As a wildfire forces them together with an unknown killer, Levi and Kate must confront an attraction that flares hotter than flames. They edge closer to the truth, discovering that the secret that links their pasts could lead them straight into the killer's trap.
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You can't make peace with a ghost. Kate McCord knew this as fact.
It was one of those secrets of life that no one would tell you and you had to uncover for yourself, like discovering Santa Claus wasn't real. It stuck in Kate's craw, all the truths that nobody saw fit to share. She'd found out the hard way, and not until it was too late, that bankruptcy would not solve your problems, not all men cared if a woman orgasmed and croissantsthe real kind, not the ones sold in supermarketswere nearly a third butter.
And the memories of the people you loved and lost? Well, all they did was haunt.
It was dark in the servant stairwell. A sprawling, fluid darkness that seeped into cracks and corners, and right into Kate's skin. A dessert tray, heavy and ungainly, was balanced on her right hand. Her left hand pressed to the wall, holding her steady as she stood rooted on a stair somewhere between the first and second floors, at least ten steps in either direction to the nearest door. Too great a distance for a woman who was afraid of the dark.
She had no idea how long she'd been waiting for the power to be restored, but it had to have been well over five minutes, perhaps ten if the rising heat and stuffiness were any indication. The watch she wore had a light, but activating it would require her to set the tray down. Not only was the tray too large to balance on a step, but she also wasn't sure she could convince her body to move.
Her pulse pounded all the way to the tips of her fingers and toes. Any second now, Horace or Jared or one of the other ranch hands would get the generator fired up and she'd be safe.
Any second now.
Every so often, distant voices cut through the unbearable silence that had replaced the hum of the air-conditioning system. Footsteps clomped away, fading off. Nobody ventured onto the stairs. All that mattered to the waitstaff was restoring the Colton family to the level of comfort to which they were accustomed. Locating a stranded cook's assistant probably didn't cross anyone's mind.
It would've crossed Faye's mind. She had been Kate's closest friend at Dead River Ranch. In all of Wyoming, really. But Faye was gone, and now the kind old woman was yet another person Kate loved who'd died before their time, only to haunt the shadows of her mind. Another ethereal face in the darkness.
The note she'd hastily stuffed in her pocket crackled. On the tray, the glass dish of bread pudding quivered.
Steady, Kate. It's only a power outage.
Maybe if she kept her focus on the pudding, she would survive this ordeal with her sanity intact. She'd spent hours on that dessert, baking the challah loaves, preparing the custard and whiskey sauce. It was a sumptuous creation topped by a pillow of fresh whipped cream. Mr. Colton's favorite sweet, if his frequent requests were any indication.
A boom of great force sounded from nearby. A door slamming or something hitting a wall. A tree falling, perhaps. Fierce windstorms were most likely to blame for the power outage. They'd plagued western Wyoming for more than a week, beating on the ranch house and surrounding wilderness, unrelenting. Sinister.
Another hard truth Kate had discovered for herself was that Mother Nature was the greatest devil of all, an unremorseful murderer. Every time the weather turned nasty, the faces of William and baby Oliveand now Fayehovered in her mind.
She'd felt so safe at Dead River Ranch, where busy servants and the lazy, entitled family left the lights burning all day and night. The kitchen was her cocoon. A warm, bright, safe place to call home. Until last month.
Murdered by the devil's lackey, a hired gun who'd been caught and locked away, though the mastermind behind the murder was still at large. The writer of the note in Kate's pocket. Someone who, she dreaded, remained on the ranch. Maybe someone she spoke to every day or whom she'd helped prepare meals for. Without money or anywhere else to go, her only two choices were to carry on with her job, hoping that law enforcement levied justice onto the devil behind Faye's death before more harm was done, or take matters into her own hands and do what she could to help the investigation.
The note was a testament to her efforts, not that anything had come of the stolen evidence. She'd nearly been caught red-handed tonight in the pantry by Fiona and she could well imagine the repercussions of being caught with evidence she had no business possessing.
