The Rydell River Ranch is a large horse training, boarding and breeding operation, owned and operated by four brothers who are left in charge of their century old legacy in the small, rural town of River’s End.
When Erin Poletti pulls her car into the thousand acre Rydell River Ranch in River’s End, Washington, looking to stay with the brother she detests, she only intends for it to be a pit stop on the way to the rest of her life. After her mother’s suicide, Erin has no choice but to seek out her brother, where he works as a ranch hand, as she is left penniless, homeless and for reasons she will share with no one; without the basic skills to navigate her life. Ranch owner Jack Rydell watches her pull in and knows that trouble has come to his ranch, his three brothers, his two sons, and most of all: to himself.
Erin has a short lived relationship with Jack’s youngest brother, until unforeseen circumstances leave Erin nearly destitute on the ranch, and finally reveals the secret Erin has so desperately hidden. And only then does Jack finally begin to know the woman whose presence has so disturbed his life. Eventually, Erin finds a job, and starts to work with Jack and his horses in order to repay the debts she feels she owes him. But the longer Erin is there, Jack begins to wonder if he can resist the woman he now knows, despite everything that stands between them.
Kailynn Hayes doesn’t believe she’ll ever escape the small ranching community she was born and raised in called River’s End. She has nothing and nowhere else to go, with a sickly father to care for, and two brothers who would as soon do anything than work. She sees her life continuing on as the housekeeper for the Rydell River Ranch and as a waitress in River’s End. Trapped by no money and family responsibilities, she doesn’t believe she can escape it all to pursue her dreams. Until one expected event changes everything, and suddenly she has the ability to go after a new life, far away from River’s End. But it will come at the cost of a relationship that she never intended to start, and therefore, she believes she will never give up her dreams for.
Ian Rydell has helped Jack all these years care for the ranch, their younger brothers and Jack’s two sons. He is the brother no one ever knows what he is thinking, or next going to do, especially the woman he has quietly loved for years. But now, he’s ready to implement the plans and dreams that not a soul knows he harbors, especially the woman he intends to do them for.
Kailynn starts to realize that maybe there is more in River’s End for her, than she ever noticed or dared to dream about. But how can she turn her back on this new life she has found, and all to go back to the place she had been so desperate to escape?
Shane Rydell is better fit to ride his Harley than any of his family’s horses. He has spent his life trying to find a road that can travel between the family he loves and the open road he is pulled towards. He often leaves River’s End, but eventually, he always comes back as he can’t quite sever the connection to a place he doesn’t want to be from, but which, he always seems destined to return to.
Allison Gray has been burned deep enough she will never risk her heart again after a failed marriage that has left her devastated. A rare teaching opportunity brings her to the small town of River’s End where she is tapped to expand the curriculum of this rural school district; work that invigorates and inspires her, and helps her forget the devastation in her past.
When Shane Rydell walks in to attend his nephew’s conference, and once again, doesn’t recognizes her, she decides then and there, he will never be a man she can trust or understand. But soon she is routinely drawn to the Rydell River Ranch to do work that only she can provide. This brings her in constant contact with Shane, and she finally begins to know the real man inside the hardened, charming shell Shane projects. But it will not deter her determination that she can never trust him to be part of her life, no matter how much he happens to be in it.
AJ Reed grew up in foster care until he ran away in his teens and started earning his way through the rodeo circuit, until injury made him quit. Left adrift with no real skills, he wandered through almost as many towns and jobs as he did women. He’s finally found a decent place to settle as the foreman on the Rydell River Ranch, until he is faced with the shocking surprise that shows up one afternoon in the form of a girl who the state claims is his daughter.
Kate Morgan comes to the Rydell River Resort to stay for the summer to grieve for the mother she lost and to meet the brother she only just recently learned she had. Her mother’s secret has left her spiraling in confusion as well as grief. Unsure what to do with this knowledge, she makes arrangements to be a guest at the resort that her half-brother is owner of. She has no idea what she is seeking by coming here, but it certainly isn’t the ranch employee who catches her eye nor his daughter who catches her heart.
