SINFUL – Joan Johnston
A Bitter Creek Novel, King's Brats Series
ISBN: 978-0-8041-7866-2
May 2015
Contemporary Western Romance

Near Jackson Hole Wyoming

Two prosperous ranch families have been feuding for years: The Grayhawks of Kingdome Come and the Flynns of The Lucky Seven. It began when Angus Flynn blamed King Grayhawk for the drug overdose death of King's fist wife, who happened to be Angus's own wife's sister, The feud carried on down to the next generation when those “wild Flynn boys” and the “King's brats” girls—Eve, twins Taylor and Victoria, and half-sister Leah—were in school together. One of the Flynns—Aden, Brian, Connor or Devon—began teasing Eve about her namesake, the Garden of Eden temptress. The embarrassing teasing was taken up by nearly all the boys in town. But now they are adults and face adult problems. This story is about Eve and Connor, who both hid secret feelings for one another.

King Grayhawk recently survived a bout of cancer and wants to make amends to another of his sons who walked away at eighteen and never came back. Now King has found him and bribes him to come home. The deal they make, however, is that Matt will take over the ranch, have complete control for a year, after which everything—and that means everything, money and all—will be his. The girls will have a year to move. Eve lives on the ranch when not out photographing wildlife. She recently rescued twenty-two wild mustangs from becoming dog food and brought them to live on the reach. Matt gives her a week to move them off.

Connor Flynn was in the Army with the Delta force when he married Eve's best friend. They had two children, and Connor was on his last duty in Afghanistan when Molly was killed in an accident. He left the children with Molly's parents while he finished his tour, but now that he's home for good, his in-laws won't give them back to him. Eve and Molly had maintained their friendship and she loves the kids; she's their Godmother. She's willing to help Connor regain custody in the courts; she knows that's what Molly would want.

This is the bare beginnings of a tale with many characters…make that personalities , as Ms. Johnston definitely brings them to life. But let's stick with Eve and Connor for now. Connor and Eve team up: she to help the kids adjust to having a father, he to possibly be of help with her horses. How will that turn out?

I find the title, SINFUL, a bit misleading, for most of the guilt is in their minds. Eve and Connor are honorable and caring people. The story is an emotional one. Connor struggles with the aftermath of war and goes above and beyond to help other returning vets. Eve loves the children, cares for Connor, and is devoted to saving the mustangs. I was riveted to this book and couldn't go to sleep until I finished it. Enough is given about the brothers and sisters to tantalize us into wishing it were longer. However, hard as it will be, we must wait for future books about King's brats and the wild Flynn boys . Get in on the ground floor with SINFUL.

Jane Bowers