Series: Conard County: The Next Generation (Book 16)
After escaping an attacker who wanted her dead,
Nora Loftis is forced to return to Conard County. She needs to heal; she
just didn't expect to do it on Jake Madison's Wyoming ranch. The
full-time cowboy and part-time police chief was her first love, her only
love. And now, with her attacker on the loose, he's her only hope of
Like a vigilant sentry, Jake vows to protect her. Like a tender lover,
his arms provide a haven, his kisses a promise. But Nora is a
psychologist, and she knows the mind of her attacker. She knows he's
coming for her…to finish what he started.
Good story about surviving and second chances. Nora was raped, beaten and left for dead by a man who has now jumped bail and is coming after her to finish the job. In order to heal she has returned to Conard County. She had left twelve years earlier intending never to return. Her father's house is just as bad a place as it was when she left. He had been abusive and judgmental then and was even worse now. Jake offered to let her stay at his ranch where she would be safe. Jake had been the only person in town who had treated her well when they were growing up and she had loved him with all her innocent heart. Then one thing drove a wedge between them and cemented her decision to leave. Now that she's back she has to move past those feelings, which she finds pretty easy to do. Jake has grown into a wonderful man with a kind heart. Nora finds it very easy to rely on his strength as she heals and waits for her attacker to show up. I really liked the inner strength that she showed through her amazing survival and now her determination to stay strong through this ordeal. She started with having the spine to stand up to her father and do what was best for her. She was also determined to learn how to defend herself if she were to be caught again. Nora also worked very hard to overcome the terror she feels at the thought of her attacker coming after her. She is helped in this by Jake's kindness and patience with her and his ability to sooth her fears. She also finds that she is falling for him all over again. Because of her upbringing she still has trouble feeling that she is worth caring about. Jake's care of her is something she has never experienced before and she finds herself fighting her own fears to accept it. I loved seeing her overcome those fears and accept herself as the woman that Jake sees.
Jake has felt guilty for years over the way he treated Nora the last time he had seen her. Seeing her again brings those feelings to the front and he looks forward to the chance to apologize. He is stunned by the effects that the attack had on her and wants to do anything he can to help her heal. When he finds out her attacker has escaped he is determined to keep her safe. He doesn't expect the desire he feels for her and tries to keep it under control. He doesn't want to put any more stress on her by having her worry about what he might do. I really liked the way that he was constantly thinking of how various actions might affect her and trying to do the right thing. He also came to respect her strength of will and how she used her brain and training to try to anticipate her attacker's moves. I also enjoyed his introspection and the way he tried to understand his own actions and reactions. One of my favorite parts in the book is when he talks to Nora about her scars and then demonstrates that they don't bother him. Jake comes to realize that he's in love with Nora but fears that when everything is over she won't want to stay in Conard County.
I really liked the suspense part of the story. The killer is shown and his thought processes are clear. I liked seeing the way that Nora thought about his motivations and tried to predict his actions. I also enjoyed seeing the way that Jake and Gage worked together to try to keep Nora safe. The suspense built in a believable manner all the way to the climax and conclusion.
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