A decades long love story of two people, united by chance, that proves the power of unending love and its ability to overcome all odds.
Miranda Hayes has lost everything—her family, her husband, her home. Orphaned and then widowed, desperate to find a safe haven, she sets out to cross a dangerous land alone…until chance brings her face-to-face with notorious gunslinger Jake Harkner.
Hunted by the law and haunted by a brutal past, Jake has spent a lifetime fighting for everything he has. He's never known a moment's kindness…until fate brings him to the one woman willing to reach past his harsh exterior to the rebellious heart inside. He would die for her. He would kill for her. He will do whatever it takes to keep her his.
Spanning the dazzling West with its blazing deserts and booming gold towns, Jake and Miranda must struggle to endure every hardship that threatens to tear them apart. But an outlaw's promise comes with a price…and even their passion may not burn bright enough to conquer the coming darkness.
One year after the Civil War has ended, 20-year-old Miranda Hayes finds herself a widow and an orphan. Knowing that she can't manage her father's farm on the Kansas plains after he is killed by marauding raiders, she decides to search for her brother, who has gone to try his luck in the Nevada gold mines. But on a trip to Kansas City one day, she is brought by fate into contact with the outlaw Jake Harkner, who is wanted in Missouri for murder, theft and rape. In the general store, where both have stopped for supplies, Jake is recognized and a shootout ensues, Miranda herself firing at him in self defense. He escapes, and in a semi-believable plot twist, winds up unconscious in Miranda's cabin. When she discovers him, drained of blood but still alive, it's clear that these two are headed for an unlikely though inevitable partnership, as Miranda seems to be the only person who can help Jake settle his troubled and violent past. Charming but at times contrived, Bittner's ( Thunder on the Plains ) western tale is filled with vivid descriptions of the raw, unsettled land from Kansas to California in the 1800s that evoke images of a wilderness too quickly tamed by civilization.