On one of the two floors above her, the stairwell door opened with a bang that made Kate gasp. The tray tilted perilously. She felt the shift of weight as the dish of pudding slid, the teacup, too.
Her gasp turned into a cry of panic as she bent her knees and crooked her elbows, willing the tray to level. No, no, no. Not the pudding.
But her correction was too severe, as she overcom-pensated for her first error. The tray lightened as the entirety of the contents crashed to the stairs in an explosion of shattering glass and clanging silver.
She squeezed her eyes closed and hugged the tray flat against her chest.
Agnes was going to be furious. Delivering dessert to Mr. Colton's sickbed was supposed to be the final task of her sixteen-hour workday. Fiona had asked the favor of her on the sly since they hadn't secured Agnes's permission. Kate wouldn't put it past the bitter-tempered head chef to demand Kate's dismissal, as she'd threatened to do almost daily since Kate took the assistant-cook job four years earlier.
The flicker of a moving flashlight accompanied hushed footsteps on the stairs above. Someone was moving through the dark in her direction. Wordlessly.
A savior or the devil?
Surrounded as she was by broken glass, she wouldn't have been able to move even if she could've convinced her feet to unstick from the ground. Even if she were able to decide if she should climb toward the person whose footsteps were getting louder and closer, or if she should run away.
"Hello?" she whispered.
She shuffled her feet backward, unintentionally kicking glass shards with her heels. With a tinkling sound, they tumbled down a step.
Light, either from a candle or flashlight, came into view on the stairs above her. Another door opened, this time from the ground floor, and with the new arrival, more glowing light. The descending footsteps grew louder, the wobbling light brighter.
Kate held her breath, too terrified to move. Damn the darkness, and damn her crippling fear.
With a crack of surging electricity, the lights came on. Kate's relief was tempered by the sight on the landing above her of Mathilda holding a flashlight, her expression as severe as her black, high-collared dress. She held her lips in a pucker that drew attention to the numerous little wrinkles on her upper lip. "What on earth," she said with slow precision.
Strict but fair on the staff under her command, Mathilda had earned her position in the household through decades of devoted service. She ranked above every other member of the staff, yet the glass ceiling between her and the family was ever-present. Kate didn't envy her the loneliness of the position.
A rattle of dishes behind Kate preceded Agnes's grating voice. "Oh, Kate. What in the name of all things holy did you do, child?"
Kate bit her tongue against a retort. A child, she was not. A penniless widow, grieving mother and pastry chef, yes, but not a child. Not for a long time.
Twisting on the spot, she glanced at the dessert tray in Agnes's hands before fixing her gaze on the round woman's spiky, persimmon-red hair. "When the power went out, I slipped and the tray fell. There was nothing I could do."
A lie, but a necessary one. She had never dared confess her fear of the dark to anyone but dear, sweet Faye, and she certainly wasn't going to spill her soul for the Dragon Ladythe whispered nickname some of the staff used for Agnes. Kate didn't have much to call her own anymore, but she still had her pride.
Without a word, Kate knelt and loaded the wreckage onto her tray.
"Look what you've done," Agnes scolded. "What a disaster." With every word, Agnes's voice climbed in both decibel and register. "Careless, is what you are. And where is Fiona?"
Kate opened her mouth, but spotted the note near Mathilda's shoe. It must have fallen out of her pocket when the tray tipped. She reached for it but Mathilda was quicker.
Her heart dropped to her stomach at the sight of Mathilda unfolding the paper.
"Is this what I think it is?" Mathilda asked. Her eyes darted as she read. "How did you ?"
On pure instinct, Kate reached for the paper, but Mathilda lifted it out of arm's reach.
"She looks guilty. What is it?" Agnes asked.
Mathilda looked over Kate's head at Agnes. "It appears to be a copy of the kidnapping-for-hire note from when Mr. Garth's daughter was taken." Returning her focus to Kate, she added, "Where did you get this?"
There was no good answer that excused her misconduct, or at least Kate wasn't clever enough to come up with one on the spot.
