SUNRISE CANYON – Janet Dailey
The New American Series , Book 1
Arizona – The Present
Kira Bolton, a trained counselor, runs a therapeutic equine camp for troubled youth on her grandfather Dusty's Flying Cloud Ranch. Last night Dusty left for Flagstaff to get Jake O'Reilly, her cousin Wendy's husband. Jake's five-year old daughter, Paige, lives on the ranch, and has since Wendy's death, as Jake had been in the Army. It's been three years, and even after his discharge, he never came back for Paige. Dusty had hired an investigator to find Jake. Kira still struggles with her own guilt surrounding Wendy's death, so isn't too interested in welcoming Jake to the ranch, and what happens if he decides to take Paige? Today is the start of the camp and her ‘students' are arriving. Later, Jake arrives, too, still very handsome, but Kira's doubts about his presence linger.
Dusty pays Jake's thousand dollar fine for assault and battery in a bar fight. Jake is broke in more than the financial sense. His Army tours left him mentally broken, suffering from PTSD. Dusty takes him to the ranch. Since Jake feels obligated to pay Dusty back, working it off and maybe making a little cash to allow him to move on is a good idea. However, he doesn't want Paige to know he is her father. As long as he doesn't have to handle the horses, he can do other labor around the ranch. His plans only include leaving as soon as possible, but what he doesn't plan on is his inherent attraction to both Kira and his daughter.
Troubled teenagers, a worried counselor, a distressed former soldier, Wendy's lingering secrets, and Dusty's heart attack make for some serious problems on the Flying Cloud Ranch. The story takes place in the Sonora Desert, which might be a metaphoric place for the changes needing to take place. Perhaps some honest talk, horses, the naturally therapeutic dog Tucker, and a beguiling little girl can help change everyone's outlook.