Rafe MacKade has returned to Antietam, ten years after he stormed out of the town on his Harley one fine morning and this time, he means to stay for good. The MacKade brothers have always been surrounded by trouble. Less than two weeks after burying their mother, Rafe MacKade gets into a bar fight with his classmate Joe Dolin one night and leaves the town next day.
Ten years later Rafe MacKade comes back to his hometown and buys the old haunted Barlow house with plans to convert it into a bed and breakfast inn. Rafe meets Regan Jones who runs an antique shop in the town and is immediately attracted to her. Rafe hires her for furnishing the Barlow house and the attraction deepens when they start spending more time together.
Rafe's old enemy Joe Dolin is married to one of Rafe's friends Cassie. Joe frequently beats up his wife and Cassie turns up at the café where she works with new bruises every day. Regan advises Cassie to leave Joe and put a stop to the never-ending physical and mental abuse. One day, Cassie listens to her advice and leaves Joe, taking their kids with her. Cassie files a police complaint against Joe and starts living with Regan.
Regan and Rafe get cooped up in the Barlow house during an unexpected snow storm and their romance blooms to the next level. But Regan is wary of Rafe's wild ways and tells him that their relationship would be purely physical with no commitments on either side. Rafe feels disappointed.
Joe is angry towards Regan for offering Cassie shelter and for thwarting his advances. He attacks Regan one day, but she defends herself successfully and goes ahead and files a police complaint. Rafe feels hurt that she did not turn to him for help in dealing with Joe.
Regan tries to convince Rafe that she really loves him and goes to the town bar decked in a tacky costume as he had once dared her. Rafe feels jealous when the other men stare at her and drags her home. Regan tells Rafe that she dressed up like that only to prove that she was crazy in love with him. Rafe goes down on one knee, gives her a bouquet of tulips and quotes Shelley, keeping to his end of the dare. Rafe proposes to Regan and they decide to get married.
Best part of story, including ending:
A lovely romance written in typical Nora Roberts style, The Return of Rafe Mackade has all the elements needed to make the story interesting and heart-touching. The chemistry between the main characters in heats up the pages and makes you want to find out what happen next. A touch of paranormal is thrown in with Rafe's attachment to the haunted house.
Best scene in story:
In a light moment, Rafe dares Regan to dress up in a tight, leather miniskirt and play pool in the local bar. In the same spirit, Regan says that she will have him down on one knee, quoting Shelley, in a month. In an attempt to convince Rafe that she is truly in love with him, Regan dresses up in the tacky costume and goes to the bar. Rafe is stunned on seeing her and goes green with jealousy when other men start leering at her. He drags her home where she tells him that she had gone to all the trouble just for him.
Opinion about the main character:
Rafe has always felt like an outcast in the small town which had never expected him to turn up successful after 10 years. In spite of having a reputation as the town bad boy, Rafe has a heart of gold and he feels disappointed when Regan initially tells him that she wants only a physical relationship with him. He even recites poetry to win her love, on the condition that she would never let anyone know that he quoted Shelley!