Black Hills by Nora Roberts
14cd 17hrs 2mins
from back of book:
A summer at his grandparents' South Dakota ranch is not eleven-year old Cooper Sullivan's idea of a good time. But things are a bit more bearable now that he's discovered the neighbor girl, Lil Chance, and her homemade batting cage. Each year, with coop's annual summer visit, their friendship deepens from innocent games to stolen kisses, but there is one shared experience that will forever haunt them: the terrifying discovery of a hiker's body.
As the seasons change and the years roll by, Lil remains steadfast to her aspiration of becoming a wildlife biologist and protecting her family land, while Coop struggles with his father's demand that he attend law school and join the family firm. Twelve years after they last walked togehter hand, fate has brought them back to the Black Hills when the people and things they hold dear need them most.
When small pranks and acts of destruction escalate into the heartless killing of Lil's beloved cougar, memories of an unsolved murder in these very hills have Coop springing to action to keep Lil safe.
Lil and Coop know the natural dangers that lurk in the wild landscape of the Black Hills. Now they must work together to unearth a killer of twisted and unnatural instincts who has singled them out as prey.
Great book. It didn't start that way for me. I did not like the narrators voice at all. It struck me as annoying and not at all the type of voice I had heard on other audiobooks. I think it was because the character, young Cooper Sullivan, was being a huge spoiled brat. He just whined for the first few tracks. Soon, with the deal he made with his grandmother, he started to enjoy his time in South Dakota.
The story then jumps to when both are grown and have lived life separately and as differently as they did when they were children. Lil had made her dream of an wildlife rescue refuge a reality. Coop was able to prove himself to himself in New York. He moved back to South Dakota to stay will Lil was away. When she came back they both had to deal with the hearbreak of the past. Cougars are the thread that hold the characters together. Even the serial killer who make a small mark in the beginning of the book and gain presence as the story goes along. The killer decides to stalk and hunt Lil.
The story is suspenseful with a romance theme throughout. I gave it a 5 star rating because it held me attention after the first few tracks. I had to know how it ended. I had to know how the relationship unfolded. The story pulled me in and that deserves a 5 star rating. On your tbr list but this as #1 (#2 if you don't like romances, the romance is not the typical cheesy variety).