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Lori Armstrong is the other side of Lorelei James and her racy cowboys. Set in North Dakota, Mercy Gunderson returns on medical leave from the Army where she has been for ~20 years. Her father is dead, her sister is still erratic and Jake still manages the day to day running of the Gunderson Ranch. Mercy has secrets, the first being why she left the ranch in the first place. The result of the secret leaves her unable to have children and she ends up being selected along with other women with similar issues into an elite team loosely tied to the Army Rangers. She sustains an eye injury and is returned home from the middle east. She feels like an outsider, nothing has changed and she cannot see where and if she fits in.
The first problem is Albert Yellowboy is found dead on the ranch, his body eaten by local wildlife. Her father appointed Sheriff Dawson as his replacement prior to his death, he is Mercy's ideal man, tall, built, a cowboy (ie bull rider) ex marine and still in uniform. He presses all her right buttons but she sees him as ineffective when it comes to investigating.
Whilst trying to build a relationship with her teenage nephew Levi she discovers that a group of young boys from the reservation are meeting and re enacting Lakota warrior rites.
When Mercy finds her nephews body on the ranch she starts to investigate herself, this leads her into sticky situations including being insulted and berated about her lack of personality, being a woman, life skills and relationships by her closest childhood friend Geneva.
The first girl who opens up to her to discuss the rites is found with her throat cut on Mercy's front step. Bodies seem to pile up as she tries to make sense of everything. Meantime there is pressure from the local property tycoon and a group from Florida to sell all the land, the neighbouring ranches are all looking to see if she will sell and bail.
Hope, Mercy's sister is pregnant again and her current boyfriend appears to be too perfect. He is a tutor at the reservation but seems to have a hidden agenda, pushing via Hope to get Mercy to sell their home.
Mercy is forced to do something she is petrified of, get back on a horse. She watched her mother get kicked to death by one. It some ways she sees it as her fault as she let the saddle slip that caused the horse to panic and kick out. Balanced on an old mare, with a bag of cash from the safe she rides out into a storm to save her sister who has been taken hostage.
Hope is finally safe and in hospital, and Mercy again comes under fire in the shape of a neighbour who is so bitter about her own losses she will kill again to satisfy old hurts. Jake comes to her rescue this time when a very painful truth is revealed.
To save Hope and other people being hurt, because of what the neighbour had done (and why) Jake and Mercy work together to conceal the death.
I purchased this because I love the books this author writes as Lorelei James, and I am glad I gave it a try as it is nothing like the others books I've read. The story wasn't very fast but it fit perfectly with the slow paced country life the characters live. Mercy Gunderson is a little rough around the edges but I liked that about her. Jennifer Van Dyck did a great job narrating. I will be purchasing the next book in this series.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful
This is my first Lori Armstrong book. Jennifer Van Dyck did a good job narrating the story. Mercy is a army women sniper who was wounded and has returned home on leave due to her Father's death. Her nephew is murdered and the family look to her for help as their Father was the local sheriff before his death. Was a fast paced story set in South Dakota ranch country next to the Indian Rez. Lots of general information about the site of the story. Looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful