Western Romantic Suspense
If you like reading romantic suspense with a western setting try the Beartooth Mountain series by B. J. Daniels. Having just finished Forsaken, third in the series, I have to say I am hooked on this genre. Not your typical western story, it has elements of murder, mystery, horses and handsome cowboys - what more could you ask for? Written with intertwining story lines and the beautiful details of the Montana landscape, you can almost smell the pine trees, the frost on the air, the smell of the horses, and the smoke from the campfires. The action switches from story line to story line until all three are interwoven into one gripping and suspenseful tale.
The main focus of the story revolves around Maddie Conner, owner of the Diamond C sheep ranch, and former big-city detective, Bentley Jamison. Maddie is the last of a dying breed of sheep ranchers. After losing her husband and son in an avalanche four years earlier, she has buried herself in her ranch work ever since. She is very independent and doesn't want to rely on anyone or let anyone get close to her. She continues what she believes is her legacy, but with her dear friend and sheep herder, Branch Murdock, missing and possibly dead, Maddie knows her days as a rancher are numbered. When she meets Deputy Sheriff Brantley Jamison she scoffs at him, thinking that because he isn't from the area that he is completely out of his element. The two set off on a difficult trek into the mountains with a bad snowstorm nipping at their heels to find Branch and see to Maddie's flock. Maddie soon finds herself wrong about the handsome Deputy and at the same time attracted to him during their misadventure.
Bentley Jamison is handsome, strong and tender... a very appealing hero. A former homicide detective from New York City, he has come to Montana to get away from his memories back home. He is recently divorced from a wife who ended up not respecting what he chose to do with his career. Montana is a whole different world and when he is called on to investigate the disappearance of Maddie's sheep herder he is somewhat out of his element. Maddie herself is unlike any woman he had ever known before. He is attracted to her but tries to fight it because of the circumstances. Though he knows nothing of sheep ranching, he has to go with Maddie to the high pastures to investigate. What ensues is a dangerous and exciting adventure in the Montana mountains with both Maddie and Bentley trying to fight their growing attraction to each other.
The fact that I had not read the previous two books, Unforgiven and Redemption, did not affect my enjoyment of this book. Daniels does an excellent job of creating series books that can be read alone. In Forsaken, there are two other stories going on at the same time. Sheriff Frank Curry is still trying to help his daughter, now in a mental institution, whose mother turned her against Frank and convinced her to kill him. Through it all, Frank stays solid and ready to fight for the woman he loved, regardless of what it cost him. There is also a love story between two 40 something's that adds a nice touch. B.J. Daniels is one of those authors that can write several stories lines within a book and tie them all up like a neat bow, yet still leaving some part of the mystery uncovered. Excellent summer reading!