Jake. R. C. Ryan. Forever Mass Market. February 2013. 448 pp. pbk. ISBN #: 9781455502448.
Meg Stanford, a high-powered, Washington, D.C. lawyer returns to Paintbrush, Wyoming to bury her father. As she quickly discovers, this is a personal case that will challenge her best skills. For she’s got to sort through her father’s papers and decide what to do with her step-brother Cory. From the start, Meg is stunned by how disorderly her father’s records are, especially considering what an orderly, straight guy he was known to be. Add to that Cory hasn’t said two words to her since she arrived and now she’s got a lame horse on her hands. So she leaves a message for the town vet to help in her distress and that is the beginning of it all!
There’s an electric charge on Meg and Jake, the vet who comes to save the day, that neither misses but cannot immediately acknowledge. He also has a way with people of all stripes and gets Cory to somewhat communicate via their shared love of animals. It’s a start and gets better when Jake invites him to his home for a meal and a look at some new-born puppies. While they are away, danger looms in the form of a break-in in Megan’s new home and the discovery of her car being vandalized. Someone clearly is looking for something important and more importantly doesn’t want Megan there. The local police are non-existent to help her and it is Jake who again rises to the occasion.
On and on the challenges come while the attraction between Meg and Jake slowly and tenderly grows, a flame gradually being kindled by the increasing time they are spending together. After Meg’s father’s will is read, Meg has some huge choices to make. They involve who will care for Cory and whether she will stay in Wyoming or return to her former prosperous career, one that grew by leaps and bounds after she proved herself in a nationally reported case.
Jake’s mystery slowly evolves as well at just the right pace and with just enough clues to keep the reader flipping the pages. Jake is a unique character whose rambling ways undergo a complete turn-around with Meg’s appearance. Whether she will fully respond is his challenge and one that will try his patience as well. For each waits to decide what is such a pivotal plan and destiny. Finely told, R. C. Ryan!