Unforgiven [NOOK Book]

Overview




In Beartooth, Montana, land and family are everything. So when Destry Grant's brother is accused of killing Rylan West's sister, high school sweethearts Destry and Rylan leave their relationship behind in order to help their families recover from tragedy.

Years later, Destry is dedicated to her ranch and making plans for the future. Plans that just might include reuniting...
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Unforgiven

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Overview




In Beartooth, Montana, land and family are everything. So when Destry Grant's brother is accused of killing Rylan West's sister, high school sweethearts Destry and Rylan leave their relationship behind in order to help their families recover from tragedy.

Years later, Destry is dedicated to her ranch and making plans for the future. Plans that just might include reuniting with the love of her life…until her brother returns to clear his name and the secrets of the past threaten her one chance at happiness.

Rylan is done denying his feelings for Destry. But when clues begin to link her brush with death to his sister's murder, will discovering the truth finally grant them their chance at love or turn them against one another for good?

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An explosive tale of love, trust and the twisted ties among an embattled family."

-RT Book Reviews on Crime Scene at Cardwell Ranch

Kirkus Reviews
An unsolved murder tests bonds of love and family in Daniels' first HQN single title. Beartooth, Mont., high school sweethearts Destry Grant and Rylan West were torn apart when Destry's brother was accused of killing Rylan's sister. Years later, when new evidence turns up, Carson Grant comes back to face the music, though he has always vehemently denied being involved with his ex-girlfriend's death. Destry and Rylan must come to terms with their feelings for each other and the ugly murder against the backdrop of family secrets, public sentiment and the unsolved mystery that becomes more and more tangled once the lovers and the sheriff begin to investigate. More and more suspects come out of the woodwork, forcing Rylan to reconsider how certain he is that his ex-girlfriend's brother is the culprit, or, if he is, whether or not Rylan is truly willing to give up the love of his life over the tragedy. As the investigation stirs up old wounds and uncovers new conflicts, Destry and Rylan find themselves on dangerous ground, both emotionally and physically. Despite the potential of some strong romantic and suspense elements, this effort falls flat. Daniels spends so much time setting up possible suspects, telling the reader that conflict, romantic/sexual awareness and even danger exists, then zooming to the next not-quite-authentic plot element, that the story and the characters never quite come to life. (Also, one scene in the middle of the book was so poorly rendered it gave away the killer--at least for this reader.) An interesting premise, told through a fitful plot, disjointed character transitions and a general lack of chemistry.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781459249073
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 11/20/2012
  • Series: A Beartooth, Montana, Novel
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 47,587
  • File size: 340 KB

Meet the Author


USA Today bestselling author B.J. Daniels wrote her first book after a career as an award-winning newspaper journalist. Since then she has more than 40 short stories and 70 books in print. Her best-selling Harlequin Intrigue series, Whitehorse, Montana, has appeared on the USA Today bestselling list numerous times. She has also won a variety of awards including a Career Achievement Award for romantic suspense. Daniels lives in Montana with her husband, Parker.

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Read an Excerpt




The wind howled down the Crazy Mountains, rocking the pickup as Sheriff Frank Curry pulled to the side of the narrow dirt road. He hadn't been to this desolate spot in years. Like a lot of other residents of Beartooth, he avoided coming this way.

The afternoon sun slanted down through the dense pines, casting a long shadow over the barrow pit and the small cross nearly hidden among the weeds. The cross, though weathered from eleven years of harsh Montana weather, stood unyielding against the merciless wind that whipped the summer-dried weeds around it.

After a moment, Frank climbed out of the truck, fighting the gusts as he waded into the ditch. Someone had erected the wooden cross, though no one knew who. Back then the cross had been white. Years of blistering hot summers and fierce, long snow-laden winters had peeled away the paint, leaving the wood withered and gray.

The brisk fall wind kicked up a dust devil in the road. Frank shut his eyes as it whirled past him, pelting him with dirt. The image he'd spent years trying to banish flashed before him. He saw it again, the young woman's broken body lying in the barrow pit where it had been discarded like so much garbage.

The lonesome moan of the wind in the tops of the thick wall of pines was the only sound on this remote rural road. That night, standing here as the coroner loaded the body, he'd sworn he would find Ginny West's killer if it was the last thing he ever did.

Now, he looked again at the cross that marked this lonely place where Ginny had died. The wind had plastered a dirty plastic grocery bag against its base.

Feeling the crippling weight of that vow and his failure, Frank crouched down and jerked the bag free. As he rose to leave, he heard the sound of a motor and looked up to see a small plane fly over.

