A summer at his grandparents’ South Dakota ranch is not eleven-year-old Cooper Sullivan’s idea of a good time. But things are a bit more bearable now that he’s discovered the neighbor girl, Lil Chance, and her homemade batting cage. Even horseback riding isn’t as awful as Coop thought it would be. Each year, with Coop’s annual summer visit, their friendship deepens from innocent games to stolen kisses, but there is one shared experience that will forever haunt them: the terrifying discovery of a hiker’s body.
As the seasons change and the years roll, Lil stays steadfast to her dreams of becoming a wildlife biologist and protecting her family land, while Coop struggles with his father’s demand that he attend law school and join the family firm. Twelve years after they last walked together hand in hand, fate has brought them back to the Black Hills when the people and things they hold most dear need them most.
An investigator in New York, Coop recently left his fastpaced life to care for his aging grandparents and the ranch he has come to call home. Though the memory of his touch still haunts her, Lil has let nothing stop her dream of opening the Chance Wildlife Refuge, but something . . . or someone . . . has been keeping a close watch. When small pranks and acts of destruction escalate into the heartless killing of Lil’s beloved cougar, recollections of an unsolved murder in these very hills have Coop springing to action to keep Lil safe.
Lil and Coop both know the natural dangers that lurk in the wild landscape of the Black Hills. But now they must work together to unearth a killer of twisted and unnatural instincts who has singled them out as prey.
REVIEW: I have had this book sitting by my bed for a while however as it was the biggest book in my pile it was at the bottom of the pile. The other night I finally got to the bottom of my pile and was able to read it. Now I am kicking myself because I waited so long.
Coop is one of those hero’s that finally knows what he wants in life. Since he was 11 his life has slowly leading to the point that he is finally at. However it wasn’t an easy road. In fact at times it was down right hard. Emotionally, physically, and financially. The only security that he has ever had has been his grandparents and Lil. However because of a choice that he made for both of them they haven’t spoken in years.
Lil is one of those girls that grows up knowing exactly what she wants and will do anything to get it. When she decides that she wants her best friend Coop to be more than a friend he does something about it. What she never counted on was him not falling into her plans.
When Coop finally moves back permanently to their little town in South Dakota Lil wants nothing more than to ignore him, that is until she realizes that she also misses her best friend. Lil has a lot of anger towards Coop and rightly so. Coop knows that the only thing in his life that is missing is having Lil back in his life permanently, not as a friend but as a lover. He has never been able to get her out of his head and heart and never really tried. Everything that he has done from the moment that he unwittingly broke her heart was to get to a place where he can get her back.
The moment when Coop finally tells her why he did what he did was great. I do have to say that at this point Lil began to bug me because she refused to acknowledge that Coop had valid reasons to do what he did.
The mystery in this book was one that I really didn’t pay to much attention to. I think I might have even skipped those parts. I really liked all the characters and their interactions. I especially loved that she had an interracial couple in this book, she even made it a point to bring it up in a couple of different places and as being a reason why one of the characters struggled with the relationship, however it was handled beautifully.
I do have to say that I really really loved the way that Lil told Coop that they were back, they were together forever.
This is one of those books that I may make it into my all-time favorite Nora books pile. If you haven’t yet read it do. Borrow it from the library or from a friend (it is still in hardback) because it will be worth it.
I give this book a 4.75 out of 5