Bodine Longbow runs her family’s Montana resort with an unfailing can-do attitude, but nothing can prepare her or the family for the return of her long-lost—and brutalized—aunt or an unexpected rash of violence in the area.
Four generations of women have a hand in the Longbow family businesses, consisting of a ranch and a popular resort. Bodine loves her family's Montana legacy and working with her great-grandmother, grandmother, parents, and brothers. She’s getting used to having Callen Skinner, her teen crush, back in town, especially since he’s great with horses and she needs a new manager. Hiring Cal makes sense, though she’s a little worried about becoming his boss given their obvious mutual attraction. When two women are murdered in the area, suspicion falls on Cal thanks to a deputy sheriff who holds a grudge. Then Alice, an aunt who disappeared before Bodine was born, shows up with a chilling story of having been captured and held for 20-plus years by a violent psychopath. Bodine, Cal, and the family laser in on taking care of the fragile woman but wonder if the events could be connected. Questions mount and tensions ratchet even higher when Cal and his horse are shot at during a ride. Suddenly no one seems safe, and the Longbows circle the wagons, but will it be enough to save the family and their loved ones? Roberts always tells a good story that balances romance and suspense, but in this title, the narrative is deeper, the mystery is more layered, and with Alice, Roberts moves into another level of exploring physical and emotional trauma and the powerful balm of family and love.
With her past couple of titles, Roberts (as opposed to her typically grittier moniker, J.D. Robb) is moving into more complex and darker storytelling, to terrific effect.