Tucker Coulter doesn't hesitate to help he sees a woman being abused, even when she's standing up for a horse that was abused and when they he and Samantha Harrigan are arrested together, they form a friendship that is further tested when they need to prove she is not killing her own horses for the insurance money Samantha Harrigan knows all to well what it is like being on the wrong side of an angry man's fists, so when she is at the rodeo and sees a man viciously assaulting his horse, she stops him. When he turns on her, she gets backup in the form of Tuck Coulter, the local veterinarian. When he steps it, he temporarily distracts him, but ultimately they both wind up injured and arrested for assault, although the charges are soon dropped.
Samantha Harrigan believes firmly in the sanctity of her marriage and never thought she would be divorced. However, she also never thought she would have been the victim of domestic violence or that the man she promised to love, honor and cherish married her for her family's money. Tucker Coulter is single, although he is not opposed to marriage and his family is a happy one. It is easy to see that there is an attraction between the two, but when he asks if he can see her again, she declines.
Tucker had his nose broken during the incident with the abuser and eventually makes his way to the hospital after being released from jail to have it set. There, he meets Samantha's dad who wanted to thank him for helping his daughter. It could have ended there, but soon she has a dead horse on her ranch and unfortunately, evidence suggests that the horse died of poisoning. Samantha is the primary suspect. Samantha and her family are extremely well-off and well respected in the ranching communities.
More horses are attacked and Samantha looks more and more guilty. Tucker helps her investigate and the family installs a very sophisticated security system for further protection. Her ex-husband is also seen and through a series of veiled comments, it is obvious that he is still angry to be divorced. It is not because he misses her, but he misses her money.
Samantha and Tucker draw closer and realize they are falling in love. Samantha is a bit leery of marriage, given her recent experience and her religious beliefs prevent her from premarital sex, although they do get swept away once. Eventually, after more horses are sickened, they are able to prove that she is innocent. Obviously, it was her ex-husband and Samantha and Tucker work through her issues. They soon wed, which is when the book ends. It is a series, so they will be at least mentioned in the other novels.
Best part of story, including ending:
Although I thought that having the poisoning of the horses be the result of her ex-husband was fairly predictable, there were several surprising scenes, such as when Samantha's dad visited Tucker at the hospital and the fact that Samantha didn't believe in premarital sex. It was handled well and given that the book was not a religious story, it was a nice change from the normal romance novels. Since they did engage in intimacy once, it also proved that nobody's is perfect and after, she still wanted to abstain until marriage.
Best scene in story:
When Tucker is in the hospital and getting his nose set, it is obvious that even though there are drugs they have used it, it will be painful. His mom, dad and a brother are in the room with him and they all have a sort-of silent conversation to get her out of the room without her knowing why. It was a sweet scene that reminded the reader how much he loved his mom and how well they all knew her, it was his pain, but as his mom, they would all feel it.
Opinion about the main character:
I loved that Samantha Harrigan was not the typical battered wife that has been seen in so many books and movies. She was abused, but she did not become cowed, nor did she hate or fear every man after that. She is an excellent example of a strong woman who had a series of bad experiences, but never let them define her.