From New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas comes the first book in a compelling, emotionally resonant series set in a remote west Texas townwhere family can be made by blood or by choice
Rancher Staten Kirkland, the last descendant of Ransom Canyon's founding father, is rugged and practical to the last. No one knows that when his troubling memories threaten to overwhelm him, he runs to lovely, reclusive Quinn O'Grady or that she has her own secret that no one living knows.
Young Lucas Reyes has his eye on the prizecollege, and the chance to become something more than a ranch hand's son. But one night, one wrong decision, will set his life on a course even he hadn't imagined.
Yancy Grey is running hard from his troubled past. He doesn't plan to stick around Ransom Canyon, just long enough to learn the town's weaknesses and how to use them for personal gain. Only Yancy, a common criminal since he was old enough to reach a car's pedals, isn't prepared for what he encounters.
In this dramatic new series, the lives, loves and ambitions of four families will converge, set against a landscape that can be as unforgiving as it is beautiful, where passion, property and pride are worth fightingand even dyingfor.
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Staten Kirkland lowered the brim of his felt Resisted as he turned into the wind. The hat was about to live up to its name. Hell was blowing down from the north, and he would have to ride hard to make it back to headquarters before the full fury of the storm broke. His new mount, a roan he'd bought last week, was green and spooked by the winter lightning. Staten had no time to put on the gloves in his back pocket. He had to ride.
When the mare bucked in protest, he twisted the reins around his hand and felt the cut of leather across his palm as he fought for control of both his horse and the memories threatening as low as the dark clouds above his head.
Icy rain had poured that night five years ago, only he hadn't been on his ranch; he'd been trapped in the hallway of the county hospital fifty miles away. His son had lain at one end, fighting for his life, and reporters had huddled just beyond the entrance at the other end, hollering for news.
All they'd cared about was that the kid's grandfather was a United States senator. No one had cared that Staten, the boy's father and only parent, held them back. All they'd wanted was a headline. All Staten had wanted was for his son to live.
But, he didn't get what he wanted.
Randall, only child of Staten Kirkland, only grandchild of Senator Samuel Kirkland, had died that night. The reporters had gotten their headline, complete with pictures of Staten storming through the double doors, swinging at every man who tried to stop him. He'd left two reporters and a clueless intern on the floor, but he hadn't slowed.
He'd run into the storm that night not caring about the rain. Not caring about his own life. Two years before he'd buried his wife, and now he would put his son in the ground beside her because of a car crash. He'd had to run from the ache so deep in his heart it would never heal.
Now, five years later, another storm was blowing through, but the ache inside him hadn't lessened. He rode toward headquarters on the half-wild horse. Rain mixed with tears he never let anyone see. He'd wanted to die that night. He had no one. His wife's illness had left both father and son bitter, lost. If she'd lived, maybe Randall would have been different. Calmer. Maybe if he'd had her love, the boy wouldn't have been so wild. He wouldn't have thought himself so invincible.
Only, taking a winding road at over a hundred miles per hour had killed him. The car his grandfather had given him for his sixteenth birthday a month earlier had missed the curve heading into Ransom Canyon and rolled over and over. The newspapers had quoted one first responder as saying, "Thank God he 'd been alone. No one in that sports car would have survived."
Staten wished he'd been with his boy. He'd felt dead inside the day he buried Randall next to his wife, and he felt dead now as memories pounded.
He rode close to the canyon rim as the storm raged, almost wishing the jagged earth would claim him, too. But, he was fifth generation born to this land. There would be no more Kirklands after him, and he wouldn't go without a fight.
As he raced, he remembered the horror of seeing his son pulled out of the wreck, too beat up and bloody for even a father to recognize. Kirkland blood had poured over the red dirt of the canyon that night.
He rode feeling the pounding of his horse's hooves match the beat of his heart.
When Staten crossed under the Double K gate and let the horse gallop to the barn, he took a deep breath, knowing what he had to do.
Looking up, he saw Jake there at the barn door waiting for him. The rodeo had crippled the old man, but Jake Longbow was still the best hand on the ranch.
"Dry him off!" Staten yelled above the storm as he handed over the mare to Jake's care. "I have to go."
