Lucas Rockworth—a hard-driving force of nature has been ordered by his doctor to take some time off and get his blood pressure under control. You would think buying a cabin in the natural splendor known as Gray Horse Lake, Idaho, would do the trick. All that mountain greenery, crystal blue lakes and rivers, and nature-run-amok had to be exactly what the doctor had ordered.
Enter Sarah Burke… The innocently enticing young entrepreneur who’s opening an equestrian camp for children with handicaps.
Her initial impression of him is clearly wrong. For some reason, known to the reader but unknown to him, Sarah mistakenly believes that Lucas Rockworth is a shy, sensitive man. After having to deal a lifetime with a dominating older brother and controlling father, she finds these traits very appealing.
Her recent breakup with someone who could best be described as a bully has Sarah longing for a kinder, gentler man in her life.
Lucas tells himself that, since he makes his living as a general contractor, he has the hands-on experience to make himself into anything Miss Sarah Burke is looking for.
It shouldn’t be that great a stretch to become a modern, sensitive kind of guy, should it? She wants Mr. Rogers… Well, darn, he can manage that for the short time he’s in Idaho.
How hard can it be to tame his darker, more cynical side?
As for Sarah Burke? She thinks she’s met a real life version of Mr. Rogers. But, the reader knows its Rambo who’s come a’courting.
Would the real Lucas Rockworth care to step forward?
Sarah scrunched deeper into her tattered sleeping bag. First bears, now hurricane-force winds. She clamped her chattering teeth together. Her adventure at Grey Horse Lake was shaping up like a Western saga. All she needed were some renegade rustlers to come galloping through her campsite.
The night wind howled mournfully. Noise seemed to leap at her from every direction. And from some demented part of her subconscious sprang, fully formed, the disturbing memory of the last horror film she’d watched. She’d been thirteen at the time, smart enough to realize the unfortunate family of six wasn’t going to stand a chance against an ax murderer.
Don’t think about axes and flying body parts. Think about . . . Lucas Rockworth.
She liked him. Despite the heated words they’d exchanged over Deborah’s land. Despite the fact he hadn’t insisted she return to his cabin with him. What she had liked most about Lucas was his sensitivity in dealing with Julie. Clearly he’d been knocked for a loop by the girl’s declaration of love. Yet he hadn’t come down on her like a ton of bricks.
But if she liked Lucas because of his basic gentleness, she couldn’t fault him for not bullying her into going back to his cabin with him. Now, her brother would have simply picked her up, tossed her over his shoulder and carried her home. Ryan wasn’t the kind of man who took “no” for an answer. Regardless of the fact that both their parents were alive and in good health, her brother had pretty much dominated Sarah all her life. Or tried to, she amended.
A furious gust of wind ripped through the clearing, and she drew her knees to her chest, hugging her body heat to her. She tried telling herself that it really wasn’t so cold. Besides, she had on her long johns, two flannel shirts, her Levi’s, three pairs of socks and her shoes. What more could she want?
This is a learning experience, Sarah. Now you know firsthand how cold it gets at the lake. Look on the bright side. At least it isn’t raining.
A blast of thunder rocked the campsite, and Sarah squeaked. There was another cannon blast, and then the rain descended. Gallons of it. Instantly, she was drenched. She stood up, spitting out water. She wanted to swear, to lash out at the nonassertive man who’d left her out here to die.
“Oooh, Lucas Rockworth, if I ever get my hands on you, I’m going to—”
Strong hands cupped her shoulders and spun her around. “Lucas!” Thank God.
Rain washed down her face and body, collecting in the sodden sleeping bag that had fallen to her knees. She should have been miserable. But she wasn’t.
Sweet, gentle Lucas had come to rescue her.
“Come on! Follow me. There’s a path to my cabin.” He had to yell to be heard above the din of the storm.
Sarah pushed her bangs from her eyes. “What about my stuff?”
“I’ll take your duffel bag. Leave the rest. It’s ruined!”
He took her arm, and it seemed she had no choice but to follow.
River Ames spent the first eighteen years of her life in Southern California. Here is a partial list of some of the cities in which she lived: Pasadena, South Pasadena, Duarte, El Monte, Arcadia La Puente, Lomita, West Covina, Pacifica, Santa Monica, Palmdale, and Hacienda Heights. In some of those cities, she lived at six different addresses. In the city of La Puente, River’s family lived in four different houses on the same street. The non-glamorous reason for all the moves was habitual eviction necessitated for non-payment of rent. It was an interesting way to grow up.
River attended twenty-six different elementary schools, two different junior high schools and four different high schools. In one elementary school, she was a student for only three days.
Perhaps, because she was so frequently identified as the “new girl,” the pattern of River being an observer instead of a participant in the interactions going on around her seemed a logical fit for her personality.
When she was thirteen, River read “Gone with the Wind.” She skipped three days of school in order to finish the book in one sitting. Disappointed in Rhett for “not giving a damn,” River wrote her own sequel–in long hand, on three-hole punch, notebook paper. The opening line? “Tomorrow dawned bright and fair.” In less than fifty pages, Scarlett had been transformed into Jane Eyre and Rhett had fallen in love with her all over again.
After Southern California, River has spent the next part of her life living in the semi-rural town of Idaho Falls, Idaho. She is a graduate of Idaho State University, majoring in Health Education Sciences and Addiction Counseling. She’s worked the past ten years at a Behavioral Health Center where she assisted children, teenagers, and adults committed in a 24/7 secured facility because of mental health challenges they are experiencing.
River’s books celebrate the good-natured humor that lays at the heart of most of our human predicaments. The conflicts are significant, yet it is her characters and their quirky (yet somehow universally relatable) thoughts, words, and choices that reflect a light-hearted peek into a world we wish was real. The amazing thing is that these worlds are real to readers for the time they visit there.
Readers have said: “In a River Ames book, one minute I’m laughing out loud, and the next I have a lump in my throat.”
River is currently readying a historical novel, “Gideon’s Justice.” This three-part novel is Book I in a three volume western series set in the Colorado Territory.