Newly single, native New Yorker, Maddie Taylor is a romance writer stuck in the throes of a writers' block when she receives news that Jonah Spartman, an older man she met by chance ten years before, has bequeathed her half of his cattle ranch in Arkansas. The land can be hers, but only under the condition that she stay on the ranch for a period of three months.
Eager for a change of scene, Maddie heads west, where she meets Gideon Spartman, Jonah's grumpy grandson, a man with rugged good looks, who owns the other half of the ranch. Gideon is a troubled Afghanistan military vet who struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He has also become the guardian of his two, lonely orphaned nephews, Abe and Mark, whom he orders around like "hired help." Even though Gideon is initially leery and standoffish with Maddie, the two are instantly attracted to each other.
Do the secrets and scars that Gideon carries prohibit him from loving another person? And does the same hold true for Maddie and her life of isolation, lived on the pages of her romance novels?
As prideful Maddie tries to settle in to the Spartman Cattle ranch, she starts writing again, while growing closer to Abe and Mark and making friends with the townsfolk.
With yearnings suddenly awakened in Maddie for Gideon (and vice-versa), the two become fearful, suspecting that the depth of their feelings may be life-changing. But do either one of them really want their lives to change?
Zeller has written an intriguing Western-themed, contemporary love story, blending well-defined, wounded characters--from two different worlds--mired in the pull and tug of romance. Zeller also weaves in a suspenseful subplot regarding the harrowing struggles of a beef cattle farm in financial crisis.
Camel Press, $14.95, Paper, 9781603819596 , 274 pp
Publication Date: September 1, 2013
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