The old cowboy, his face like twisted rawhide, nodded once as if he knew what Staten would say. A thousand times over the years, Jake had moved into action before Staten issued the order. "I got this, Mr. Kirkland. You do what you got to do."
Darting across the back corral, Staten climbed into the huge Dodge 3500 with its Cummins diesel engine and four-wheel drive. The truck might guzzle gas and ride rough, but if he slid off the road tonight, it wouldn't roll.
Half an hour later he finally slowed as he turned into a farm twenty miles north of Crossroads, Texas. A sign, in need of painting and with a few bullet holes in it, read simply "Lavender Lane." Even in the rain the air here smelled of lavender. He'd made it to Quinn's place. One house, one farm, sat alone with nothing near enough to call a neighbor.
Quinn O'Grady's home always reminded him of a little girl's fancy dollhouse: brightly painted shutters and gingerbread trim everywhere. Folks sometimes commented on how the house was as fancy as the woman who owned it was plain, but Staten had never thought of her that way. She was shy, had kept to herself even in grade school, but she was her own woman. She'd built a living out of the worthless land her parents had left her.
He might have gone his whole life saying no more than hello to her, but Quinn O'Grady had been his wife's best friend. Even after he'd married Amalah, she'd still have her "girls' days" with Quinn.
They'd can peaches in the fall and take courses at the church on quilting and pottery. They'd take off to Dallas for an art show or to Canton for the world's biggest garage sale. He couldn't count the times his wife had climbed into Quinn's old green pickup and simply called out that they were going shopping as if that were all he needed to know. Half the time they didn't come back with anything but ice-cream-sundae smiles.
Quinn hadn't talked to him much in those early years, but she'd been a good friend to his wife, and that mattered. Near the end, she'd sat with Amalah in the hospital so he could go home to shower and change clothes. That last month, it seemed she was always near. The two women had been best friends all their lives, and they would be to the end.
Staten didn't smile as he cut the engine in front of Quinn O'Grady's house. He never smiled. Not anymore. For years he'd worked hard thinking he'd be passing on the Double K to his son. Now, if Staten died, the ranch would probably be sold at auction to help support his father's run for the senate or, who knows, the old guy might run for governor next time. Even though Samuel Kirkland was in his sixties, his fourth wife was keeping him young, he claimed. He'd never had much interest in the ranch and hadn't spent a night on Kirkland soil since Staten had taken over the place.
Quinn caught Staten's attention as she opened her door and stared out at him. She had a big towel in one hand as she leaned against the door frame and waited for him to climb out of the truck and come inside. She was tall, almost six feet, and ordinary in her simple clothes. He couldn't imagine Quinn in heels or her hair fixed any way except the long braid she always wore down the center of her back. She'd worn jeans since she started school; only, there had been two braids trailing down her back then.
Funny, Staten thought as he climbed out and tried to outrun the rain, a woman who wants nothing to do with frills or lace lives in a dollhouse.
After he reached the porch and shook like a big dog, she handed him the towel. "When I saw the storm moving in, I figured you'd be coming. Tug off those muddy boots while I dip up some soup for supper. I made taco soup when I saw the clouds rolling in from the north."
No one ordered any Kirkland around. No one. Only here, in her house, he did what she asked. He might never have another drop of love in him, but he'd still respect Quinn.
His spurs jingled as his boots hit the porch. In his stocking feet he stood only a few inches taller than her, but with his broad shoulders he guessed he probably doubled her in weight. "Any chance the clouds made you think of coconut pie?"
She laughed softly. "It's in the oven. Be out in a minute."
They watched the stormy afternoon turn into evening, with lightning putting on a show outside her kitchen window. He liked how he felt comfortable being silent around her. They sometimes talked about Amalah and the funny things that had happened when they were growing up. He felt as if he and Quinn were the leftovers, for the best of them had both died with Amalah.
Only, tonight his thoughts were on his son, and Staten didn't really want to talk at all. As the sun set, the temperature dropped, and the icy rain turned to a dusting of soft mushy snow while they ate in silence.
When he reached for his dishes and started to stand, she stopped him with a touch on his damp sleeve. "I'll do that," she said. "Finish your coffee."
