Sheriff Ethan Blackwood is obsessed with bringing his wife’s killers to justice. Barely six months ago, a simple errand for him to the Coopers Creek Bank put her in the middle of a robbery-turned-bloodbath. Ridden with guilt, Ethan will never be able to move forward with his life with his two young daughters and keep their mother’s memory alive until he lays the past to rest. He must find the killers and bring them to justice. In order to do that, he needs a caretaker for his daughters. Having exhausted all other options, and because his daughters need a woman’s influence in their lives, he accepts a mutual arrangement initiated by his brother—marriage in name only to a homeless widow with an ailing infant.
When his new wife, Annie, begins to tug on his heartstrings and to reignite the flames of desire he thought forever extinguished, his focus becomes clouded. How can he expect to keep his dead wife’s memory alive when all he thinks about is Annie?
After killing her stepfather, an abusive, heartless man who wagered her in a poker game, Annie Benton Holt is on the run. Even though she killed him in a struggle for her own life, when her stepbrothers find out she’s killed their father, they’ll be out for blood. If the law doesn’t put a noose around her neck first.
Annie and her baby flee St. Louis on her stepfather’s horse. She hides out with a family going west, but after a few days, the baby’s health forces Annie to leave for the nearest town, Coopers Creek. There, she is befriended by the town’s doctor. Broke, homeless, and with baby’s health unstable, the doctor proposes a marriage arrangement between her and his widowed brother. Annie believes this mutual arrangement is the perfect solution.
But her perfect solution has a major flaw.
Even though she promised Ethan forever, Annie knows she can’t stay married to him. But how can she leave and ever be happy again when this man and his children have wormed their way into her heart, and he alone has stirred the first feelings of passion in her soul?