AJ soon realizes that the woman he just might have feelings for is his boss’s sister, and she threatens the only real place he’s ever belonged. All the while, a young girl he never imagined he wanted illustrates that permanent is far more than an address. But how can a man who’s never been accountable to anything or anyone hope to commit to not just a place, but a woman and a daughter?
Hailey Starr seeks refuge at the Rydell River Resort in the wake of her bitter divorce and from the ensuing hatred she receives from her daughter and her confused, hurt son. While her ex honeymoons with his new wife, Hailey decides not to care. She intends to recapture some of what she lost over the tumultuous years preceding the breakdown of their family. She chooses that place because it has no distractions except the sun and total relaxation. Then her daughter decides she’s going to sleep with a man. Hailey’s only true line of defense lies in her daughter’s quarry. Joey Rydell is a decent guy who emphatically rejects her daughter’s attention, but he doesn’t turn Hailey down. Flustered and shocked by his irrational interest, Hailey fears it will do nothing but inflame her already rebellious daughter.
Joey Rydell moved back to River’s End after years of being in the Army. Back for good now, he runs the Rydell River Resort, and consequently, deals directly with the guests. The woman who catches his eye, however, isn’t the one that anyone could have predicted, including Hailey.
But all of that drama ceases to matter when the entire valley bursts into an out of control brush fire. The hot, dry summer fuels a fire bigger than anything anyone has ever seen. Erratically roaring through the valley, it destroys everything in its path. Joey is again called to duty to extinguish much more than just the stark miles that are charred in its wake. Fire augments the end to the loves and lives of the Rydells. Their destiny is in turmoil after being nurtured and groomed unlike any other family. Can they survive the somber aftermath of the Armageddon-like destruction? What if there is nothing left of the ranch? Is it the lifeblood of the Rydells? Or are the Rydells the lifeblood of River’s End?
Ben Rydell left River’s End in the wake of the fire that destroyed much of his family’s ranch, along with the valley that surrounded it. After it changed the lives of all the citizens of his small hometown, he takes off without a word of warning to his family. Running east, Ben crosses several states, trying to escape the loss he refuses to accept, and his consequent actions only compound the tragedy. He has betrayed the love of his life and believes he can never be forgiven or excused. His life is virtually over. He has nothing left and doesn’t care if he survives. Then one day, his father finally locates him after a long search. His arrival precedes Ben’s discovery of a secret, perhaps the only thing that can draw him back to the devastation he left behind.
Jocelyn Jantz knew as early as her late teens that her crush on her friend, Ben Rydell, could not end well for her. He only saw her as his annoying neighbor, and a tomboy whom he often fought with. When Ben marries Jocelyn’s nemesis, Marcy, Jocelyn’s years of loving Ben from afar turn to anger and hurt as she watches them setting up a life together. She understands and sees what Ben doesn’t and can’t; it’s all an illusion.
Then, the greatest fire in the state’s history incinerates them, ripping the family apart and detonating a passion as explosive as the fire itself. In the ensuing aftermath, Jocelyn realizes that Ben will despise her to the end of her days. She snatched the honor he always took the most pride in, and when he leaves town, she knows he is lost forever to her. The secret she holds threatens to destroy not only Jocelyn, but also the man Ben Rydell once was.
Caleb Hayes avoids two things in life: change and work. Of late, neither is going well. First the valley he was born and raised in and continues to inhabit, burnt from one end to the other, forcing him to live with his sister and then work cleaning up the fire. And now his best friend who is also his brother is getting married… to another man. Left shocked by his brother’s secret Caleb is not doing the best job of being supportive.
Josephina Ruiz watches her beloved little brother marry his long–time boyfriend forcing her to tolerate in their union, Caleb Hayes, as now being a part of her life. After an off–putting come on she realizes the extent of the rumors she’s heard about Caleb are most likely true. From womanizing, to petty crimes to all around laziness, he’s the last man she ever intends to give a chance to… until by accident he becomes the one she has to rely on.
