What the Heart Knows
A secret son. A lost love. A dangerous job. A frightening risk.
A second chance at the happiness their hearts were once afraid to share.
Thirteen years ago, alone and secretly pregnant, Helen Ketterling left her job as a school teacher on the Bad River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. Her summer love affair with Reese Blue Sky had ended abruptly when he left the reservation to pursue his chance at a NBA career.
Now her new position, a dangerous assignment for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Reese’s father’s sudden death bring them both back to Bad River for a reunion at once fiery and bittersweet. Not only does Helen fear a custody battle if Reese learns that they share a son, but she can’t reveal that she’s working undercover at the reservation’s casino.
And Reese has his own secret—one that ended his basketball career and could endanger his son. While much has changed in the years since he left home, he finds that his roots and his heritage still matter as he reaches for reconciliation with his past. Family ties are the basis of Lakota tradition, and all are threatened by political intrigue and corruption. Was Reese’s father murdered because he planned to blow the whistle on the casino’s outside management company?
As their investigation into his death leads them down a treacherous path, Reese and Helen struggle to bridge the memories and heartaches of a time when she was an idealistic young teacher and he was a lonely man on the verge of reaching for the stars. They’ll have to search deep inside themselves to challenge the doubts that have kept them apart.
The shifting economics and shady business dealings brought to Native American reservations by legalized gambling are the backdrop for Eagle's (The Last True Cowboy; The Night Remembers) latest romantic suspense novel. The protagonist of this leisurely paced story is 38-year-old Helen Ketterling, a white woman who, while working undercover for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (as a blackjack dealer trained to spot corruption in the casinos), is forced to confront her feelings for her Lakota ex-boyfriend, former NBA all-star Reese Blue Sky. Both Helen and Reese have secrets. Not only must Helen lie about her job--to Reese and his brother Carter, who manages the Pair-a-Dice City casino--but she never told Reese that he's the father of her 12-year-old son, Sidney. Reese, meanwhile, is afraid to tell Helen the real reason he retired from basketball--his potentially fatal heart condition. The two become embroiled investigating the possibility that Reese's father was murdered because of his attempts to oust the criminal owners of the casino, who are white. In the generic romance-novel formula of crossed-signals and push-pull arguments, the lies and mysteries between Reese and Helen are revealed slowly, keeping the two lovers apart till the end. Eagle admirably avoids clich trappings in her prose, and the reservation setting is well researched and poignantly rendered. These fresh details help to surmount the sometimes lumbering and predictable plot, and enliven the occasionally two-dimensional main characters.