The real answer was that she'd brought a tray of sticky buns to the Dead Police Department under the ruse that it was a thank-you from the Colton family. While the officers indulged, Kate rifled through the police file. Then while they washed the sticky syrup from their hands, she'd made a copy. She had no intention of revealing the truth, however. "I can't tell you that, but I swear I didn't mean any harm with it. I thought maybe I'd see something in the note to help the police. Faye was only trying to save a baby from a kidnapper and she died for it. She deserves justice for what happened to her."
"Of course she does, dear. She was a darling woman and we all miss her terribly. I'm sure the police are doing all they can. The Coltons are working closely with them, as am I. There is no need to put yourself at risk unnecessarily." She returned the letter to Kate. "My advicedestroy this before it gets you into trouble."
"Yes, ma'am." She folded the paper and returned it to her pocket.
"Why do you also have a tray, Agnes?" Mathilda's tone was placating.
"Mr. Colton buzzed. He hadn't received his dessert yet and was in quite a state. That Fiona is a lazy one. Makes us all look bad. She probably would've stolen away to eat the sweets herself. Takes advantage, that girl. And you" She leveled a sneer at Kate. "I have half a mind to fire you both."
Kate set the last manageable shard on the tray and straightened. The remaining debris would require the use of a broom. There was no use defending herself during one of Agnes's tirades. The best course of action was to wait it out in stoic silence.
Mathilda's expression cracked into a smile that didn't quite reach her vibrant blue eyes. "Now, Agnes. It's not the poor girl's fault that the wind knocked a tree onto the power lines."
So she was a poor girl now, as if she was twelve instead of twenty-seven. Kate kicked a tiny shard of teacup with a bit too much oomph.
Glancing at the disturbance, Mathilda continued. "I'm certain there is a perfectly reasonable explanation as to why Kate is doing the task you specifically assigned to Fiona. Isn't that right, Kate?"
"Yes, ma'am. Fiona isn't feeling well tonight, with the new baby on the way, and I offered to help so she could get off her feet."
"That's kind of you."
"Oh, now, Mathilda, you're being too easy on her," Agnes objected. She wagged a finger at Kate. "You know good and well that we can't have the likes of you parading in front of the family in your stained chef smock and" she flicked a grimace at Kate's neck, where Kate could feel the wisps of hair at her nape sticking to her perspiring skin "common sweat."
There would be no use in pointing out that she was wearing a jacket, not a smockand a pristine one at thator that the air-conditioning unit had shut off along with the lights and Kate was perspiring because she'd been standing in an unventilated shaft for nearly ten minutes.
"And you decided, all on your own," Agnes continued, "that you're good enough to serve not just any Colton, but the head of the household?" She hunched her arms around the fresh tray she'd brought with her, holding it as if Kate's lowly station might taint the precious dish of bread pudding sitting atop it.
This new pudding was from the same batch as the ruined one, but without the whipped cream and whiskey sauce. Agnes had forgotten to add them. Kate squelched a sniff of shock.
From everything Kate knew about Jethro Colton's long list of sins, it was he who wasn't fit to lick her chef clogs, not the other way around. And anyhow, Agnes might think Kate too beneath Mr. Colton's station to serve him like a proper maid, but she would never, ever, present him with an incomplete dessert.
She summoned the remnants of her composure. "I thought, with it being so late and with the ranch short on staff, it wouldn't be so bad for me to step in."
Agnes threw an arm up in dramatic disgust. "Wouldn't be so bad? In the name of all things holy, she'll get us all canned."
"Agnes," Mathilda soothed, "of course Kate's face is flushed from working in the heat of the kitchen." She set a supportive hand on Kate's shoulder. "But am I noticing correctly that you changed into a clean smock, dear?"
"A clean jacket, yes, ma'am." Kate's face heated. She loathed being talked down to day in and day out by these women who controlled the flow of life and information at Dead River Ranch. But with no money or family she could turn to, this job was all she had. At least it came with a well-stocked kitchen to work in and a house of people hungry for sweets.
