|About the Book|
With the Civil War over for nearly twenty years, the country is expanding westward, and the open range, long thought to be endless, is disappearing. Leaving an abusive marriage, embittered, strong-willed Claire Maitland arrives in Montana, stubbornlyMoreWith the Civil War over for nearly twenty years, the country is expanding westward, and the open range, long thought to be endless, is disappearing. Leaving an abusive marriage, embittered, strong-willed Claire Maitland arrives in Montana, stubbornly determined to save the vestiges of her beloved grandfathers once-great cattle ranch. The property, along with many other small farms and ranches, has been swallowed up by avaricious rancher Linus Thacker, who has used every dishonest and criminal means to expand his control over the diminishing range.By selling everything she owns and borrowing what she can, Claire manages to regain five hundred desolate acres of grazing land, a rundown house and fifty head of prime Hereford cattle. When Thackers henchmen murder or frighten off her newly hired cowhands, she finds herself alone, with neither the expertise nor the ability with a gun it will take to protect her small ranch.A lone man comes to her aid, in the person of Luke Campbell, another displaced rancher whom she knew as a child, years before she moved east and married the wealthy businessman who abused and eventually deserted her. Claires first meeting with Luke after many years apart shows him to be a man with a strong hand and blunt manner - a man ready to tame her volatile temper - over his knee if necessary. Distrustful of all men, yet trying to make her way in a mans world, Claire is often unreasonable, harsh, and unforgiving. Although she finds Campbells help welcome and his strength somehow appealing, she fears becoming the unwilling property of yet another domineering tyrant.Through an escalating range war, they fight side by side against staggering odds, growing closer despite Claires reluctance to relinquish any part of herself to another man. The barn she has lovingly built falls victim to arson, and Thackers thugs attempt to divert her cattles only source of water. When Luke is beaten and shot, Claire is driven by both love and foolish pride to confront her old enemy face-to-face - and finds her life in peril, as well.