After her rescue from kidnappers the year before, 19-year-old Kate Grayhawk had hoped that her never- married biological parents, Libby Grayhawk and Clay Blackthorne, would finally get together.

Her hopes are dashed when Clay suddenly becomes engaged to Jocelyn Montrose. But, never one to say die, Kate still plans on bringing her parents together. She gets some unexpected help from Uncle North Grayhawk, who anonymously buys major shares of the Blackthornes' Bitter Creek Cattle Company. Since the Blackthornes and Grayhawks are mortal enemies, the Blackthornes are outraged.

Jocelyn has always believed that she's loved Clay, even when he was married to her now deceased sister. But just one meeting with the enigmatic North sets her hormones racing. Telling herself that she is sacrificing her happiness to save the Blackthorne family, Jocelyn offers herself to North in exchange for the critical shares. With the bargain struck, the fallout begins.

Johnston's modern-day Hatfield and McCoy saga gets more complicated and spicy with each outing. Stubbornness is inbred in all of the characters, which makes for entertaining reading. (Sep., 420 pp., $7.99)
Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith