Trying to save his son from his grasping in-laws (and the crime of velvet and lace clothes on a little boy), widower Chance Boden heads west. Though he has the resources to set up his own ranch, he agrees to work as a hired hand for a wealthy rancher while learning the land . . . and in the meantime, gets to know the rancher's daughter, who has fallen head over heels for his son. When trouble comes courting his boss, will he agree to the man's proposed solution?
It sets up the series nicely, clearly setting up the Boden birthright, which is bound to be a feature of the books to come.
I was actually a little surprised by this novella--namely, the relative lack of shooting involved (relative, mind you--there's still shooting, just less than normal for a Connealy story). I'm not sure what to make of it. In all other respects it pretty well fits her style: humor, romance, the feel of the Old West (or at least, the classic Old West of film and fiction).
The end left me a little uncertain. Sure, things are basically wrapped up, but it seems a little passive for a Connealy story . . . I'm not convinced some of this won't come back to haunt the kids in the future. There ARE three books to come, after all.
0.5: "The Boden Birthright"
1. No Way Up
2. Long Time Gone
3. Too Far Down
0.5: "Closer than Brothers: Surviving Andersonville" (a related prequel)
1. Out of Control
2. In Too Deep
3. Over the Edge