Despite the panic of 1893, logging reaches its golden era in the growing state of Wisconsin, and twins Jesilyn and Corianne Beaumont enjoy a comfortable life with family in the bursting Great Lake city of Superior.
But when jealousy incites Jesi to seduce Cori's fiancé, a flight and fall from grace lands her in a boomtown brothel, where a fresh start is denied her.
Camp preacher Paul Winter longs to offer hope in the logging and mining towns of northern Wisconsin, but not in the way he expects when he meets a redhead he calls Pie Girl. He's never had to battle his own longings quite this way before.
Meanwhile, stung by Jesilyn's betrayal, Corianne's bitterness might separate her fom a second chance at happiness and peace.
Johnny Ray leered at her. "Well... look who the dogs dragged back. I know you, red. You're the little gal who left me with the sore head and a whole lot of unfinished business."
He stepped close and jerked her chin up with his beefy fingers.
Clay laid a hand across Big John's forearm. "See here, mister."
The bear shook him off like a pesky black fly. "And now, here you are. Right back where we last met. We can pick up where we left off, but maybe we'll have a drink and a dance first."
Johnny Ray gripped her arm and twisted her toward the door.
"No!" She yanked free and fell against Clay, clutching him.
Clay backed up looking dumbfounded, with Jesi clinging to his coat front.
"Oh. I see. You're busy now." He threw Clay a look. "Better mind yourself, mister. Don't turn your head. She's a thieving, mean little thing."
She shook her head and glanced at Clay. He scowled and removed her hand from his coat. "Jesi?"
"Jesi?" Another voice came from the street.
Jesi twisted her head. Paul hoofed it around a pair of mud holes as he crossed the road. She turned back to Clay. His face had changed. His jaw was now set, and his brow dipped. His face had taken on the tell-tale shade of red it always seemed to turn when he was angry.
"What've you become?" he asked, his voice tight.
Big John burst out laughing. "What'd you think she was, mister? I can tell you what." He jerked his head toward Maisey's dark interior. "So can anyone in this fine establishment."
She shook her head. Tears blurred her vision. Gravy's piano playing clinked discordant tones in the background. "Jesi?" Paul's voice, even but heavy with worry she recognized, rang out as he leapt onto the boardwalk. She turned to him, but didn't dare meet his gaze. She wiped the back of her hand across her eyes.
Big John kept laughing. Clay just stared at her, his countenance growing harder by the second. His eyes took on the shade of thunderclouds over Lake Superior.
"Is this how you've been living in Hurley?" His look scathed her. "Yet you were ready to try and fool me again."
She had no breath, no courage to deny it. Her heart had momentarily soared to the peaks, and then crashed down in a hideous mess.
His face contorted. "You're still nothing but a common trollop."
Paul's fist shot out without warning, catching Clay square in the jaw. He reeled backward off the boardwalk into the mud.
"Who the blazes are you?" John thundered, reaching for Paul's shirt.
Jesi covered her mouth and bit her palm.
Paul shoved a fist in his gut, but the big man merely cringed and pushed Paul back. "What's your stake in all this?"
Paul found his footing. He glanced briefly at Clay, who'd gotten up and stood brushing mud off his suit.
"I'll tell you." Paul took a run at Big John, crashing into his shoulder so that the brute fell hard against the side of the building. "She's my wife."
Posted by Desert Breeze Publishing on behalf of Tracy Krauss on 15th Jun 2013
"... This turn of the century historical novel is an excellent end to the saga, with tender romance and a compelling story line. Ultimately, it testifies to the fact that God can take imperfect people, along with all their baggage and mistakes, and make something beautiful. I highly recommend the entire series."