Series: Beartooth, Montana #5
Author: B.J. Daniels
Published: August 26/14 by Harlequin HQN
Genre: romantic suspense
Synopsis from Goodreads:
The hunt for a killer leads to a battle between justice and desire…
For U.S. marshal Rourke Kincaid, there's the law…and then there's his law. When the two don't agree, he always trusts his instincts. A killing spree has gripped the Northwest, showing a strange connection that only he sees, and now the old rules of justice no longer apply. Forced to turn rogue, he goes deep undercover to track his mysterious female suspect to a quiet, unassuming café in the wild, isolated mountains of Beartooth, Montana.
But encountering Callie Westfield complicates his mission in ways he never expected. As suspicious as she seems, her fragile beauty and sexy charm get to Rourke. Then the gory crimes begin anew. With his heart suddenly at war with his instincts, he has only two options. Either turn Callie over to the law, or put everything—including his badge and his life—on the line to protect her.
There was no traffic on the two-lane north of Big Timber at this time of the night. Laura wasn’t that wor- ried about deer on the highway either. There was an almost full moon that turned the landscape silver. After driving in Seattle for so many years with traffic at all hours, day or night, this was a treat.
She hadn’t been back to Montana since her mother had awakened her in the middle of the night and rushed her downstairs to an old pickup waiting just outside. She’d never seen the man behind the wheel before or since. She just remembered her mother paying him when they reached the bus station in some distant town. Most of her life she hadn’t known even the name of the town where they’d moved to before her mother lost her job and they had to move again.
That time, when she’d awakened, they were in Mich- igan. When she asked what was going on, her mother told her they were making a new start and she was never to mention the past again.
Tonight Rourke had been surprised to hear not only that her mother was alive, but also living nearby in a small Montana town. She shouldn’t be angry with him for knowing so little about her. When he’d first asked about her family, she’d let him think her mother was dead. She’d made the mistake of mentioning her sister, Catherine, only once, but Rourke hadn’t forgotten. He’d asked if she was coming for a visit.
What he didn’t know was that she hated her sister’s visits. They were only once a year, fortunately. She couldn’t keep Catherine away longer.
She never talked about her family. Nor did she tell anyone else. She’d put that life behind her years ago. But she especially didn’t want Rourke knowing. The last thing she wanted was his pity.
Given that she knew everything about him, it did seem unfair that he knew nothing about her. He’d been raised on a ranch in Wyoming. When his parents had re- tired, they’d sold the ranch and left him enough money that he never had to work. When his parents were killed in a small-plane crash, he’d already graduated from col- lege, been working in law enforcement and had finally crossed her path at the Seattle P.D.
If she was honest with herself, she’d always be- lieved that fate had thrown the two of them together. Seeing him again had made her realize that she’d al- ways thought that someday they would be a couple. She knew it was crazy and certainly the feeling was all on her side. Rourke had never had an interest in her other than as a cop. Why she’d thought that would change, she had no idea.
It didn’t keep it from hurting, though. Her psychia- trist insisted that if she told Rourke how she felt, she would finally be able to move past it.
Well, the best she could do now was to try to keep him alive, she thought as she came over a hill and saw the rotating white blades of the Judith Gap wind farm in the distance.
Closer, she could see the lights of Harlowton, Montana, ahead. All her misgivings about coming here hit her in a rush. For all she knew, her mother was already dead, taking her secrets with her.
Laura’s foot came up off the accelerator. It wasn’t too late to turn around. Or she could get a motel in town and get out of here tomorrow.
She felt that old tightening in her stomach at even the thought of seeing her mother. She didn’t want to be here. What was the point in digging up all those bad memories?
Ahead, she saw the highway sign. Turn around or drive into the heart of the small Montana town to her mother’s house, where she couldn’t even conceive what might be waiting for her?
Daniels takes off running with suspense from the very first sentence. She kept me riveted to the pages with her intricately plotted tale. She gets quite in-depth about the possibilities, probabilities, and theories behind and involved in this tale. Daniels not only entertained me, but also made me think and weigh the various possible outcomes of the tale. I found myself attempting to unravel the mystery while falling in love with the characters and the town.
Daniels takes complex characters to a whole new level here. There were so many different layers to the main characters, both individually and together that I found myself completely entranced. I can’t even get into some of the supporting cast without massive spoilers. The already impressive story is intensified with their interactions.
This was an amazing return to Beartooth. Daniels had me completely hooked and I can’t wait to return to this town again, both rereading this instalment and to continue the series.