“Now and Forever” by Mary Connealy

Matt Tucker fell in love the moment he set eyes on a pair of bright blue ones peeking over a rooftop. But he’s a mountain man and doesn’t want to make a woman live through what his foster mother, a Shoshone woman, did–raising and feeding their children alone while her man wandered. So he’s headed for the high country to get away from the short dark curls of a woman who introduces herself as someone’s brother.

Shannon Wilde has lived through the Civil War as a soldier and a medic, so an angry grizzly, a cliff and a wild canyon river shouldn’t be too difficult to live through. It’s the wild man who’s half-legend in these parts that will drive her crazy. Almost as crazy as the man who is burning out homesteaders. When the thrill-hungry arsonist turns his attention to her and her precious sheep, Shannon will have to figure out who she can depend on–and who she can’t.

The only problem with having such a great and legend-inducing hero (or heroine) in one’s story is that the villain has to be wicked and wily to the same degree. Enter the psychopathic villain who is evil to the core, his motivation only to feed his death-dealing desires. Unfortunately a similar villain was in the first book of the series, along with others to round out the mystery. A little more imagination in this book’s plot, or at least a more human bad guy would have made this story better.

The character development of the main characters was good, if a little rushed, and the conflict tended to be resolved almost as soon as it was presented. On the whole it was an entertaining, oft-times thrilling, story with a healthy dose of romance. After all, who doesn’t like a tough yet tender hero?

Thank you to NetGalley ( http://www.netgalley.com) and Bethany House Publishers for providing a copy of this book for me to read and review. I’m looking forward to the last one in the series. Mary has done an excellent job of setting it up in the this and the previous novel.

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