"As you so astutely pointed out, there's no time to waste," Mathilda said to Agnes. "If Mr. Colton doesn't get his dessert in short order, we'll all pay the price for the delay. There's no sense in you traipsing up two flights of stairs to Mr. Colton's quarters, not after the scrumptious meals you slaved all day to prepare." Agnes swelled up like a toad at the saccharine compliment. "Allow Kate to do the work."
Well, gee. Thanks. She mashed her lips together and thought about cheesecake. Plain, with a single fresh strawberry sliced on top.
"It would serve you right, Miss High and Mighty. You might as well take over serving Mr. Colton all his meals. If anyone can teach you a lesson about keeping to your rightful place in this house, it would be Jethro Colton."
Mathilda interrupted with a reproachful tsk. "Mind your tone. He's Mr. Colton to you."
Agnes's glare cut past Kate and narrowed on Mathilda. "As if you don't know what he's like."
A chorus of chimes, low but distinctive, came through the open ground-level door.
Mathilda gazed at the door, her lips pursed. "What in the world would someone be thinking, intruding on the family at such a late hour?"
"You're not expecting anyone?" Agnes asked.
"Of course not. Mr. Colton needs his rest. I'm afraid our late-night visitor is going to be sorely disappointed. Excuse me." Holding her long, black skirt out of the way of the spill, Mathilda sidestepped around Agnes's ample form and strode with neat, stiff steps down the stairs and through the door.
"I think I'd like to see who it is myself." Agnes shoved the dessert tray into Kate's hands. "Go on, now, and hurry up. You think you're too good for kitchen work? Fine. From this point forward, Mr. Colton's meals are your responsibility. Maybe he'll have more mercy on you than he does on the rest of us."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Levi and Kate both have experienced very deep pain in their lives. They find each other at Dead River Ranch, but both have to give themselves permission to feel and love again. This was the first book I read in this series. I chose it because I love Melissa Cutler's writing style. I like that Ms. Cutler allows her alpha males to have emotions. Not only do they protect those they love, but they aren't afraid to cry or feel. I enjoyed this book...however...a felt things moved too fast near the ending. The plot was building and building, then suddenly it was over. I almost felt like the ending was rushed and I was left wanting a little more. It was still worth the time to read and I do recommend it.
4 STARS The one thing about a series of books that I don't answer all the mystery in one books and you have to wait for the next book to give you more answers. I was not ready for the story to end I wanted more. I like Levi, he is strong, caring and willing to forgive a lifetime of bad treatment. This book should have a warning, full of yummy deserts make you just gain weight by reading about Kate the pastry chef at the Dead river ranch. She puts up with a lot so she can pay her debts before she can move onto a better job. She works early in the morning till late. She has had a lot of trials in her life. Kate is also looking into the death of her friend who tried to stop a kidnapper. People find out she is looking for answers and warn her to stop, let the police look into it. Dr. Levi Colton was asked by his half sisters to come to Dead River Ranch that their father was dying and refused any treatments. His father is rich and never acknowledged him but he did pay child support. Everyone else is scared of him. He refused them and then decided to just drive to Wyoming to the ranch to prove he is not like his father. lots of drama, danger but lots of witty dialogue early morning while they are the only two awake at the big ranch while Kate is baking bread or another desert. One love scene that I skimmed over. Also a wildfire is coming close to the ranch. This is the second book of Melissa's that I have read and enjoyed. I look forward to reading more of her books. I was given this ebook to read and asked to give honest review of it by Netgalley. publication: August 6th 2013 by Harlequin Suspicion 288 pages ISBN:0373278349
An entertaining read if you like Harlequin Romantic Suspense. I had read some other Colton family books and wanted to finish the series.
An unsolved murder haunts those who live and work at Dead River Ranch. When called to care for the ailing Colton patriarch, Dr. Levi Colton must face the father who never claimed him. He's not looking for distraction, but he finds it in Kate McCord, the irresistible pastry chef. Beneath her sweet smile are scars from her own tragedy—and a determination for justice. As a wildfire forces them together with an unknown killer, Levi and Kate must confront an attraction that flares hotter than flames. They edge closer to the truth, discovering that the secret that links their pasts could lead them straight into the killer's trap. This was a great read that had everything. It had murder and mystery and even passion along with baking. When Levi showed up to take care of a father that never claimed him. he never thought he would end up falling in love with the pastry chef. When secrets are finally revealed about the car wreck that killed Kate’s husband and child; Kate and Levi’s worlds are torn apart. Will their love be strong enough to survive the fall out?
