Published April 24th 2019
Martin’s name was the very last on a kill list. The son of a murderer, he’s had no childhood; lost in a horrific holding pattern of death that turned his heart to stone. Thanks to the man who called him brave and spared his life, he no longer has to look over his shoulder, but he does have one question. Why did Justin let him live?
Tyler Colby has identified a major flaw in the seismic mapping system used to monitor earthquake activity. Sent to Crooked Tree by his employer, the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology, he is tasked with adding a new remote station to the network. The installation should be his entire focus, but the lure of sapphires and his attraction to a heartbroken young man called Martin is enough to make him want more.
R. J. Scott takes us to Crooked Tree once more! Martin arrives on the ranch looking for answers from Justin and finds himself staying for longer than he imagined. He keeps his head down, doing what he needs to do before he moves on to somewhere else, but fate brings him a reason to stay in the form of Tyler.
Martin is shy and scared, lost and alone, having no clue where he belongs. Tyler is smart and passionate, awkward and goofy, and completely captivated by Martin. A lot of this book is spent with these two being away from the ranch and all its inhabitants, which I found myself really enjoying. As much as I love all the various characters, it can sometimes be a bit busy on Crooked Tree, so it was nice to focus on just these two men.
My favourite part of this story was the build up. When Martin and Tyler are getting to know each other, working together and starting to open up to each other. Seeing Martin start to let someone in after everything he’s been through and everything he believes about himself really tugs on the heartstrings. The pacing changed once they actually started exploring what they had together. I found things moved a bit too fast for me after that, their relationship becoming a bit of a whirlwind when I think Martin maybe needed a bit more time and space to come to terms with everything. But that’s just me!
This visit to Crooked Tree Ranch was sweet and charming whilst still tackling some pretty dark events, but as always with this series there’s the overall feeling of love, acceptance and forgiveness. Crooked Tree always feels like home.