COLTON COWBOY HIDEOUT – Carla Cassidy
The Coltons of Texas
Harlequin Romantic Suspense #1903
Colton Valley Ranch, Texas – Present Day
Josie Colton arrives at the Colton Valley Ranch to get permission from distant cousin Eldridge Colton to search his land for a missing watch so she can fulfil her imprisoned father's dying wish to be buried with it. There may also be a map to buried money inside the watch. She has barely arrived when a scream sounds—a maid discovers that Eldridge is missing and there's blood in the bedroom. Has someone kidnapped or murdered him? Eldridge's wife immediately points a finger at Josie for two reasons: her father is a notorious serial killer, and Josie herself had recently been accused of murder in another case, but was found innocent after the real killer was caught. The sheriff investigating Eldridge's disappearance orders Josie to remain on the ranch, so she's offered one of the rooms in the huge complex.
Ranch foreman Tanner Grange is a single father of twin girls and had barely been instructed to help Josie find the missing watch when Eldridge is discovered missing. Several people in the house are suspects, and there are plenty of motives. Tanner's nanny is upset by what is going on and immediately quits – leaving him to find an alternative. Josie steps in to help out and is taken with the toddlers…and their father. Despite the age differences (he's 35 and she's 23), an attraction develops between Tanner and Josie. Living in close quarters will no doubt amp up the desire between them, but should they act upon it? Meanwhile, when they search for the watch, someone with a gun shoots at them. Is it related to Eldridge's disappearance or to what finding the watch will reveal?
There's a lot going on in Carla Cassidy's COLTON COWBOY HIDEOUT, which is the first book in a new series about the Colton family (of which there are many branches). Josie has gone through a lot as a twenty-three year old—not only is her father a serial killer but he killed her mother. She was placed into foster care and later witnessed a drug lord killing a rival. That put her into the witness protection program. She thought things were going great when she reunited with her siblings, but then she was accused of being a serial killer herself. That got resolved, but now she's trying to rebuild her life. Getting in the thick of Eldridge's disappearance and possible murder is not what she wants. Falling for Tanner turns out easy to do, but convincing him that their age difference doesn't matter is another thing.
Tanner adores his daughters, but still can't forget—or forgive—his late wife. Not that he's in love with her still, but that he felt betrayed after she left him because she didn't like living on the ranch. He's had nanny problems, and getting Josie to watch them while he works is a god send. She is wonderful with the girls and they love her. Things become a little too domesticated to his liking, but he can't deny there's a sizzling attraction between him and Josie. But even as he pushes her away, kisses between them turn into something hotter.
Swirling behind the scenes in COLTON COWBOY HIDEOUT is the mystery of Eldridge Colton. Did his wife or one of his various children or step children get rid of him? Nothing is solved in this tale, but will continue on as all of the Colton siblings get to tell their own tales. Did one of them kill him?
With a couple of mysteries going on in COLTON COWBOY HIDEOUT, readers will be hooked from the start. If you love a good romantic suspense with a couple whose chemistry sizzles, then look no further than COLTON COWBOY HIDEOUT.