A killer is loose at Dead River Ranch and a wild fire is threatening to destroy everything in it's path. Kate is a pastry chef at the ranch and no one knows the tragedy from her past. Levi comes to the ranch to help care for his dying father. He falls for Kate in a way he never has before. But, Kate has a plan of her own, to get out of debt after the loss of bakery. She doesn't want to get involved with anyone. She is infatuated by finding out who killed her coworker at the ranch which leads her into danger. As circumstances change, Kate and Levi are brought closer together. Can they put their tragic pasts behind them and find love? Can they solve the murder mystery? Or, will the fire come along and take away every clue? This was a fast paced, exciting read and I found myself reading late into the night just to find out what happens next.
Another fantastic book from Melissa Cutler!!! Levi has lived his entire life with being Jethro Colton’s bastard son. Despite being raised by a drug addicted mother and his father not claiming him or ever contributing financially, he has worked hard to become a doctor and is proud of accomplishing it entirely on his own. He doesn’t want anything from the man who has never wanted him. One of his half sisters shows up begging for him to help his father who is dying from leukemia and who is refusing all medical treatment. He travels back to the one place he’s never wanted to go so that he can find some closure; this may be his only chance to get the answers he wants and to finally be done with Jethro Colton. Upon arriving at the ranch, Levi immediately goes to his father’s room and takes him on right away; he doesn’t back down from Jethro’s contrariness and is determined to uphold his oath as a doctor. Kate, the Colton’s pastry chef, is serving Jethro his dessert when Levi goes to his father’s room. He is immediately smitten with Kate. Kate has lost her bakery business, leaving her with a ton of debt. Her husband and unborn child were killed in a horrible car accident and until now she has closed herself off from becoming involved with anyone because she doesn’t think she can deal with the pain of losing anyone close to her again. Faye, who was like a mother to her, was the one person at the ranch that she let get close to her. She was murdered at the ranch in a botched baby kidnapping. The murder has gone unsolved. Kate won’t give up trying to discover who killed her even though her life may be in danger; there is someone close who will do whatever it takes for secrets to be kept hidden and the murder to remain unsolved. It doesn’t take long for Kate to give in to her desire for Levi but she still tries to keep her emotions locked away. As bond begins to grow between the family members, a wild fire is moving closer, a kidnapper is still at large and tragic events from their past are overwhelming for both Levi and Kate. The mixture of family turmoil, mystery and romance made this book a fantastic read for me. I can’t wait to for Melissa Cutler’s next book.
“Colton by Blood” by Melissa Cutler This book includes drama, passion, betrayal and romance throughout the entire story. Dr. Levi Colton the son Jethro always stated was not his child has come home. He comes to the ranch to get Jethro to take treatment so he can live. After meeting the pastry chef Kate McCord who makes the very best desserts he is smitten. Kate tries to fight the attraction as accidents around the ranch happen. Kate has had a hard few years and a secret the Levi does not know he is holding about one night could rip them apart if it comes out. Will Kate and Levi figure out the secret that ties them both together and be able to move past it? Will Kate survive the killer’s attempts on her life? You can feel the chemistry between the two throughout the book.
This is Book 2 in the Colton's of Wyoming series, part of Harlequin's Romantic Suspense line. This was an awesome book, loved it! I've read lots of reviews on Melissa's books and the one thing I see over and over is how well written her stories are and I absolutely agree!! Levi and Kate are the perfect couple with amazing chemistry. I absolutely loved following along with their journey throughout this book! Although it is a suspense for me it was first and foremost a love story! Once I started reading I didn't stop until I finished the book!!