Rylan West lay dazed in the dirt. He'd lost his hat, gotten the air knocked clean out of him and was about to be trampled by a horse if he didn't move—and quickly.

To add insult to injury, as he lay on the ground staring up at all that blue sky, he saw Destry Grant's red-and-white Cessna 182 fly over. He didn't have to see the woman behind the controls to know it was her plane. Hell, he could call up Destry Grant's face from memory with no trouble at all and did so with frustrating regularity even though he hadn't laid eyes on her in more than ten years.

In the past few weeks that he'd been home, he'd made a point of staying out of Destry's way. He told himself he wasn't ready to see her. But a part of him knew that was pure bull. He felt guilty and he should have. The last time they'd seen each other, he'd made her a promise he hadn't kept.

Not that anyone could blame him under the circumstances. Eleven years ago he'd left Beartooth, Montana, joined the rodeo and hadn't looked back. That is, until a few weeks ago when he'd grown tired of being on the road, riding one rodeo after another until they'd become a blur of all-night drives across country.

He had awakened one morning and realized there was only one place he wanted to be. Home. He'd loaded up his horse and saddle, hooked on to his horse trailer and headed for Montana. He'd yearned for familiar country, for the scent of pine coming off the fresh snow on top of the Crazy Mountains, for his family. And maybe for Destry, as foolish as that was.

He swore now as he listened to the plane circle the W Bar G, hating that Destry was so close and yet as beyond his reach as if she were on the moon. That hadn't been the case when they were kids, he thought with a groan. Back then he couldn't have been happier about the two of them growing up on neighboring ranches. They'd been best friends until they were seventeen and then they'd been a whole lot more.

"What the hell is wrong with you?"

Rylan blinked as he looked over on the corral fence to see his younger brother Jarrett glaring down at him. To his relief, he noticed that Jarrett had hold of the unbroken stallion's halter rope. The horse was snorting and stomping, kicking up dust, angry as an old wet hen. His brother looked just as mad.

"Nothin's wrong with me," Rylan said with a groan as he got to his feet. At least physically, that was.

"If Dad finds out that you tried to ride that horse…" Jarrett shook his head and glanced toward the sky and Destry's plane. His brother let out a curse as if everything was now suddenly crystal clear.

Rylan grabbed the reins from his brother, hoping Jar-rett had the good sense not to say anything about him trying to ride one of the wild horses their father had brought home from the Wyoming auction—or about Destry. If he and Jarrett had that particular discussion, more than likely one or both of them would end up with a black eye.

He knew how his family felt about the Grants. Hell, he felt the same way. Even after all these years, just thinking about what had happened still hurt too badly. Just as thinking about Destry did. But as hard as he tried to put her out of his mind, he couldn't do it.

"I just heard the news. It's all over town," his brother said as her plane disappeared from view.

Destry Grant banked the small plane along the east edge of the towering snow-capped Crazy Mountains and then leveled it out to fly low over the ranch.

It never failed to amaze her that everything from the mountains to the Yellowstone River was W Bar G Ranch. Say what you want about Waylon "WT" Grant—and God knew people did, she thought—but her father had built this ranch from nothing into what it was today.

She'd spent the past few days in Denver at a cattleman's association conference and was now anxious to get home. She was never truly comfortable until she felt Montana soil beneath her boots.

The ranch spread below her, a quilt of fall colors. Thousands of Black Angus cattle dotted the pastures now dried to the color of buckskin. Hay fields lay strewn with large golden bales stretching as far as the eye could see. At the edge of it all, the emerald green of the Yellowstone River wound its way through cot-tonwoods with leaves burnished copper in the late October air.

Destry took in the country as if breathing in pure oxygen—until she spotted the barns and corrals of the West Ranch in the distance. But not even the thought of Rylan West could spoil this beautiful day.

The big sky was wind-scoured pale blue with wisps of clouds coming off the jagged peaks of the Crazies, as the locals called the mountain range. Behind the rugged peaks, a dark bank of clouds boiled up with the promise of a storm before the day was over.

Just past a creek tangled with dogwood, choke-cherry and willows, the huge, rambling Grant ranch house came into view. Her father had built it on the top of a hill so he'd have a three-hundred-and-sixty-degree view of his land. Like the ranch, the house was large, sprawling and had cost a small fortune. WT scoffed at the ridicule the place had generated among the locals.

"What did WT think was going to happen?" one rancher had joked before he'd noticed Destry coming into the Branding Iron Cafe for a cup of coffee last spring. "You build on top of a knob without a windbreak, and every storm that comes in is going to nail you good."

She hadn't been surprised that word had spread about what happened up at WT's big house in January. During one of the worst storms last winter, several of the doors in the new house had blown open, piling snowdrifts in the house.