When forced by circumstances to face his own shortcomings, Caleb starts to see himself from a new light. A not so positive light. He begins to understand not only his brother, but the woman who begins to show him an entirely different way of living than he’s ever embraced. In Josephina, Caleb is challenged from every belief he has to every action he does. And he finally begins to see the damage his life does to others, but by then, has the harm he’s caused others, be too late to change? Can his ultimate redemption bring about healing with the one person he now knows is the best kind of change of all?
Charlie Rydell fell for Cami Reed because she was his best friend before she was his first love. He foresees their future union as starting in high school and ending in forever. There’s only one thing he didn’t account for in his formula: how Cami might feel.
Cami arrived in River’s End with a past that no one knew much about. Seeking acceptance in a place that she’s never fully acclimated to, Cami acts out in ways that aren’t always appropriate, predictable or accepted. Not even by Charlie. Yet, she is fiercely loyal to the only home and family she’s ever had, even as she fails to live up to the pressures of what her loved ones expect from her. She knows what she wants in her future and that knowledge leads her into making one of the biggest mistakes of her entire life. One which changes the destiny of what forever means to all of them.
Now, Charlie struggles with how to deal with what Cami has done. What possible destiny awaits him? A small town love and a small town life? Or the whole world at large? Either path holds things he’s never dreamed of, but the problem is, to have one he has to give up the other. What does his destiny hold? And how will he know if he’s chosen the right path to lead him there?
Brianna Starr is incensed the first time she meets Blain Alexander, and he doesn’t get much more likeable the longer she knows him. Thinking he is superior, he dares to challenge her. All Brianna sees in Blain is a grunt worker who takes care of rescue horses on the Rydell River Ranch. A place where Brianna now lives because of her mother’s marriage into the Rydell family. It is also a place she will never make her permanent home.
Unlike Brianna, Blain has no family and only a series of foster homes to color his past. Finally of legal age, Blain is released from the Child Protective Services, and he flees the rural farmlands of Idaho and winds up in River’s End. After responding to an ad to work with abused and neglected horses, Blain identifies with the horses and applies for the job. Blain is also deaf and as an orphan, lacks any constancy in his life. He understands all too well what it’s like to be left at the mercy of a stranger and belong to no one.
Blain has never seen a more spoiled or useless girl than Brianna Starr. Seeing how unaware and clueless she is to the real trials and ordeals in life, Blain assumes she blithely skips along, never more concerned with anything except her looks. She treats her family like a joke and she’s dogged in her attempts to find a way to outsmart and outrage them. That’s why she thinks that sleeping with a misfit like Blain would be a fun lark to amuse herself and provide some spice in her pointless life. But Blain emerges to show her he is anything but a joke, and in the end, she is the one in need of rescuing, not him.
A terrible mistake in his youth transformed Jacob Starr’s life. He is relegated to working at a dead end job in a place he never chose or wanted to call home, yet one he is now tied to for the foreseeable decade. His chances for success, both professionally and personally, have long since passed him by. With a broken marriage already behind him, the last thing he wants to do is repeat the same mistakes that made his life so dismal. The only reason he wakes up in the morning, and the only positive element that gives true meaning to his otherwise disappointing life is his son.
Then, a tragic incident turns Jacob into a hero in a way he never intended. It happens right before he meets Luna Castellanos. Arriving at River’s End after a bitter break-up, Luna is looking for a new life and reputation. What she finds, to her delight and surprise, is a relationship with someone she never pictured for herself.
Jacob Starr, however, is stubbornly unwilling to jeopardize or risk any threat to his future contentment, and he refuses to budge from that position, not for anyone or anything. When he learns about Luna’s past, and a relationship he can’t accept, he, once again, fears the annihilation of his own future, and that of the woman he loves. Will he risk everything he holds dear once again? Even though he feels like there is nothing left inside him to risk?