Against the Wind
I thought I would like this book much more than I did. I enjoyed the beginning, finding the heroine and her plight interesting. However, the middle dragged, and I had increasing difficulties with the heroine and hero’s efforts to investigate her problems.
Sarah left Wind Canyon, Wyoming years ago for bigger and better things. But after years of living with an abusive husband, she and her young daughter are now back in Wyoming. Sarah’s wealthy husband has been murdered, leaving her with far more than his gambling debts since his unscrupulous business associates are after her.
Sarah finds a job with the local newspaper, and locates housing on a local ranch. She’s dismayed to discover, upon arrival, that the ranch is owned by Jackson Raines.
Jackson was attracted to Sarah when they were high schools students, and when he finally asked her for a date, she publicly humiliated him. Jackson’s come a long way since high school, when he and his brothers weren’t thought of as being good enough for their fellow students. He went through college on a boxing scholarship, and eventually ended up in the Olympics. With a major in geology, he worked in the oil industry and, through a series of smart investments, is now a very wealthy man.
Jackson initially demands that Sarah leave the ranch, and find other housing. However, her sweet little girl makes him change his mind. Soon, Jackson has befriended not only her daughter, but Sarah herself. All of his old feelings for Sarah come back in full force.
I liked the story as long as it was about Sarah and Jackson’s reunion, and their gradual warming to each other. Where it goes astray is when her husband’s criminal associates pursue her to Wind Canyon. Not only does Sarah refuse to talk to the police, she and Jackson investigate her problems.
For me, this isn’t just a case of a heroine – with no professional experience – leaping full throttle into a dangerous investigation. I also had problems with Jackson’s involvement. Jackson is rich, really rich. He could afford to hire any private investigator he wants. Admittedly, he initially tries to hire his brother (and this is the setup for the next two books in the series) who is supposedly a fantastic investigator. But when he discovers his brother is too busy, Jackson decides to investigate himself.
I actually went back and reread the first few chapters to make certain I hadn’t missed something about Jackson’s background that qualified him as an investigator, but all I found was his boxing, ranching, and geology experience. To make matters worse, at every point when Jackson would leave Wind Canyon to investigate, Sarah would insist on going with him. This made even less sense, given her background. I thought that far less would have gone wrong if they’d just reported things to the police and FBI, rather than trying to do things on their own. I also became irritated with Sarah for all of the secrets she kept from Jackson.
Jackson and Sarah have a lot of sex, and after a while, it felt as if the author was using sex, rather than showing any real relationship development between the two.
Jackson’s brothers don’t have much of a role here, and I didn’t find enough of interest to make me want to pick up their stories.