Publisher: Red Rose Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Heat Rating: 2
Betsy Wingate travels to Red Lodge, Montana seeking refuge in her mother's log cabin high in the Beartooth Mountains to await the finalization of her divorce. In overwhelming pain and bitterness, Betsy swears off men forever.
She has the handsome half-breed from her first look the day he tips his hat to her on the trail, but Betsy is not to be an easy conquest. Hawk must prove that he is different from Patrick, the arrogant and controlling husband she left. But the lovers have bigger problems to confront. Someone wants Betsy dead and while on a fly fishing trip to the high country with Hawk, life turns deadly.
Immersed in Crow culture, set in the Big Sky country of Montana, Hawk and Betsy begin their dangerous and emotional quest, their search for a second chance at love.
Dr. Clifton writes a beautiful love story with a hawk and a deer woven into it in numerous ways. The first chapter starts with a five-page vision quest of an unnamed Indian in Montana, and then jumps to Memphis five years later and to other characters. Chapter 1 is fifty-seven pages and is quite confusing at first. In my opinion, if the vision quest had been a prologue, and Chapter 1 had started five years later in Memphis, it would have been significantly easier for readers to follow the story. In Chapter 1, the reader identifies the two main characters as Betsy and Patrick Wingate. However, the unnamed Indian from the vision quest is really the hero of the story. Unfortunately, that doesn’t become clear until he is identified in Chapter 2. At that point, the reader finally gets a sense of who the real main characters are. I worry that Dr. Clifton will lose some readers by that point. However, if you keep with the story that long, the story will hook you and you’ll stay for the rest of it and be very satisfied with the result.
Betsy Wingate, the heroine of the story has been married for ten years to Patrick Wingate. Patrick is the co-owner of Wingate Constructors with his brother Eddie. Patrick works out of the company’s main branch in Little Rock, Arkansas, while Eddie runs the other office in Memphis, Tennessee. Betsy lives in a cabin in Arkansas and barely ever sees her husband. Since he spends a significant amount of time in the Memphis office working with Eddie on a big proposal for a deal in Nashville, he buys a condo there.
While in some cases distance makes the heart grow fonder, it doesn’t for poor Betsy. For their tenth anniversary, Betsy buys Patrick a satellite radio for his corvette, and he buys her a six-month gym membership so she can lose the thirty pounds he thinks she needs to. That night is the beginning, of the end of their marriage. The final straw comes when Betsy learns that Patrick has been cheating on her in a love-nest apartment in Memphis she knew nothing about. She immediately asks for a divorce, but Patrick refuses. Instead, Patrick suggests a legal separation until September 1st. If Betsy still wants a divorce, then Patrick will give it to her. Betsy agrees and heads to her mother’s cabin in Montana for the summer to lick her wounds and start to heal.
It is in Montana that Betsy finally meets the hero, a half-breed Indian named Hawk Larson. Hawk took his vision quest after his wife left him taking their daughter with her. He had turned to drinking and as an alcoholic had lost any chance at visitation, so he had signed his legal responsibilities to his daughter over to his ex-wife.
Neither Hawk nor Betsy can deny their instant attraction especially after Betsy sees him naked in a waterfall. Hawk has known the same pain of divorce as Betsy has and knows she will need time. She is still married and still getting over her husband’s betrayal. Patrick had always been the one man she thought she could trust.
The descriptions of the scenery with the mountains, lakes and trails of Montana are so vivid you feel like you are actually there. You also learn a tremendous amount about the Crow Indian culture as it is so highly intertwined throughout the book from the first page to the last. The external conflicts in the story take you on a wild ride through some twists and turns you never see coming. Dr. Clifton has done a magnificent job of telling a beautiful love story in quite a suspenseful way. I know I’ll never be able to eat Neapolitan ice cream again without remembering this story. The book tips heavy at 339 pages, but it is worth the read if you stick with it through the first two chapters. ‘The Hawk and the Deer’ earns 4 Tea Cups with a heat rating of 2.
4 Tea Cups!