by Jodi Thomas

November 2008
ISBN: 978-0-515-14543-4
Reviewer Graphic Button Jove Books
Mass Market Paperback

This third book in the Whispering Mountain series brings us back to the ranch where eldest brother Teagen McMurray is content to work his land where seldom anyone ventures to bother him. Teagen isn’t comfortable around people and comes across as gruff, but he has one true friend, a man named Eli Barton, whom he shares letters with on occasion.

When Eli dies, leaving Jessie and her three young girls nowhere to live and in-laws who wish to take the girls from her, she becomes desperate. Pretending to be Eli, she writes to Teagen, asking him to help take care of his family. Jessie feels guilty because of the deceit, but can’t think of any other way to protect her daughters. What Teagan doesn’t realize is she’s his pen pal, she’s the one with whom he shared his secrets and dreams; and Teagan is the man she fell in love with, sight unseen.

When Jessie and the girls arrive in town, Teagan invites them to stay at his ranch, assuming it’s just temporary and they have other relatives they can stay with shortly. But as the days pass by, and the girls all start becoming a way of life on the ranch, he wonders if he’ll be willing to ever let Jessie leave. For a man who doesn’t have much to say, he finds it surprisingly easy to talk to Jessie.

When the past catches up to her, Teagan marries Jessie to protect her from her in-laws. Though Teagan doesn’t ever plan to have a real marriage, he finds himself unable to stay away. Despite having been married before and having three children, Jessie is so innocent when it comes to being with a man and Teagen enjoys teaching her how to kiss and touch.

Jessie wants so much to tell Teagan she’s the one he’s been corresponding with all these years, but fears his reaction. She knows Teagan hates being lied to, and does not want to do or say anything that will cause him to hate her or want her and the girls to leave. Not only doesn’t she have the means to survive, she’d be leaving her heart behind with Teagan.

This mild romance will be a delight for fans of the series as well as anyone who is unfamiliar with this series. The pace is slow, giving readers time to fall in love with the characters as they fall in love with each other. Teasers throughout the book leave us all anxious for Sage’s story, and here’s hoping we won’t have too wait too long.

Reviewed in November 2008 by Jackie.

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