I have a lot of thoughts about this book, so I'm just going to jump right in; this book had a lot going on. This book is #8 in Ms. Johnston's Bitter Creek series and I have not read any of the other books in this series. I could tell while reading that there are a lot of backstories, but I didn't have any problems following along. I would be interested in reading the other books in this series to get a more in-depth background to these characters, but it's not necessary to do so in order to enjoy the story.
Kate Pendleton is a single mom raising twins. She's in love with Texas Ranger Jack McKinley. Jack is separated from his wife, Holly. As the story opens, we soon learn that Kate's former husband, J.D. Pendleton, whom the world thinks is deceased, is not dead, but hiding from the mob boss Dante D'Amato. We also find out that Kate's eight-year-old twin boys are not J.D.'s sons, but the product of a one-night stand Kate had with Wyatt Shaw after walking in on J.D. having sex with another woman.
Wyatt Shaw is Dante D'Amato's illegitemate son. He's a highly successful businessman and hates his father because he believes his father killed his mother. He has refused to take over the "family business", which angers his father. The general public thinks that because he's successful, Wyatt must be involved in his father's business and he has been accused of murdering a woman in his bed.
As soon as Wyatt learns about the twins, he rushes to find out the truth. When he learns Kate's husband is J.D., whom Wyatt knows is still alive and in a LOT of trouble, Wyatt whisks Kate and the boys off to his private compound for protection. He's got eight years of missed time with his sons and he wants very much to know and love them.
At the same time that this is going on, Jack learns that his soon-to-be ex-wife is pregnant and will be having his baby in about four months! Holly is a pediatric oncologist and is moving back to the area and wants Jake to live with her and their son while they wait for the birth of the baby. She knows how Jake feels about Kate but is hoping for a reconciliation with Jack instead of a divorce.
You would think that with all this going on it would be hard to keep up with who's who and what's what, but it wasn't. J.D. was such a slimebag! He really, really just kept making Kate's life miserable and sooo many people were unhappy with him. I also didn't like Jack at all. He struck me as such a jerk - he was going back to live with his ex-wife whom he got pregnant while Kate was in a coma, but he got upset about Kate going to live with Wyatt who is the father of her children?!? As the story progressed, by the time I got to the last page of Chapter 36 I decided I was right and he was an ass. I liked Wyatt. He was doing his damdest to get together with Kate; granted, he was going about it all wrong at first, but I could kind of see his point of view and felt like even though he looked like a bad guy he really wasn't.
As I mentioned above, there was a lot going on in this story: political inrigue, double-crossing, mob action, secret pregnancies....but Ms. Johnston wove it all together and made it work. There were one or two scenes where I said to myself, "really?" but then when I sat back and thought about it I saw how the circumstances could lead the character to those actions. Ms. Johnston did use multiple POVs, and while some people find that annoying it didn't bother me at all. I enjoyed this book and was pleased with the way it ended.
Disclaimer: This book was provided to me free of charge by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.