This is Tom's story and the last book in the McCloud Family trilogy.
This story absolutely breaks my heart.
In the first two books, Tom seems like just "a good ol' boy", but he has been through so much pain and sadness and has so much more to go through. He shows what a badass he can be.
When I read my notes that I had for him, my thought was that the story had to end with the best HEA (happily ever after) ending ever. He so deserves one and he finally gets it. If you've read Saving Chase, you know that Chase's mother died when he was young. That sent Tom on a tailspin, leaving the reservation for a long time. When he comes back, he's ready to be a father to Chase, and he finds love again.
I don't want to tell you too much more - but of course, there are more obstacles to overcome.
Is this the end of the family's stories? Absolutely not!
I am taking a break from the McCloud/BlackBear ranch, but not Sazi Falls. Book four is about Brady McAllister, an ex-military hero who served with Cody Black Bear. It is tentatively titled "Coming Home".
If you remember in Saving Chase Gemma McAllister worked at the medical office and became friends with Kate. She is the widow of Brady's brother and, of course, a romance blooms between them.
Book five comes back to the Black Bear clan and Chase's cousin Cody, a former (gasp!) Army Ranger.
Read an excerpt of Sacred Ground here:
Hana stood at the entrance to the family barn, watching Tom’s graceful, loose-limbed walk, his strides long and easy. His face was angled down and he hadn’t spotted her yet. Hana sighed. He was so sexy she could watch him walk all day.
When Tom looked up, their eyes met and Hana’s ready smile dropped. Her heart sank. His brows drew in over his eyes as he searched hers, pity filling them. The hesitation in his step as he walked toward her told her what she needed to know. He had changed his mind about wanting her.
Oh god, she didn’t want it to end this way. It wasn’t fair. Tears began to pool in her eyes and she fought for control.
“You don’t need to say anything,” Hana said, straightening her shoulders. “Henry was right to tell you what happened. I – I would have, eventually, but I’m glad you know.”
Hana turned away and started back to the small room where she stored her ironwork. “I understand why you’ve changed your mind about me. I’m damaged goods.”
“Hana – wait. Don’t leave.”
The minute she slowed, she felt his body heat against her back. His hand went to her hip and he spoke.
“I haven’t changed my mind, Hana. And you’re not damaged goods.”
“I saw the pity in your eyes. Save it, I don’t want it.”
Tom’s hands came to her shoulders and he turned her to face him.
“You’re not damaged,” he repeated, putting a hand on each arm. “That wasn’t pity you saw, Hana. It was concern, but mostly, it was admiration of your strength. Henry said you remember very little of what happened. I’m glad you came out of it okay.”
Hana bowed her head. She had found in the past that it was best to say what she needed straight out, but this time there was so much as stake.
“I lied,” she whispered. The tug in her chest morphed into full-blown throbbing. The pain of shame and hurt was almost unbearable. Tom circled her with his arms and Hana leaned her forehead against his chest.
“That’s what I led Henry to believe, to save him the heartache.” She began to tremble. “I remember every terrifying minute of it.”
She gathered what little strength she had left and looked back up at Tom. His eyes were warm and soft. Her chin began to wobble as she spoke.
“I didn’t tell Henry the truth. I was raped by their leader. If Henry had known, he’d have lost his mind and killed them. I didn’t want to lose my brother.”
Tom was silent, but he kept her in his arms. “I’d give anything for you not to have gone through that. Henry said that you got help. Looking at you, I’d never know that had happened. You’re a strong woman.”
Hana hiccupped a sob. “Not always.”
“I didn’t tell you everything about my step-father. I went through the same thing when I was twelve. He sexually abused me, thinking he could turn me into a faggot,” Tom’s voice cracked and he paused. “I never told anyone, except now with you.”
Tom held her tight, his chin nestling her head. “So I know what you went through. You don’t ever need to feel ashamed, with anyone, but especially with me.”
Talking about this had been a huge step. Hana let her head fall back as she looked at him. “We’re very much alike, aren’t we?”
“We were made for each other, darlin’,” Tom said with a smile. “Do you think I can get away with a kiss before our chaperone finds us?”