This book was a Delightfully Delicious Read!This was Book 2 in a new series about the Colton's of Wyoming in Harlequin's Romantic Suspense line. I am fast becoming a fan of the RS, something I never thought would happen. CBB centers around Levi, the illegitimate son of the Patriarch of the Colton clan, he is now a doctor and is summoned by his half-sister to help his dying father. There is also a mystery surrounding a murder and botched kidnapping, which he tries to help solve indirectly because of the beautiful pastry chef,Kate and her need to bring justice for her friend's murder. Levi and Kate each have a secret that is connected and could ruin their budding relationship. Even though parts of the book were predictable, Cutler does a nice job of still throwing a few surprises in. Cutler descriptions of all the yummy desserts used in the book had me craving whatever they were having. I swear I gained 5 pounds reading this book, but is was so worth it! Cutler is fast becoming an auto-buy author!
Cutler ended up in the unenviable position of second. The basic ground-work was already in place making her job of moving the story forward, but not moving it too far an interesting challenge. As always, Cutler is up to the job. Her book was well-crafted and brings new clues to the table for those readers playing along at home. The HEA is self-contained and comes to a logical for now conclusion. I genuinely liked Levi and Kate and nothing about their story felt forced. There is a minor mystery that is easily solved and most readers will see coming early in the book. The overarching story does leave several loose ends. There seem to be lots of nefarious goings on at the Colton Ranch, but I think the big mystery is what happened to the Colton heir that was kidnapped when he was a baby. However, with the number of threads being woven together that could end up being a minor mystery also. So far that is part of the fun of this series: no one has spelled out specifically the overarching plot. That leaves me as a reader to discover as the characters do. There is a murder at the very end of the book that is left unsolved. While the victim is a minor character that I really didn’t like by the end, I still want to know whodunit. Based on these two books, I’m sure I will eventually learn the answer; though I would very much prefer that it happen sooner rather than later.
~Reviewed by ANGELA & posted at Under the Covers Book Blog Colton Blood is part two of a six book series by Harlequin called Coltons in Wyoming. I have to say that usually, I do not read out of order. Being that Ms. Cutler wrote this installment, I just had to take the plunge. I’m glad I did because it was a great read. Colton Blood has a good murder mystery, plenty romantic and sexy with a dash of foodie. Levi is not Ms. Cutler’s typical hero. Gone is the rich and dangerous hero, and here comes the “good doctor”. He is kind, honorable and sweet but still every bit a sexy hero. Don’t let the good boy persona fool you though, he is also as protective , and he has a dark side to him. After so many years of being away from his home town, Levi comes back to help with his estranged biological father with his illness. Why would he even give the man who wouldn’t claim him as his own? Well, like I said, he’s a good guy. There, he meets Kate who is the pastry chef in the Colton house hold. She had lost loved ones recently , and she is trying to pay off some major debts. I think she’s cute and sweet. I love that Kate paid attention to detail especially with her pastries. But what I love most about her character, and I guess this goes for Levi as well, is that they are survivors. Despite the difficulties life has given them, they had stayed strong. They didn’t dab on stupid decisions or actions they would regret later, like I said…strong. I love that they were hot for each other and just went with it. No angst or third party, just two consenting adults who wants to try things out. Ms. Cutler did a great job pairing them up The conflict of this story is the murder mystery and family drama. There have been murders, threats and a kidnapped baby that was never found. It was fun trying to decipher the scenes and characters to guess whom the perpetrator is. This book is a stand alone, and you do get a happy ending for this couple however, there is an unsolved mystery. I’m assuming readers will find out by the last installment of the series which I will most likely read so I can find out “whodunit”. *ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Colton By Blood brings together the characters of Kate McCord and Levi Colton. Kate is a hardworking pastry chef working for the rich Colton's of Dead River Ranch. Levi is the unclaimed illegitimate son of Jethro Colton, he's also a doctor. Both Kate and Levi are dealing with tragedies of the past and both have come to the Ranch to heal and move on in one way or another. I love Kate's silent tho resilient strength. I love how passionate she is about her baking. I can identify with her somewhat as I have used baking as a stress