The story of 22-year old AJ and the oldest McKay son, 35-year old Cord.
AJ must be the only McKay wife who's had only one lover, Cord. And don't tell me former crack ho India, and Keely, who's had half the county don't gossip about that fact. Yes. It so much is that kind of town.
Cord and AJ's story is pretty straightforward. She propositions him. He accepts. They have 7 weeks to discover they love each other too. Before the return of Cord's little boy Ky who's staying with his mom. Somewhere. Cord's special nookie treat is that AJ is a massage therapy student, and he gets given the kind of 'therapy with extras' that most guys can only fantasize about. Hot hot hot.
Almost immediately alongside the main romance runs a side-story that charts another McKay brother, Colt's, descent into a sordid drink and carnal hell. With a gay orgy scene thrown in the mix. For Dag, the cousin. Who winds up dead. Imagine! And it is a very bleak picture of 3 macho guys sharing a house and just being so nihilistic. It turns out Cord had some Daddy issues that needed airing...
But the person I felt the most sympathy for was AJ. She turns out to be one of those heroines whose family use her like a servant. From the time she was about 13 to 22 years old, she basically did all the work on the family ranch. When her mom hurts her leg AJ postpones college to become a full-time carer. When her sister's marriage breaks up AJ is expected to share baby-sitting duties. And suddenly her mom is going to sell the ranch.
The reader really gets a feel for the saddness and insecurity AJ feels about losing her home. If anyone deserved a carefree fling with a guy her own age it was AJ. But what happens? She fixates on divorced 35 year old rancher and lone parent, Cord. Yes. In the end he gives her the wedding ring she thinks she wants. And how he wooed her was really sweet and all that. But. It might have been better for AJ if she got away from Sundance for a few years. Having kids straight aways and being stuck forever in a teeny-tiny 2-horse town is not easy for a lively young girl. In fact. AJ had more reason to become addicted to drink and drugs than Colt. But of course that doesn't happen.
Notwithstanding the fact that AJ and Cord get happily married. And Colt gets himself checked into rehab by the end of the novel. This is a much bleaker story than that of Cam and Domini. Still spellbinding though.