Lachlan McCoughney is a wealthy cattle rancher in Australia. Several years back, his sister, Adelaide, ran away from home. She was tired of living in the protective bubble her family and security had built around her and she never contacted them again. The private detective Lachlan hires discovers that Adelaide and her husband were killed in a plane crash, and she left behind a baby daughter who is being cared for by her husband’s brother and parents. That family owns a traveling rodeo company, and Lachlan doesn’t want his niece growing up on the road, in what he considers to be a circus. He heads to the United States to “rescue” the baby from that life.
Holden Sheffield is baby Chloe’s godfather. His twin brother, Landon, and Adelaide wanted him to have custody of the baby if anything ever happened to them. He’s determined to give her the best life he can, and he’ll protect her with his life if he has to.
Sparks fly (and not the good kind) when Lachlan arrives in Texas to bring Chloe back to Australia. The Sheffield family is NOT going to hand her over, no matter what. However, Holden is willing to introduce Lachlan to the baby and let him know her. Lachlan is instantly head over heels for his niece, and be becomes willing to compromise with Holden and his family so that everyone can do what’s best for Chloe.
Suddenly, Chloe is taken, and Lachlan and Holden, the Sheffield’s and the McCoughney’s, the law, and just about every worker on the ranch must join together to rescue baby Chloe and find the people responsible. In the chaos, Lachlan and Holden discover there is more to their relationship than just two uncles who love a little girl.
I have to say, even though I was intrigued by the blurb for Trial By Fire, I wasn’t altogether enthused after I’d read the first few pages. Lachlan is Australian, and I had a few issues with some of the colloquialisms. I just wasn’t feeling it. I pressed on, and I was so happy to be wrong. I wound up absolutely loving the story.
My emotions were all over the map. I was angry with Adelaide for leaving her family and never telling them they had a niece/grandchild. Yes, she didn’t like the situation she was placed in, but she wasn’t abused in any way, and what harm would come from just letting them know about baby Chloe? I don’t like to speak ill of the dead, but that was really a mean thing to do. I was overwhelmed by the amount of love Holden had for his little niece. He wanted to be the father she needed since his brother was gone. Lachlan’s determination was admirable, in my opinion. Even though his original idea was to come and take Chloe from the Sheffields because he assumed that owning a rodeo company meant they were nothing but wanderers going from town to town. I was moved by the fact that nearly every single ranch hand working for the Sheffields loved Chloe enough to consider her one of theirs and united with the families to find her and bring her home.
The story had some humorous moments, and it definitely had a lot of heart. Along with that, there was action, intrigue, excitement, and intensity. Lachlan and Holden were falling for each other through the whole thing, and my heart ached for them along with being happy for them.
Speaking of Lachlan and Holden falling for each other…whew! The amount of heat between the men nearly set my Kindle on fire. They’re each other’s port in a storm. It’s the kind of fiery passion that needs to be fed, even as the rest of their worlds are falling apart.
I feel like I’ve given too much away. Trial By Fire must be read to absorb everything. It’s well rounded and has every quality necessary to make a fantastic book. I need you to trust me here. Pick this one up and immerse yourself in it. You won’t be sorry.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.