Even early settlers had known better than to build on a hilltop. They always set their houses down in a hollow and planted trees to form a windbreak to protect the house from Montana's unforgiving weather.

That was another reason she'd opted to stay in the hundred-year-old homestead house down the road from WT's "folly," as it'd become known.

She was about to buzz the house to let her father know she was back, when she spotted something odd. An open gate wouldn't have normally caught her attention. But this one wasn't used anymore. Which made it strange that the barbed-wire-and-post gate lay on the ground, and there were fresh tire tracks that led to the grove of dense trees directly behind the homestead house where she lived alone.

She frowned as she headed for the ranch airstrip, wondering why anyone would have reason to drive back there. As she prepared to land, she spotted a bright red sports car heading toward the ranch in the direction of WT's folly. In this part of the state, most everyone drove a truck. Or at least a four-wheel-drive SUV. The person driving the sports car had to be lost.

After leaving the plane at the hangar, Destry drove straight up to the main house in the ranch pickup. She pulled in as the dust was settling around the red sports car she'd seen from the air. As the driver shut off his engine, she saw her father roll his wheelchair down the ramp toward them.

WT had been a handsome, physically imposing man before his accident. Not even the wheelchair could diminish his formidable strength of will, even though he was now grayer and thinner. The accident hadn't improved his disposition, either, not that it had been all that great before the plane crash.

WT was a complicated man. That was the nice way people in the county explained her father. The rest didn't mince words. Nettie Benton at the Beartooth General Store called him the meanest man in Sweet-grass County.

Right now, though, WT looked more anxious than Destry had ever seen him. As he wheeled toward the car, Destry shifted her gaze to the man who had climbed out. For a moment she didn't recognize her own brother.

"Carson?" For eleven years, she'd wondered if she would ever see her big brother again. She ran to him, throwing herself into his arms. He chuckled as he hugged her tightly, then held her at arm's length to look at her.

"Wow, little sis, have you grown up," he said, making her laugh. She'd been seventeen when he'd left, newly graduated from high school and on her way to college that coming fall. She hated to think how young she'd been in so many ways. Or how much that tragic year was to change their lives. Seeing Carson on the ranch again brought it all back with sharp, breath-stealing pain for everything they'd lost.

Carson had filled out from the twenty-year-old college boy he'd been. His hair was still a lighter chestnut from her own. They both had gotten their hair color from their mother, she'd heard, although she'd never seen as much as a snapshot of Lila Gray Grant. Unable to bear looking at photographs of Lila, her father had destroyed them all after his wife's death.

Her brother's eyes were their father's clear blue, while her own were more faded like worn denim. It had always annoyed her that her brother had been spared the sprinkling of freckles that were scattered across her cheeks and nose. He used to tease her about them. She wondered if he remembered.

Around his blue eyes was a network of small wrinkles that hadn't been there eleven years ago and a sadness in his gaze she didn't recall. Like their father, he was strikingly handsome and always had been. But now he was tanned, muscled and looked like a man who'd been on a long vacation.

"What are you doing here? I mean—" She heard the crunch of her father's wheelchair tires on the concrete beside her and saw Carson brace himself to face their father. Some things hadn't changed.

"Carson," WT said and extended his hand.

Her brother gave a slight nod, his face expressionless as he reached down to shake his father's hand. WT pulled him closer and awkwardly put an arm around the son he hadn't seen in years.

For the first time in her life, Destry saw tears in their father's eyes. He hadn't cried at her mother's funeral, at least that's what she'd heard through the county grapevine.

"It's good to have you home, Carson," their father said, his voice hoarse with emotion.

Carson said nothing as his gaze shifted to Destry. In that instant, she saw that his coming back to Montana hadn't been voluntary.

Her heart dropped at what she saw in her brother's face. Fear.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 18, 2012

    Keeps you guessing!

