Lone Rider (The Montana Hamiltons) - B.J. Daniels

Series: Montana Hamilton (Book 2)

When danger claims her, rescue comes from the one man she least expects


A cowgirl at heart, Bo Hamilton does her best thinking in wide-open spaces. So when money goes missing from the family foundation she runs -- meaning one of her trusted ragtag employees is a thief -- Bo rides into the Crazy Mountains to figure things out. But a killer hiding among the sawtooth ridges takes her captive…and isn't planning on ever letting her go.


Bo's disappearance gets folks thinking she's the guilty one who's run off with the money, but Jace Calder would bet his ranch that she's innocent. Not that he has any reason to trust the beautiful, spoiled senator's daughter. But she also gave his troubled sister a job when no one else would. For his sibling's sake, Jace is going after Bo and bringing her home to face the truth. But up in the mountains, he finds Bo at the mercy of a suspected murderer. As her only hope, Jace is about to find out what they're both made of.


Fantastic second book in the series. Like the first (Wild Horses), I was hooked from the beginning, anxious to see what was going to happen next. In this one, Bo Hamilton heads off by herself for a couple days in the mountains, trying to clear her head. She heads up the family charitable foundation and has discovered that money is missing. She's called an auditor, but is sick to think that one of her employees is stealing from the company. On the morning she's headed back home, she stumbles across an escaped murderer who takes her captive.


Emily Calder is one of Bo's employees and when Bo doesn't show up for work, and no one has seen her, she goes to her brother for help finding her. Jace is reluctant, as he and Bo have a troubled history, but he feels like he owes the woman for giving his sister a job. He's not sure whether she's innocent or not, but either way, he'll bring her back. But the longer it takes him to find her, the more he gets a feeling that something really bad is going on.


The sections that dealt with Bo's captivity and Jace's search for her were intense. The murderer's swings between threatening rages and plans to keep Bo as a long-term "mate" were really creepy. Bo never knew which one she would be dealing with, or what would set him off. I was impressed with the way she tried to stay calm and alert for a chance to escape. I was a bit disappointed in Jace's initial belief that Bo could be guilty of stealing the money, but that was mostly his lingering bitterness over their breakup. I liked the fact that he didn't give up looking for her. Getting her away from the killer wasn't easy, but he did it. Unfortunately, he also knew that he couldn't count on the man giving up. Their escape was complicated by an approaching storm, that not only slowed them down but also kept a search party from being able to look for them. I liked seeing the way that Jace's protectiveness came out, and how he tried to take care of Bo. While they were holed up waiting out the storm, they had a chance to talk some and realize that the feelings they had for each other were still there. But he was wary of trusting those feelings, fearing that it was only because of the danger they were in. Once the storm had passed, they had hopes of being able to make it out, until an encounter with a grizzly bear created still more complications. Then Bo did something really stupid and nearly got herself killed in the final confrontation with the killer and his father. If it hadn't been for Jace overcoming his own injuries, it could have ended very badly for them both. After their rescue, they had a chance to spend time together and get to know each other again. I loved seeing their love grow stronger as they finally put their past troubles behind them. Jace's big moment at the end was so sweet and romantic, there was no doubt about Bo's reaction.


Interspersed among the sections featuring Bo and Jace, were those dealing with her father, her mother, her mother's protector (Russell), and Jace's sister. In the previous book, Bo's mother who had been believed dead after driving her car into the river and being washed away, suddenly reappeared. However, she is suffering from amnesia and doesn't know where she's been for the last twenty-two years. Bo's father, Buckmaster, is running for president and dealing with her and his current wife is creating untold headaches for him. He still has feelings for her, but his current wife is suspicious of Sarah's untimely reappearance. Sarah is having flashes of memories that have her worried that something is very wrong. Meanwhile, Russell believes that Buck knows far more about Sarah's disappearance than he has said and is determined to prove it, and has some pretty outlandish theories. At the same time, Sheriff Frank Curry is trying to investigate and has come across some rather troubling evidence. He's not sure what it all means, but his gut is telling him that there is something strange going on. Nothing is resolved by the end of the book, so I expect more to be revealed in the next. I also expect that the mystery won't be entirely revealed until the last book in the series.


On a somewhat happier note, Jace's sister finally has something good to look forward to. After troubled teen years where she ended up with jail time and an out-of-wedlock child, she is getting her life back on track. She has a good job working for Bo and a nice home for herself and her daughter. And to make things even better, there is a very nice man who is showing a romantic interest in her. I loved seeing the way that Alex was looking out for her, and wasn't put off by her past. It was great to see how he was there to protect her when that past caused problems. It looks like something is finally going right for her, and I hope to see more of her in the future.


There's also some foreshadowing of the next book in the series with the appearance of a couple of journalists, one of whom ends up dead under suspicious circumstances. I'll be interested to see if my suspicions about those circumstances are correct.