A MAN OF DISTINCTION – Sarah M. Anderson
Harlequin Desire #2184
Contemporary Western Romance
Red Creek Lakota Reservation, South Dakota – The Present
Nick Long left his life of abject poverty on the reservation and through hard work became a rich lawyer representing clients in environmental cases. As youngest junior partner with a prestigious law firm in Chicago, he has a high-rise apartment with a view of Lake Michigan and owns a Jaguar. He had been on the verge of proposing to his boss's daughter, Rissa. However, the Red Creek Lakota tribe's lawyer has hired the firm to represent the tribe in litigation against the Midwest Energy Company, whose fracking for natural gas has polluted the Dakota River. When his boss tells Nick he is the one to represent ‘those' people, Nick doesn't see it as a good career-building case, but it certainly becomes a reality check. He takes a step back from his boss's daughter girlfriend and leaves for the reservation to do his job. Once on the tribal lands, he resumes his real name of Nick Longhair.
Tanya Rattling Blanket has always loved Nick, but he chose to leave the reservation, and she chose to stay and wait for him to come back. He came back once, but left again. Now Tanya works as receptionist for the tribe's headquarters to support her son, Bear, a child she needs to keep from Nick's notice. One-year old Bear is unable to speak, and Tanya fears Nick will either reject him, or decide he needs to take Bear from her for what he thinks is a better life in Chicago. How will he react to a disabled child?
The characters in A MAN OF DISTINCTION create not only interesting individuals, but also dilemmas that lead to perhaps too much introspection through internal dialogue. Both Nick and Tanya are strong minded, ethical people. Tanya is steadfast and proud. Nick has made a successful career for himself as a man who knows how to use words effectively, but on a personal level seems blind to what he thinks he has said and done. He has become an excellent lawyer by throwing away his heritage, the good along with the bad. What happens when he learns about his son, and then learns his son might be the best evidence against Midwest Energy? He thinks he makes ‘clean breaks' with the women in his life, but in both cases he is wrong. Tanya represents the reservation and his past, Rissa a Chicago lifestyle and his present, but what will he chose for his future?