Ruthless by Lisa Jackson

For as long as I can remember, my family owned property around Molalla, Oregon part of my mother’s family homestead.

As children we cousins played for hours in the woods of old growth timber and deer trails on the forested hillside of my grandparents’ farm.  It was a magical place, made all the more so by my grandfather’s tales of growing up in the late 1800’s.  He was rumored to be the only living person who knew where the grave of Chief Henry, the last chief of a local Native American tribe, was located.

Grandpa had been questioned for most of his life about the grave site not just for local interest but because grave robbers believed there was great wealth buried with the chief.  Grandpa scoffed at the speculation and kept the secret, taking it to his grave, but as a child, running through the forest, I wondered where the chief was buried.  On the property was a small overgrown family cemetery, but I didn’t think the chief would find his final resting place with the original homesteaders.  Nor did I think he would be buried near the stately but crumbling old house the settlers had built a hundred years earlier.  However, I was convinced if my cousins and I dug up the pile of moss-covered stones at the base of one of the trails, we would uncover a moldering skeleton dressed in rotting deerskin and hiding immeasurable treasures.

We cousins wondered about the stones placed in the elongated shape of a coffin, but we didn’t dig them up.  To my knowledge one ever found the grave.

Now the forest surrounding the farmhouse is being logged, the last parcel of the homestead leaving the family that held it for a hundred and fifty years and I’m saddened a bit, nostalgic for my childhood and the stories we told in those towering fir trees.  However my memories remain of that magical forest, the lore of Chief Henry, fond remembrances of my grandparents and a nostalgia for a time of innocence and wonder, when  I first began dreaming up stories of fantasy and mystery.

Dear Reader,

Early in my career, I wrote several novels inspired by Oregon’s stunning scenery. I’m thrilled that three of these books are now available again in one volume, with a new title, Ruthless. Best of all, here you’ll meet three of my favorite heroes: Attorney Jake McGowan, world-class skier Gavin Doel, and developer Brandon Scarlotti. Each is as rugged and memorable as the landscape—and as intriguing as the women they can’t forget.

Jake couldn’t feel much sympathy for the woman who’d married his wealthy, despicable, sworn enemy. But now that she was embroiled in a child custody battle, he would help her—and relish getting sweet revenge against her ex. . . . Superstardom hasn’t helped Gavin get over his first love, or the way she inexplicably left him. When he returns to Taylor’s Crossing and finds himself facing her, his bitterness is impossible to hide. But he’s determined to unearth the buried truth of their past. . . . No family, no strings. Except for his professional success, little has changed for Brandon since he left Rimrock—including his feelings for Dani Stewart. Now that he’s back, maybe he’ll discover what went so wrong between them. But what he doesn’t know will change both their lives forever . . .

If you enjoyed my previous collection, Revenge, then I’m sure you’re going to love Ruthless!

Lisa Jackson