Returning to her Wyoming ranch at the Civil War's end, Elyssa Sutton finds it picked bare by scavengers and coveted by determined men. Yet the proud young woman vows never again to abandon her Ruby Mountain home, though it means enlisting the aid of a dark and dangerous stranger who lives for revenge alone.
Hunter Maxwell has suffered from the savagery of outlaws and the faithlessness of a woman. And he will trust no female - nor will he rest until the raiders who destroyed his family pay for their crimes.
A woman in, need, a man in pain, in fury and fire they must now stand as one to fight for something cherished, something lost ... and for a passion neither dreamed could live.
In the brisk chill of Autumn, ravaged hearts will be reborn.
The isolated setting (Nevada's Ruby Mountains) intensifies this love story about an embittered Civil War veteran and an outspoken heroine fighting to save her ranch from ruin. When Elyssa hires Hunter to protect the Ladder S from the Culpepper gang, their mutual attraction leads to arguments and near kisses that spice up a rather predictable story and hackneyed language ("all the seasons of love were theirs"). After they become lovers, Elyssa discovers that his appearance was not an accident--Hunter tracked down the Culpeppers to avenge the death of his wife and children. With his brother Case's help, Hunter is able to drive off the raiders, though Abner Culpepper escapes and Case pursues him into the next Lowell novel, to be published in the fall of 1996. Hunter and Elyssa's story draws to a satisfying finish that makes it a good bet for Lowell fans and western romance aficionados.