He sat quiet and still for a few minutes, thinking how this place of hers seemed to slow his heart and make it easier to breathe. He finally left the table and silently moved to stand behind her as she worked at the sink. With rough hands scabbed over in places where the reins had cut, he began to untie her braid.
"I did this once when we were in third grade. I remember you didn't say a word, but Amalah called me an idiot after school."
Quinn nodded but didn't speak. Shared memories settled comfortably between them.
He liked the way Quinn's sunshine hair felt, even now. It was thick and hung down straight except for the slight waves left by the braid.
She turned and frowned up at him as she took his hand. Without asking questions she pulled his injured palm under running water and then patted it dry. When she rubbed lotion over his hand, it felt more like a caress than doctoring.
He was so close behind her their bodies brushed as she worked. Leaning down, he tickled her neck with a light kiss. "Play for me tonight," he whispered.
Turning toward the old piano across the open living area, she shook her head. "I can't."
He didn't question or try to change her mind. He never did. Sometimes, she'd play for him, other times something deep inside her wouldn't let her.
Without a word, she tugged him to the only bedroom, turning off lights as they moved through the house.
For a while he stood at the doorway, watching her remove her plain work clothes: worn jeans, a faded plaid shirt that probably belonged to her father years ago and a T-shirt that hugged her slender frame. As piece by piece fell, pale white skin glowed in the low light of her nightstand.
When he didn't move, she turned toward him. Her breasts were small, her body lean, her tummy flat from never bearing a child. All she wore was a pair of red panties.
"Finish undressing me," she whispered, then waited.
He walked toward her, knowing that he wouldn't have moved if she hadn't invited him. Maybe it was just a game they played, or maybe they'd silently agreed on unwritten rules when they'd begun. He couldn't remember.
Pulling her against him, he just held her for a long time. Somehow on that worst night of his life five years ago, he'd knocked at her door. He'd been muddy, grieving and lost to himself.
She hadn't said a word. She'd just taken his hand. He'd let her pull off his muddy clothes and clean him up while he tried to think of a way to stop breathing and die. She'd tucked him into her bed and then climbed in with him, holding him until he finally fell asleep. He hadn't said a word, either, guessing that she'd heard the news reports of the crash. Knowing by the sorrow in her light blue eyes that she shared his grief.
A thousand feelings had careened through his mind that night, all dark, but she'd held on to him. He remembered thinking that if she had tried to comfort him with words, even a few, he would have shattered into a million pieces.
Just before dawn, he remembered waking and turning to her. She'd welcomed him, not as a lover, but as a friend silently letting him know it was all right to touch her. All right to hold on.
In the five years since, they'd had long talks, sometimes when he sought her out. They'd had stormy nights when they didn't talk at all. He always made love to her with a gentle touch, never hurried, always with more caring and less passion than he would have liked. Somehow, it felt right that way.
She wasn't interested in going out on a date or meeting him anywhere. She never called or emailed. If she passed him in the little town that sat between them called Crossroads, she'd wave, but they never spoke more than a few words in public. She had no interest in changing her last name for his, even if he'd asked.
Yet, he knew her body. He knew what she liked him to do and how she wanted to be held. He knew how she slept, rolled up beside him as if she were cold.
Only, he didn't know her favorite color or why she'd never married or even why sometimes she couldn't go near her piano. In many ways they didn't know each other at all.
She was his rainy-day woman. When the memories got to him, she was his refuge. When loneliness ached through his body, she was his cure. She saved him simply by being there, by waiting, by loving a man who had no love to give back.
As the storm raged and calmed, she pulled him into her bed. They made love in the silence of the evening, and then he held her against him and slept.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The town ofCrossroad was small but tough! The people of Evening Shadows Retirement renew that retirement is not the end--Can't wait for next stor
Jodi's characters lways bring a breath of freshness to the imagination. Couldn't stop reading!
Ransom Canyon was an introduction to a place with a core of loving, compassionate people who supported and embraced every one around them.
Good series,interesting characters
I enjoyed the pieces... Each chapter in the book was devoted to one of the characters and I found that very disrupting... Well written... Good plot but I prefer my story to begin, continue and end... Would have been 5 star except for the writing style.
