When Jack Mercy died, he left behind a lot of enemies & a ranch worth nearly twenty million dollars. Now his three daughters, each born of a different marriage & each unknown to the others, are gathered to hear the reading of the will. And what a legacy it is. Before any of them can take a share in Mercy Ranch, all three must live there together for a year. They are sisters & strangers
Having published 100 novels in 15 years, Roberts (True Betrayals) just keeps getting better. In life, Jack Mercy, owner of the 25,000-acre Mercy Ranch, garnered more enemies than friends. His death promises to do the same, since his will forces his three grown daughters, half-sisters and virtual strangers to one another, to live together at the Montana ranch for a year or forfeit his estate, worth up to $20 million. If any die during the year, the survivor(s) will inherit the fortune, assuming they last the 12 months. Giving it a go are bossy Willa, part Blackfoot Indian, the only sister who lived on the ranch and is capable of running it; Tess, a sassy Hollywood scriptwriter who wants money but balks at a family reunion; and meek, divorced Lily, grateful for refuge. As the siblings settle in, someone begins committing barbaric acts against animals and then humans: Are these the random crimes of a psychopath Or are they a devious distraction in a sinister game plan Roberts balances the tension and sometimes gruesome action with three romances, crackling dialogue and a snappy infusion of humor. Setting her rich narrative against majestic scenery integral to the plot, she again demonstrates why, in 1986, she was the first author inducted into the Romance Writers of America's Hall of Fame. 150,000 first printing; $200,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild featured alternate; author tour. (Mar.) -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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June 26, 2006
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Excerpt from Montana Sky by Nora Roberts
Being dead didn't make Jack Mercy less of a son of a bitch. One week of dead didn't offset sixty-eight years of living mean. Plenty of the people gathered by his grave would be happy to say so.
The fact was, funeral or no funeral, Bethanne Mosebly muttered those sentiments into her husband's ear as they stood in the high grass of the cemetery. She was there only out of affection for young Willa, and she had bent her husband's tired ear with that information as well all the way up from Ennis.
As a man who had listened to his wife's chatter for forty-six years, Bob Mosebly simply grunted, tuning her and the preacher's droning voice out.
Not that Bob had fond memories of Jack. He'd hated the old bastard, as did most every living soul in the state of Montana.
But dead was dead, Bob mused, and they had sure come out in droves to send the fucker on his way to hell.
This peaceful corner of Mercy Ranch, set in the shadows of the Big Belt Mountains, near the banks of the Missouri, was crowded now with ranchers and cowboys, merchants and politicians. Here where cattle grazed the hills and horses danced in sunny pastures, generations of Mercys were buried under the billowing grass.
Jack was the latest. He'd ordered the glossy chestnut coffin himself, had it custom-made and inscribed in gold with the linked Ms that made up the ranch's brand. The box was lined with white satin, and Jack was inside it now, wearing his best snakeskin boots, his oldest and most favored Stetson, and holding his bullwhip.
Jack had vowed to die the way he had lived. In nose-thumbing style.
Word was, Willa had already ordered the headstone, according to her father's instructions. It would be white marble -- no ordinary granite for Jackson Mercy -- and the sentiments inscribed on it were his own: