TWO OF HEARTS – Christina Lee
Adult Contemporary Romance
Native American Reservation – The Present
With the murder of her father, who was knifed in a senseless parking lot robbery with only a few dollars stolen, Dakota Nakos becomes the CEO of the Golden Arrow Casino. At her dad's funeral, she sees Shane Garrity, the young man who left her five years ago to train for the U.S.Marshals. She has never gotten over their brief, heart-breaking romance. Now she needs to be strong, for her mother and for her brother and his wife Rachel, and for all the Native Americans who work at the casino and live on the reservation. Dakota follows her father's practices, but there has been disquiet among the casino's employees since his death. Her mother is Dutch, so Dakota is only half Native American, and other casino owners, even some of those who have known her all her life, don't trust her mother and her to do right by the reservation.
U.S. Marshal Shane Garrity attends Linden Nakos's funeral having taken leave from his duties. He is not a Native American, but Dakota's father treated him like a son, and Shane worked at the casino before he left for training and his career. That last leave taking with Dakota has left him dissatisfied for five years. He finds Dakota even more beautiful and desirable. When he senses uneasiness in the Golden Arrow employees, it adds to his suspicions about the irrationality of her father's death; it sets off his investigator's awareness. Something is going on, and he swears to himself to protect Dakota.
Dakota and Shane are both driven, stubborn professionals in their respective fields. Five years ago they were focused on their futures more than each other, and ignored discussing their doubts. The death of Dakota's father changes many aspects of many relationships within the community. A very physical one begins between the two protagonists. The story switches between Dakota's and Shane's first person viewpoints showing their angst over their place in the other's life. Shane pulls in two members of his U.S. Marshal team to help him investigate the murder, but his inquiry into how the murder ties to events on the reservation remain undefined. Sensual activities and emotions take precedence over suspense in the story, but the mystery will keep readers engrossed.