Excellent Ransom Canyon & Crossroads, Texas Staten Kirkland is a rancher and also the last descendant of Ransom Canyon’s founding father. He is also practical and rugged. When his troubling memoires threaten to overwhelm him he runs to Quinn O’Grady. No one knows that he does so. Quinn is reclusive and lovely and has her own secret that no one living knows about. Lucas Reyes is young and a ranch hand’s son but he has his eye on the prize of college and a chance to be more. His life is set on a course he hadn’t imagined one night with one wrong decision. Yancy Grey has a troubled past that he is running hard from. He doesn’t plan on sticking around Ransom Canyon. He just wants to be around long enough to learn the town’s weaknesses and how he can use them for his personal gain. He has been a common criminal since he was old enough to reach a car’s pedals. He also isn’t prepared for what he encounters. This is a great book that has several stories going that are woven together brilliantly. It makes for a book that is hard to put done and will have readers happy that it is the start of a series. The town comes to life with all the characters that live in and around the small town. It will be interesting to see where the series goes and to see what happens to the characters of the town. For those that enjoy small town romances and western romances this is definitely a book to check out. It will also have readers wanting to see what else the author has written.
RANSOM CANYON is a story that is a good blend of feel-good, romance, suspense and hope all rolled up into a tale that will make you smile. Author Jodi Thomas creates characters you feel like you already know or wish you did. They’re realistic with faults and traits readers can relate to. The characters are well-developed and likable. Thomas’ depiction of a small western community draws readers in as they hunger for the close-knit chemistry. Her rich details places the reader alongside the characters as they interact. Readers are introduced to rancher Staten Kirkland (last descendant of Ransom Canyon’s founding father), Quinn O’Grady (reclusive and best friend of Staten’s late wife), Lucas Reyes (a high school student wanting more out of life), Yancey Grey (an ex-con torn between scoring big or being normal), as well as numerous other characters. Thomas weaves an intriguing story as she brings all the characters together for a heart-pounding conclusion. As the story unfolds amid a breath-taking backdrop, Thomas draws readers further into the emotions and struggles of her characters. RANSOM CANYON is the first installment in a new series that promises to take readers on a roller coaster ride with her unexpected twists and turns. FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.
this is the tale of a town and its inhabitants. not just about one or two people. this series will follow these people in the next story i am sure. i really want to know what happens next with all of them. a loveable bunch of townsfolk , in a hiccup in the road town. love jodi's stories and this one did not disappoint at all. can't wait for the next chapter.
I received a copy of this book through the Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for a honest review. In Ransom Canyon, a rancher named Staten, a young Lucas and a former criminal named Yancy come together in a way that you would never think they would. Staten is a long time rancher that has lived on the land since he was born and has lost his wife to cancer and his son to a wreak, is finding love again with a lovely Quinn who has her own secrets. Lucas who becomes smitten with the sheriffs daughter, Lauren after a night that threaten them both and they both discover who is important in their lives. Yancy is running from his criminal past and discovers he doesn't need to steal or lie in this town. Everyone comes together when people from Yancy's past comes to hurt all of them and it makes for a fantastic ending and a great start to the next book in the series. I live not far from Lubbock and Ransom Canyon so when I saw a book titled Ransom Canyon, I just had to read it and it was not disappointed!! I loved how Jodi took the characters and made them come to life and I can't wait for the next book in series just to find out more about Ransom Canyon and all that lives there!! Thank You to Goodreads for having such a great giveaway! Thank You to Jodi Thomas for writing such a great start to a new book series!!
This may just be my favourite read of the summer. It was a fantastic start to Thomas’ latest series. She combines the best of small town life with the realities of everything that could be faced. Her vivid descriptions paint this town and its people in a way that allowed me into their lives. The intricate & intimate plot captured my imagination and my heart. I really enjoyed the intertwining stories with the main characters. Their lives were all so different yet crossed so many times. Thomas gave me a phenomenal perspective. I loved the dash of suspense that runs through the story, especially with Yancy. I loved trying to puzzle out what he would do and how things would turn out. Thomas has created a very well rounded cast. I love the different ages and demographics of the major characters. Not only was I intrigued by Yancy’s past and new perspective on life, but his approach to it left me smiling. Quinn and Staten’s relationship was so emotional for me, and at the same time, completely superficial in some ways. The dichotomy that Thomas created made it oh so very real. But most of all I fell in love with Lucas and Laura. I do hope to see this pair grow up in future novels. This was definitely the perfect start to the Ransom Canyon series. Thomas’ mellow yet inviting writing made this a story that I couldn’t put down. It definitely lead to one very sleepless night. I definitely can’t wait for more from this author & this series. Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this work in exchange for an honest review.
