MONTANA DREAMS – Jillian Hart
The McKaslin Clan
Steeple Hill Love Inspired
Prospect, Montana – Present Day
Millie Wilson left home at seventeen, forced out by her father when he learned she was pregnant. The one thing that would have helped her stay would never happen, and her childhood home had never been happy. Whip Wilson treated Millie no better than a slave, never like a loved daughter. And now, Millie has come home, but only to help her father through his final days as he lies sick and dying. Being home again is an ordeal; her father still hurls insults and issues orders, but she's thankful for an excuse to leave today when Whip demands she get him some ice cream. There isn't much food in the house, so she and her nine-year-old son, Simon, head into town, rattling over the roads in Whip's broken-down pickup truck.
Millie hopes to get in and out of the small grocery store as soon as possible, but fifteen dollars won't go far, so she counts every last penny as Simon loads their basket with meager purchases. The worst thing that can happen would be running into Hunter McKaslin, but of course, fate doesn't care what Millie wants, because Hunter is standing right behind her in the checkout line. He impatiently throws two dollars on the belt when Millie asks the clerk to subtract the box of crackers she can't afford.
Hunter can't believe Millie is back home. She broke his heart when she up and left without a word or a goodbye. Her father couldn't wait to rub in the news that she'd run off to the city to marry another man, that she'd left him behind. And to see her with a child twists his gut. Given the boy's apparent age, Millie didn't wait too long to shack up and start on a family. She'd always wanted her own children, something Hunter had been unable to agree to back then. He was twenty-two when Millie left, and she was barely out of high school. Marriage then was a bad idea and he hadn't hesitated to tell her so the night before she left.
Once upon a time, Millie's mind was full of MONTANA DREAMS, back when she thought she and Hunter would marry and start their own family. But Hunter was dead set against marriage and children, and the night she tried to tell him she was pregnant with his baby, he angrily yelled that he would never get married and have children, not even with her. Today, her biggest fear is Simon. What if someone recognizes how much he looks like Hunter? Millie does everything in her power to avoid meeting Hunter again, but circumstances go from bad to worse on her father's dairy farm. All the men quit when their checks bounce; the roof is leaking; and there are bats in the attic! Hunter steps in, and the tension ratchets up for him and Millie.
All of the characters in MONTANA DREAMS are dynamic and round out a wonderful story! The latest novel in The McKaslin series, Millie and Hunter's story is very special. They still love each other. However, Millie is afraid of Hunter learning the truth, and Hunter is equally blinded by Millie's supposed betrayal. MONTANA DREAMS stands alone in this large series of novels. For more on The McKaslin series see the author's website, www.jillianhart.net .
As a special bonus for Love Inspired readers on the fifteenth-year anniversary of this series, Harlequin has included a special bonus inside each September book! When you finish reading MONTANA DREAMS, enjoy a short inspirational suspense novella by Terri Reed, KEY WITNESS (2008), where heroine Kristin Conrad is running for her life after her reporter friend, Sue, is murdered. NYPD Homicide Detective Andy Howell makes it his job to keep Kristin safe.
Both of these stories are wonderful! KEY WITNESS is a nice, short addition to Ms. Hart's novel. Be sure you don't miss Hunter and Millie's story of their MONTANA DREAMS.