    Unforgiven by B.J. Daniels
    4 STARS

    I was kept guessing right until the end. Unforgiven is a whodunit that happened 11 years ago. Everyone thought they knew who killed Ginny West.
    Destry Grant has stayed on the family ranch helping her father run it since he was in a plane accident and now in a wheelchair. Destry is not close to her father, he always sees his late wife when he looks at her.
    11 years ago when Ginny was murdered Destry had been making love in secret with Rylan West. She always felt guilty about that.
    Rylan West has come back home to work on his family ranch after years away rodeo riding. He wanted to get justice for his sister and believed Carson Grant killed her.
    Destry did not believe her brother was guilty of killing anybody let alone his girl friend Ginny. Destry and Rylan could not be together when they both had so very difference about Carson. Rylan threatened him when he tried to come to the funeral.
    Carson's father told him to leave the area 11 years ago. Now WT wants Carson home.
    WT has a lot of clout in the area especially the sheriff.
    Thier has been found new evidence and the state DA has made it clear that Carson Grant return to his hometown or a warrent will be issued right away.
    Carson came home is a sports car with his fiance. Carson wants his father to give him enough money to leave the country. His fiance is a showgirl from Las Vegas where he lived and worked.
    WT wants Carson to stay home and run the ranch. He has no doubt that nothing will happen to his son. But he wants Carson's girlfriend to go away. WT wants Carson to inhierted the ranch when he is gone.
    Carson owes a lot of money and plans to sell the ranch when he owns it someday.
    Rylan hears that Carson is home and he heads out to make him pay and runs into
    Destry on his way to the ranch. He still has feelings for her after all these years.
    Someone is watching Destry sneaking up to the old cabin she is living in. Destry thinks she can take care of herself.
    Thier was plenty of drama, suspenseful and romance.
    Destry is a very strong character, she works hard, Loves and trusts both her brother and Rylan. Willing to risk her life to protect others.
    I like reading B.J. Daniels book and will read more I am sure in the future.
    I was given this ebook to read in exchange of honest reviews from Netgalley.
    11/27/2012 PUB Harlequin Imprint HarlequinHQN 352 pages

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 17, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    4.5 Stars Reviewed by Guest Reviewer/Kimberly & posted at Un

    4.5 Stars
    Reviewed by Guest Reviewer/Kimberly & posted at Under the Covers Book Blog
    UNFORGIVEN is B.J. Daniels at her finest. ~Under the Covers

    Even eleven years after the murder of Ginny West, the town of Beartooth, Montana still reels from the unknown, especially when suspected murderer, Carson Grant, returns home. Carson and Ginny had been an item before her gruesome death and even though no evidence pointed directly to Carson, many in the small town believed he was getting away with murder. Carson’s sister Destry was his staunchest supporter. At the other end of the spectrum was Rylan West, Ginny’s brother and the love of Destry’s life, who believed completely that Carson was to blame for his sister’s death.

    Not being able to live in Beartooth any longer with constant reminders of Ginny and her demise, Rylan leaves town and stays away for all this time, returning shortly before Carson, who was sent away by his influential father WT. Throughout this entire time, Destry has been holding down the fort, so to speak. She has been practically running her father’s ranch , the W Bar G, even as WT dislikes the thought of Destry working the ranch. The two never saw eye to eye on that and many other matters and WT’s cool indifference for his 28 year old daughter has left an ache in Destry, who often wonders what she has done wrong.

    At Sheriff Frank Curry’s behest, Carson is back in town to answer some questions about the eleven year old cold case and arrives with a surprise fiancee, which angers his father, WT. Once word gets around that Carson is back, old animosities that were carefully hidden for the passed decade, rise once again to create turmoil in the otherwise quiet town.

    Separated after the murder, Rylan and Destry try to put aside their feelings for one another, as they both are still in love with the other, but that bone of contention called the murder of Ginny West, hangs overhead preventing the pair from finally being happy. Now with new evidence, Destry and Rylan attempt to sort out the facts of the murder and their relationship. Rylan still believes Carson is to blame but when said evidence says someone else is in the mix here, Rylan begins to doubt all himself and the belief that Carson is the murderer.

    UNFORGIVEN is B.J. Daniels at her finest. I used to read mystery ad suspense solely in the past, but virtually gave up on them when they all became so predictable. Guess what? I’m back! B.J. Daniels had my head spinning with suspects, second guessing myself constantly at who done it. In addition, Ms. Daniels has a way of giving you the inside on all the players in Beartooth and making you a part of its community. I felt right at home with her colorful cast of characters like the general store owner, Nettie, who is the town gossip. You either love Nettie or you want to smack her, which I would have liked to have done several times. We all know someone like her. Every little back story added to the whole and I cannot wait for more. I highly recommend UNFORGIVEN by B.J. Daniels. I loved it and think you will as well.

    Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N| AllRomanceEbooks

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2014

    Blackened

    (Ok.) *Blackened nods and pad there*

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2013

    B. J. Daniels rocks the reader world again!

    I have yet to read a book from this author that wasn't good. The first B. J. Daniels book that got me hooked was Crime Scene at Caldwell Ranch, which was a free nook book. Looked for other books that Daniels had written and bought a couple that sounded interesting. From there, I was hooked and have read every book I can find.

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    Posted February 25, 2013

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    Posted September 20, 2013

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    Posted February 7, 2013

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    Posted March 23, 2013

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