Staten Kirkland is no stranger to grief. After the loss of his wife and son, it seems he doesn’t have much left to live for. For the most part, he’s able to bury his pain in the work on his cattle ranch, but on dark stormy nights, Staten seeks comfort in the arms of the only woman who could ever understand, the shy and troubled Quinn O’Grady. Lucas Reyes is a young but ambitious hand on the Kirkland ranch. While the other boys in high school fight for the limelight, Lucas prefers to keep his head down and stay focused on his plans for the future. Preparing for an early start at college, everything seems to be going according to plan- that is, until he falls for the local sheriffs daughter after one fateful night that will forever change the course of their young lives. Fresh out of prison, Yancy Grey is looking for a new start, and he figures Crossroads, TX is as good a place for that as any. After happening upon a quirky group of seniors in a retirement community, Yancy’s first thought is to take advantage of their good nature until he can get on his feet. But the more time he spends with the colorful bunch, the more he begins to think of them as family, and when old enemies from his past come to town, he knows he needs to do everything he can to protect them. But at what cost? For those of us who were sorry to say goodbye to the people of Harmony, Ransom Canyon begins a wonderful new series by renowned author Jodi Thomas. Written in her trademark style, Thomas seamlessly blends each character’s backstory together into an increasingly suspenseful plot that makes her books so utterly un-put-downable! This book provides readers a heart-pounding, page-turning ride through the rugged beauty of rural Texas, full of colorful characters that step right out of the pages and invite you into their world of Ransom Canyon. Highly recommended! Rating: 4 stars I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Beautifully crafted novel, where words flow out like poetry, unexpected connections are made, and destinies changed while life happens. Despite the a bit slow start of the book, the stories of the characters soon enticed my mind, and I was hooked. What seems like separate stories of different people in the town of Ransom Canyon, Texas, are tangled together like only in a small rural town life can. They all come from different walks of life, a widowed senator's son, a rancher, who thought everything worth loving was lost in life, an ex-convict who for the first time in his life finds a place to belong, a young man ready to face the life and its challenges. There is a bundle of people introduced in this lively small town, loyalties formed, friendships developed, and love found with unexpected people. And when a crime happens in town, a crime that puts lives in danger, they all come together as one, to protect their own. It is a refreshingly different kind of novel, a bit dramatic and dark toned at times, filled with fascinating characters, both friends and lovers. There's danger, passion, humor and secrets. And as many of the journeys are just beginning in this first book of the series, it surely creates an interest and engage the reader's mind. Looking forward to find out more about the people in Ransom Canyon in future installments ~ Four Spoons
Ransom Canyon is a beautifully written, dramatic and intriguing read. I have heard many great things from other romance readers about Jodi Thomas. I personally have never read any of her books before, so when given the opportunity to read the first book in her new series I decided to jump on it. Ransom Canyon is a sleepy little town in the remote Texas landscape. A place where everyone knows everyone one, and where people are so trusting they never lock their doors. The people are engaging, especially the senior citizens. They were completely adorable and hilarious. The story follows multiple couples on their journey to true love. I admit I struggled a bit connecting with the couples due to the multiple romantic story lines since I’m used to one couple per book. Maybe I just need to get used it, I’m not sure. I am definitely willing to give it another go though because I found other parts of the story very compelling. Thomas brilliantly captured small town life in the world she created in Ransom Canyon. The setting was so vivid in my mind while reading, and long after I put down the book. As a reader I could definitely sense the overall love for the land that the people of Ransom Canyon shared, as well as the struggles to survive in it. One of my favorite spots captured in the book was the Gypsy House, it really felt like a secondary character in the book because of the way it seemed to draw people to it. There is some background given about the home, not a lot though so I hope we get more information about the tragedy that took place to turn it into a haunted house. Leo and the gang of retirees completely stole the show in this book for me. Their inquisitive nature was a great