reliever myself, so I can see how it soothes her. Kate truly has a heart of gold, even though she's suffered horribly, she wants happiness for others and justice for those who deserve it. Levi is one tough nut to crack, he's gone his entire life knowing who his family is, yet never being a part of said family. And since his mother's death, he's alone. But he still finds the nerve to come to his father's home to assist as he's dying. It takes a real will of steel to put up with Jethro Colton, but Levi doesn't let him steam roll over him from the get go. As Levi helps his father, and his sisters in turn, he gets to know more about himself and his family. He also gets to know Kate and in doing so falls for her hard and fast. It takes a little convincing on Kate's part however, as she is determined to keep her job by not giving in at first. It was fun to watch Levi break down Kate's walls while we got to see some of his crumble as well. Then we get a little shock as we find out just how closely intertwined Kate and Levi are and watch as love overcomes the surprising revelation. Colton by Blood is a first and foremost a love story. It is also, a continuation of a set of suspense stories. While this is the second book of the series, it is the first I have read and I feel it can totally be read as a stand alone. This book builds more onto the mystery of the series while also focusing on the love story of Kate and Levi. So while Kate and Levi's story does end with this book, you do not solve the "mysteries" of the entire series. (which means I'll have to read the rest, of course) Cutler does an amazing job of keeping up the suspense while penning a believable love story that is both heartbreaking and moving.
Colton by Blood - Mystery and Desserts Kate McCord a pastry chef on the Dead River Ranch falls for the handsome Dr. Levi Colton. They share their deepest darkest secrets and they also share their love of dessert. The way Melissa Cutler describes desserts is luscious but also down right sinful with words like: “…taste of vanilla, sugar and egg on his tongue, his eyes rolled up and he moaned.” Or “Sweet and lemony and soft…better than crème brulee, and more wicked than peaches.” Yummy in more ways than one! Kate McCord has lost everything… family, home, and business. However, Kate doesn’t let that get her down, she is determined, independent, and takes risks that put her very life in danger. Melissa Cutler describes Kate in a way that is believable and touching. The book made me cry, want to give Kate a hug, and cheer her on all at the same time. Dr. Levi Colton has come home to take care of his dying biological uncaring father Jethro. Dr. Levi Colton is driven to make a change in his life because of his low economical background. When asked to come home to take care of Jethro, it is hard emotionally for Levi to return. The sexy Dr. Levi Colton is the yummy and falls hard for Kate and her pastry. It is no wonder everyone is in love with the hansome Doctor. The annoying and rude at times Jethro is the head of the house and has everyone scared and running around doing his bidding. However, to be honest the cantankerous Jethro is my favorite character, he reminds me of my 95 year old Uncle. Who doesn’t love grouchy old men! The mystery of the unknown killer leaves you guessing and fearful for all the characters in the book. It made me nervous as Kate and Levi try to solve all the deep dark secrets of the past. I couldn’t put the book down as they discover more and more about the past!
Sometimes bad things happen to good people...... Dr. Levi Colton has lived his life having to deal with a father who would never acknowledge his as his son. Raised by a drug addicted mother he had to struggle, but having lived a hard life it made him determined to help others. That's why he became a doctor. He thought he was over his father's betrayal until one of his half-sisters comes to him asking for his help. Their father is dying and she is hoping he will come back to the ranch to take care of him. Levi figures this maybe his only chance at getting the answers he's always wanted and be done wtih the Colton name. Kate McCord has had her share of grief, losing a husband and baby. On top of that she lost her bakery shop and had to file for bankruptcy. She's working for the Colton's now trying to get beyond her debt and start a new future. When Levi shows up feelings she thought were long gone start to reappear. Levi and Kate have to come to terms with past in order to build a future. Great story about family whether you want to acknowledge them or forget them to go on with your life. The ups, downs and drama of seeing where you come from and who you have become. On Dead River Ranch there is plenty of excitement with wildfires threatening, a killer on the loose and family who have to finally learn what's most important. Received an ARC for an honest review. Melissa is a talented writer who keeps you riveted to the story. Highly recommend you read this book and the others she has published. You will find you found a new author to admire