ranch, but finds himself falling into a life of loneliness. Although he enjoys spending time with his grown daughter and the two men he rescued when they were living on the streets, he longs to meet a woman he can love. Living in the Montana territory where men greatly outnumber women makes finding a new wife difficult. Weary of working cattle, he is ready to make some changes in his life.
Grace falls ill on her journey, but she manages to make it to the Twin Springs ranch where her brother is supposed to be living. Adam takes her in, concerned for her health and the reason she’s searching for one of his adopted sons. Their chemistry is immediate and intense, but can Grace heal from her past of pain and fear? When her secrets are finally revealed, can Adam forgive her deceptions and learn to love again?
From Netgalley in exchange for a review.
There’s a couple of unusual things about this book: Grace has spent the previous 20 years effectively being stalked by her (seemingly mad) rapist, the father of her son, a member of a rich and powerful political party; There is not one, but two romances going on here – Grace and Adam, and Matthew (Grace’s brother) and Victoria (Adam’s daughter); Both lead characters are older – Grace is 35 and Adam is in his 40s.
The book starts with Grace searching for her ‘brother’ Jake – given up for adoption twenty years earlier. Believing she has finally found the clues to her missing sibling, Grace runs into trouble when her past stops at nothing to keep Grace from running away and she believes she’s killed him after once again attempting to rape her. Grace finds herself at the Twin Springs ranch where Jake had spent a few years growing up, collapsing into the arms of the man she would soon come to marry. Matthew soon follows on her heels and is confronted with Victoria, and they both manage to push each other’s buttons – Victoria is a very modern woman (she wears trousers and everything!) and cant understand Matthew’s rather old fashioned attitude of not wanting to ruin her reputation.
Grace meets Jake, who is married with a child on the way. He is not happy to have found he’s got “family” who he believes abandoned him as a baby. It takes him a long time to come round to accepting Grace, first as his sister, and then his mother.
The chemistry between Grace and Adam is almost immediate, and it’s not long before they get married. However, their happiness is short lived as Grace’s rapist catches up with them, resulting in a lethal showdown where everything is at stake. Grace is not entirely the “damsel in distress” and does her best to keep herself alive until the metaphorical “back up” arrives.
Despite some of the subject matter (really would they be talking so “nicely” about rape in the 1860s? There was certainly no slut shaming in this book!?) this was a reasonable take on a historical romance, and gave decent time given to both romances.