diversion from the drama and suspense going on with the main characters in the book. Maybe it’s just me but every time Mrs. Kirkland, Staten’s grandma, popped up I kept picturing her as Betty White. I loved her character. She’s feisty, outspoken, and hilarious. Overall, Ransom Canyon was a good start to Jodi Thomas’ new series. A good mix of romance, adventure, suspense, and humor that creates a solid “feel good” read. Some of my favorite things about this book was the setting, especially the old Gypsy House, and the secondary characters. Although, I did struggle connecting with the multiple couples I am looking forward to the next book. I think I just need to get used to this style, because I loved the rest of the book. If you are looking for a romance with cowboys, small-town setting, adventure, humor, or suspense then I recommend this book. If you enjoy a quick “feel good” read then I recommend this book too. Notable quotes/parts: “He felt as if he and Quinn were the leftovers, for the best of them had both died with Amalah.” “Lucas never felt lighthearted, he had too many plans, too much to do, too much responsibility on his shoulders as the oldest child. But at this moment, with Lauren at his side, he was Peter Pan and she was his Wendy.” Rating: 3 out 5 stars – I liked it
“Ransom Canyon” by Jodi Thomas is the first full length novel in the new Ransom Canyon Series. “Ransom Canyon” takes us to Crossroads, Texas a town so small that there is only one main street built on a beautiful yet unforgiving landscape and bordered by Ransom Canyon. Jodi Thomas has outdone herself with this first book of the Ransom Canyon Series. “Ransom Canyon” is not only captivating it is such a page turner that I literally never wanted to put the book down! In fact, I found myself wishing that I could just take a couple days off work and have my husband take care of the kids so I could lock myself in my room and read in peace! Staten Kirkland, owner of the Double K Ranch, is the “fifth generation born to this land. There would be no more Kirklands after him”. The Double K Ranch is Staten’s life and his constant focus which is part of why he has gained a reputation of being a quiet, cold, hardened man. Little do the people of Crossroads know that Staten Kirkland and Quinn O’Grady have an unlikely but very unique friendship. They would be surprised to know that Quinn is the person Staten runs to when the storms of his worst memories threaten to hit him; she is his calm in the storm. Quinn O’Grady lives 20 miles north of Crossroads on the “worthless land” her parents left her. Thanks to sheer grit, hard work, and an unwillingness to give up Quinn has turned the land into a semi-profitable lavender farm known as “Lavender Lane”. Quinn is quiet and shy; she is considered “reclusive” and very plain by everyone. As far as the people of Crossroads know Quinn has made it into her forties without ever going on a date. As much as Staten leans on Quinn to be his calm in the storm Quinn has never asked Staten for anything. In fact, she has a very big secret she has kept from everyone including Staten. When Quinn is faced with reliving her secret will she be able to open herself up and confide in Staten? Will Quinn be able overcome this part of her past and heal or will she become more reclusive and shut everyone out? Yancy Grey fresh out of prison buys a bus ticket to Crossroads, Texas a place he has never been but that he heard his mom talk about once. Yancy had “known he was low-down worthless since he was five but now and then [he wants] to forget and just think of himself as a regular person”. Te lifestyle of a criminal comes naturally to Yancy because he has been thieving since he was a teenager. Yancy hopes this small town will be just the place to start over “like he was a newborn. He’d rebuild himself one brick at a time until no one who ever knew him would recognize Yancy Grey.” Yancy knows he doesn’t want to go to back to prison which means he’s going to have to find a way to earn an honest living. But if that doesn’t work out he will move on to another town or simply steal enough stuff that he can sell for pocket money and “hitch a ride to the next town”. Will Yancy be able to turn his life around and survive the challenges heading his way? Or will he take the easy way out and fall back into his old habits? Lauren Brigman is a sophomore at the local high school her grades put her at the top of her class, she is a little shy, and she is the daughter of Sheriff Brigman which seems to be synonymous with all the boys being too scared to date her. Lauren frequently gets reminded that “some guys don’t want to date the sheriff’s daughter” as her classmate Reid Collins points out it’s not exactly a fear of the sherif
Jodi Thomas delivers another heart-warming cast of characters set around Texas ranching families and small-town neighbors. You'll fall in love with the cowboys, towns people, and all that they hold dear in this new series for Harlequin.