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A Bitter Creek Novel, #13

This thirteenth novel in the Bitter Creek series gets off to a very mysterious start laying the ground work for a whole new arc of stories set in Bitter Creek, Wyoming.

The Grayhawk's and Flynn's have been feuding like the Hatfield's and McCoy's for as long as Eve can remember. Silly pranks and practical jokes fueled the fire, but one prank backfired on Eve back in high school when she set her best friend Molly up with Connor Flynn and the two fell in love, got married and started a family.

However, a tragic accident claimed Molly's life and now Connor is in danger of losing his children to his former in-laws. At the same time, Eve's father has made a drastic move that will force not only Eve, but her sisters, out of their home, and to put the cherry on the cake, she will not have a place for her mustang horses. So, when Connor makes a proposal that would benefit all of them, Eve accepts. What was his proposal? What other kind is there? A marriage proposal of course.

This is an emotional story about unrequited love, missed opportunities, regret, guilt, family and second changes, with a dollop of Romeo and Juliet for good measure.

Sometimes a book will just reach out and grab me from the first paragraph and hold me steady all the way to the end and this was one of them. I became engrossed right way and before I knew it had read nearly half of it.

The marriage Connor and Eve commit to has everything you could hope for except for the one thing Eve craves most- Connor's love. I don't know if I could live in a one sided love affair like that and it sounds like a pretty miserable place to be. Both Eve and Connor are coping with guilt and regret over Molly, their responsibility to the children, and what they want as individuals. It's a long road they will travel on before they are able to meet each other in the middle, hopefully for the better and not the worse.

Eve's character was unusual, I thought. She was beginning to get recognition for her photography, she loved horses, of course, but had kind of coasted along without being all that proactive about taking control of her life. So, no matter what King's reasons were, being forced out was probably a good thing. I think she does grow up a lot, not only responsibility wise, by becoming a mother to Connor's children, but in making practical and down to earth choices most of time.

Connor was a little easier to read, and I knew he just needed some time to adjust to all the upheavals life had thrown him, plus, he needed to address a dark secret involving his time as a Delta Sergeant. He too grows and develops, but is often frustrating because of his slow plodding way of facing issues head on.

Molly's specter hangs heavy in the air between Connor and Eve and at times I found her memory oppressive and at others I found it sad that deep down this woman never had the kind of love she probably should have, which made her loss all the more poignant.

The only complaint I had was that at times I thought the story leaned a bit too much on the maudlin side when dealing with Molly's memory, and one scene in particular was maybe bit too sickly sweet.

There is a lot of back story going on with King Grayhawk and his son, Matt who happens to be the reason the “Brats” have all been kicked out of their home. Matt comes with two children and a lot bitterness and anger. His story is bound to set the two families ablaze in the next installments of this arc in the long running series. Of course we are introduced to Eve's sisters and one step- sister, Leah, as well as Connor's family, and I'm telling you it's going to get pretty hot in the kitchen from here on out.

I love family secrets and juicy revelations, and the bombshells start dropping, starting here with “Sinful, which left me wanting more. So, I will be eagerly awaiting the next book in the series. This is a nice solid installment in the series, which takes a break from the usual families the series is focused around. I recommend it to lovers of contemporary and contemporary western romance.

Book Blurb for Sinful

For readers of Linda Lael Miller and Susan Mallery comes New York Times bestselling author Joan Johnston’s sizzling contemporary Western romance, where power, money, and rivalries rule—and love is the best revenge. 



After a tragic accident leaves Delta sergeant Connor Flynn a widower, he faces the toughest fight of his life: battling his in-laws for custody of his two young children. To win he’ll need a make-believe bride to take care of the kids while he runs his Wyoming ranch. Who better than a woman he already knows and likes—his late wife’s best friend?

Ruthlessly forced from her home by her powerful father, King Grayhawk, Eve needs somewhere to go . . . and so does the herd of wild mustangs she’s rescued. Connor’s offer sounds like the answer to a prayer. But Eve has a guilty secret she’s guarded for years: She’s always been in love with Connor.

Now forced to live under the same roof as her heart’s desire, Eve must hide the love that has never died, while Connor vows to resist his growing need for a woman who was forbidden fruit during his marriage. Can two lonely people set adrift by fate and haunted by guilt find redemption in the healing embrace of love?

Night Owl Reviews Aug, 2015 4.00