One of Hoag's earlier works, a multi-thread contemporary romantic suspense set in Montana. Marilee Jennings, impulsively fleeing a life she's come to hate, arrives in New Eden to visit Lucy MacAdam, an old friend. And finds Lucy's dead, shot in a hunting accident. Here's the part where I, as book reviewer, have to decide what is a spoiler and what is only set-up. Mari's viewed by long-time locals such as sexy rancher J. D. Rafferty with disdain and suspicion. The valley's being taken over by wealthy outsiders and the traditional way of life that J.D. prizes above all else is threatened. Click for more...
Some of the newbies are sympathetic to the area's tradition, and some - such as super-smooth, too good to be true, millionaire Evan Bryce - are more intent on bringing in their glitz and glamor as they accumulate land. J. D.'s problems stem from that tension but also from his feckless younger brother, recently-married (and already separated) Will, whose lovelorn wife Samantha works at the Mystic Moose. Okay, enough detail. The problems keep coming, the tensions keep rising, the stakes get higher, and you may find this gripper of a book the perfect week-long read. Of course, if you're like me, it might just take two days. It's a 4, with a slight amount of steamy sex, I'll call the sex a 2.5. There's plenty of hints of other sex, plus a very satisfying climactic scene that must've been a lot of fun to dream up.