After the unexpected death of her father, Maya Valentine, a special education teacher living in Portland, Oregon, decides to spend the summer in Salisbury Junction, Oregon, where she'd spent her childhood vacations in the home her father left her. However, Maya doesn't share her father's love of the area and is considering selling.
When she visits her elderly neighbor, Alice, she finds her weak with pneumonia. A passionate historian, Alice has contracted with Stanton Black, a famous author who is planning to write a historically accurate novel set in the area. Unable to perform her duties and not willing to give the job to someone else, Alice talks Maya into taking her place until she feels better.
Finding Stanton wildly attractive but arrogant, Maya can't help but insult him while trying to act as though she qualified to be his tour guide.
Stanton is intrigued by Maya; she is smart and passionate yet behaves in the oddest ways. When he makes a pass for her, he's informed he doesn't meet the set of criteria necessary for her to date him.
As their relationship tumbles along, other trouble is afoot. There is Boomer, a man who is illegally mining on Maya's land. Hoping to strike it rich in order to woo Michelle Carr, a famous actress, Boomer intends to get rid of every obstacle standing between him and the woman of his dreams. That includes Stanton Black the man to whom Boomer believes Michele is engaged to.
While I felt Maya's Gold had an interesting setting and the characters' interesting occupations, I had a hard time with the characters' motivations and behavior. For example, why would Maya choose to deal with a person like her realtor? Why would Stanton keep a tour guide who would make him drive his own vehicle and didn't know anything?
And, while Maya was constantly referred to as strong, she cried a lot. I know she was grieving for her father, but the crying felt plot driven rather than character driven. And the coincidences surrounding Boomer were frustrating.
Love and Gold. Mystery and Passion. All famous mystery author Stanton Black wanted was to leave the flashbulbs of Hollywood behind. Hiding out in the wilds of northeast Oregon seemed like the perfect way to get over the attempt on his life while researching his work. His latest novel would draw on the history of his ancestors and the lore of gold country. Now, all he needed was a suitable tour guide. Special education teacher Maya Valentine was no tour guide. After the death of her parents, Maya has come home to Salisbury Junction for the summer only to have an ailing friend talk her into escorting Stanton around the area. As a pattern of crime around her and the newfound gold on her property leads to a real-life mystery, her relationship with Stanton turns to thoughts of romance. A romance too impossible to consider. "MAYA'S GOLD is a wonderful read, which I thoroughly enjoyed. This is a sweet love story with a hunky hero, a loveable heroine and a cozy mystery. Mary Vine weaves an interesting tale and beautifully captures small-town life. There's a wonderful balance of suspense, humor and romance. I'll definitely look forward to reading more from this author." Lisa McCaskill Romance Junkies "Mary Vine has assembled a fine cast of tightly-drawn characters in MAYA'S GOLD. The story glows with vividly told episodes that sparkle with humor, suspense and passion. Richard Mack Author of QUAIL SONG and AGAINST A WESTERN SKY