Rachel Carson started off with a totally different name. She entered the Witness Protection Program as Susan Payson after testifying against her drug lord husband, Dirk. Dirk promised to kill her if he ever got out of jail and everyone was taking that promise seriously. Susan and her mother decided that the FBI would be their best hope to stay alive while Susan’s three brothers opted to stay on the family farm in Iowa. Now, Dirk has escaped and Susan must run and hide. Her new identity is Rachel Carson and her new location is Jackson Hole, WY.
Deputy Sheriff Cade Garner was traveling the roads around Jackson Hole very carefully this Christmas eve. The road were slick so when he got a call of an accident, he wasn’t surprised. Upon arriving at the scene, his heart sunk as he sees a young woman trying to get into an SUV that had crashed into the mountain side. While he didn’t know the woman, he knew the SUV..
It belonged to his friend, Lily. Lily’s husband had been a good friend of Cade’s until he died about 6 months ago. Since then, he’d been helping out Lily and her baby, Jenny. Cade had agreed to be godfather to any children that the couple had with the approval of both their adopted parents. Now, it looked like Cade was going to become a parent to Jenny as Lily was dead.
The young woman who found the crash was more than happy to help with 3 month old Jenny and Jenny seemed to settle down well with her. As Cade talks to her, he learns that her name is Rachel Carson and she’s a nanny looking for work. In fact, Rachel was to move into one of the cabins that Cade parents rented out! It didn’t take long for Cade to decide to ask Rachel to watch Jenny. Rachel quickly agreed knowing that when Cade ran a background check that it would come out fine.
Rachel never wanted a relationship, especially after the abuse she had taken with Dirk but being around Cade reminded her that there are good men out there. As she takes care of Jenny, she can imagine what it would be like if they were really a family.
Cade’s wife and daughter died two years ago and he hasn’t felt attracted to another woman until now. Rachel is his employee and he wouldn’t want to do anything to make her feel uncomfortable but he sure would like to take her to his bed!
Their attraction is growing but so is the danger from Dirk. Rachel can’t tell Cade about her real past so how can she keep everyone safe and still find love for herself?
This story is set against the backdrop of the Grand Teton National Park. The majestic beauty is mentioned frequently but so are other real life issues about living in WY. The winters are very long and cold. The temperatures drop way low. People can go crazy with 8 months of winter so the coming up with things to do during that time rings very real. Icy roads and lack of affordable housing only give the reader a real feel for this scenic area.
The characters were just as realistic. Rachel was scared and worried. She came across as a very needy person who needed lots of reassurance from her FBI handler. She also was very close to her family and needed contact with her mother. But she also had a lot of love to give and truly enjoyed staying home and running a house. Cade loved his family’s ranch and enjoyed helping his father. He shares a close bond with his family and his friends. Though he has a hard job and sees things that he wishes he didn’t, he still remains sensitive.
Though I enjoyed this story, the writing didn’t always flow as smoothly as I had wanted. Occasionally it felt stiff and the emotions that were trying to come through didn’t quite make it. Yet, the essence of the story was sweet and heartwarming making up for the few rough patches.
A red flag did go up with a few of the details. When Cade, Rachel and Jenny were leaving the hospital, Cade forgot to bring Jenny’s car seat and allowed Rachel to hold Jenny unrestrained. After finding Jenny’s mother killed by a car accident, I have a hard time with a police officer putting a baby in jeopardy like that. I would have thought he would have at least grabbed the car seat she had been in and brought it with him even though it would need to be replaced as soon as possible before putting Jenny at risk. Also, when Cade decided to show Rachel the barn while Jenny was taking a nap. They left her alone and unsupervised. They didn’t even take a baby monitor with them and anything could have happened. Safety first with babies!
If you can overlook a few minor issues, this story is perfect for that warm, feel good feeling. Though there are a few deaths in the story, it comes across as a positive book. The descriptions are so vivid that I felt the cold but wished I could see the views. This says a lot as I hate the cold. The characters were real allowing you to relate with them. This is an excellent book to curl up with on a cold winter afternoon and enjoy.
WHEN DREAMS TURN INTO NIGHTMARES...
One tragic decision dashed Rachel Carson’s plans and made her scared of her own shadow. Now on the run, she must forever give up the hope of love--or a baby. But with her new identity, she can help care for a motherless little girl, left in the protection of handsome Sheriff Cade Garner.
As tough as his Wyoming mountains, Cade takes his responsibilities seriously. He will do whatever is necessary to protect baby Jenny and give her the life she should have had. But his sharp instincts tell him something is up with the mysterious nanny who swept into their lives. The alluring blonde has roused his senses....and his heart. As a lawman he seeks to uncover her secrets. He knows he can protect her and the baby, if only she will dare to trust again.