Wes Holden has witnessed the ravages of war firsthand as an army special ops, but nothing could have prepared him for the senseless deaths of his own wife and son—or the private nightmare that follows. An empty shell of a man, he is unable to do anything but survive. Until the day he walks into Ally Monroe’s yard.
Born and raised in the isolated beauty of the mountains of West Virginia, Ally faces a bleak future spent caring for her stern widower father and two brothers. With few job skills, she knows her wish for something more is hopelessly naive. But that doesn’t stop her from dreaming that a stranger might walk into her backyard and transform her lonely life.
Something in Wes’s fathomless eyes tells Ally all she needs to know. And when he settles into the abandoned cabin nearby, a special bond begins to form between them. But as Wes slowly emerges from his haze of pain, his soldier’s instincts soon kick in. He knows there’s danger hidden in the mountains, a place carefully chosen to hide a thriving business in illegal drugs. Worse, it’s a threat closing in on Ally .
By the end of the first chapter of Sala’s overwrought romance, Wes Holden, a former POW in Afghanistan who suffers from PTSD, has seen a Muslim terrorist kill his wife and son. Meanwhile, in rural West Virginia, Ally Monroe cares for a selfish father and two fully grown brothers. Her father urges her to marry a local widower, but Ally, who gave up on love long ago (what with being born with a game leg), dreams of a man walking out of the woods to save her from her drudgery-which is exactly what happens. The grief-stricken Wes, having regained his senses and realized that his slimy stepbrother wants to get his hands on his army benefits, escapes to Blue Creek, W.Va., where he meets Ally. But there’s a mysterious farmer up on the mountain, and extremely unsettling things happen when Ally’s brothers begin to help him harvest his crop. Though the two well-realized leads fall in love in a credible fashion, their story is lost amid the overwriting. The palpable aura of sadness surrounding Wes and Ally eventually grows to overwhelming proportions, because most of the other characters are incredibly selfish, greedy, evil or mad. To top it off, the book takes a gruesome, violent turn toward the end that makes it, and its Perils of Pauline plot, even more absurd. Agent, Meredith Bernstein Literary Agency. (Nov.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.