Thursday, April 10, 2014

Atonement - B. J. Daniels (HQN - Feb 2014)

Series: Beartooth Montana (Book 4)

Just how far are people willing to go to keep their secrets?

Protecting the citizens of Beartooth, Montana, is never an easy job. It's been one year, and Sheriff Dillon Lawson still feels guilty that he couldn't save his twin brother, Ethan. But the biggest test of his bravery comes when Tessa Winters arrives, claiming to be pregnant…with Ethan's baby. At first, Dillon can't decide if this beautiful woman is a con artist or a victim. If Ethan didn't die in that car crash, then where is he -- and why is he hiding?

Now, Dillon is prepared to do anything to uncover the truth -- anything except admit his growing feelings for Tessa. But with violence threatening, Tessa and Dillon must trust in each other to save not only themselves…but also Tessa's unborn child.

Good book with two interesting storylines.  The main story is that of Dillon and Tessa. Dillon has been filling in as sheriff while Sheriff Frank Curry has been on a leave of absence.  It's been an eventful year and Dillon is still feeling the loss of his twin brother - until a woman shows up claiming to be pregnant with Ethan's baby.  Now Dillon wants to know why Ethan is pretending to be dead.  

Since she didn't know that Ethan had a twin brother, at first Tessa thought Dillon was Ethan.  Once that confusion is dealt with both Dillon and Tessa want to find Ethan.  As they work together they discover that Ethan had gotten in over his head in a couple of ways and want to find him before he ends up dead for real. Dillon spent a lot of time when he was younger protecting Ethan from their father and getting Ethan out of the trouble he was constantly in. He wants Ethan to have the chance to do the right thing by Tessa.  Meanwhile, Tessa is over Ethan, having put up with enough over his disappearance and his theft of her savings.  She just wants him to sign over custody of their baby to her so she can move on with her life.  Dillon quickly grows attached to Tessa, partly because of the baby she carries but mostly because of the way she makes him feel.  But he feels guilty about those feelings because she is his brother's girl.  Tessa realizes that Dillon is everything that Ethan is not, but doesn't think Dillon would ever see her as anything other than his niece's mother.  I loved the growing relationship between the two of them.  Dillon was such a nice guy that I wondered for a little while how long he would go before letting Tessa know how he felt.  It wasn't too surprising that Tessa seemed to take more initiative, though Dillon wasn't backward once he realized she really did want him.

The mystery that revolves around Ethan, his "death", and the people he got mixed up with was very well done.  There were multiple viewpoints from the various players as the danger to Ethan, Dillon and Tessa grew closer.  There were a couple very interesting twists as the truth came out about who was after Ethan and why.  I loved the final resolution and how Dillon handled it.

The second storyline involved Sheriff Frank Curry and his lady friend Nettie.  In the previous book Forsaken Frank's ex-wife had attempted to kill both him and Nettie.  She got away, and Frank took a leave of absence to try to find her.  At the beginning of this one, he has returned to Beartooth having been unable to find her.  He is ready to go back to work and pick up his romance with Nettie.  Just as things are starting to look up for them, Pam's remains are found on Frank's land and he is suspected of murdering her.  Nettie doesn't believe he had anything to do with it and takes it upon herself to do a little investigating of her own.  Frank is worried about her safety and tries to convince her to stay out of it, but Nettie is just as stubborn as he is.  Her efforts nearly get her killed by a character I never suspected.  I loved seeing Frank and Nettie finally get their happy ending after so many years apart.

As always, I love the vivid descriptions of the Montana landscape.  Sometimes I could swear I felt the cold of the snowstorms or smell the scent of the pines.  Someday I will get there to see it for myself.

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