Summary: A trio of cousins inherit their grandfather's ranch with the condition that they keep searching for the gold rumored to be on the land.
Three cousins grew up together on their grandfather's ranch in Montana. The grandfather is named "Coot." Coot McCord. Oh, puh-leeze. The cousins do have actual names, like Jesse, Wyatt and Zane. They might as well be named Cowboy Stoic, Wandering Daredevil, and Hollywood Charmer. Yet, for a book of cliches, this isn't terrible.
The three cousins are brought together again after the death of their Grandfather, Cot. While it's not necessary for everyone to be present for a reading of the will, it does make for a good plot device, whether you're in Hollywood or in publishing. Coot wills his ranch to the three cousins equally, provided that they continue to search for the fortune in gold buried somewhere on McCord land. Since the cousins naturally are all financially well-off, they decide to collectively look for the gold and maintain the ranch as a tribute to their grandfather.
Author R.C. Ryan does fall into the Fern Michaels category of dialogue, where one character describes an entire past scene and relationship in a fake way.
' "Because you pestered me until I got tired of saying no." The weathered old wrangler shook his head. "You were way too young. Which is why you took that nasty spill that split your jaw. But you were jealous because your cousins were already riding, and you wanted to keep up." 'Why would you tell the story to the people who were there? It makes no sense and you know that author is just trying to provide backstory through dialogue. It comes out as clunky.
The book also mentions Jesse's charm, but he behaved like a surly jackass the whole book. His high school sweetheart Amy must fall in love with the man that Jesse was, because there is no way she could fall in love with him as an adult. We know that Amy wrote Jesse a letter a long time ago explaining why she left suddenly, but Jesse never received a letter and had closed his heart off to Amy long ago. Yet the ones who hurt us the most are the ones we love the most.
He acts like a spoiled brat with his remaining family, reluctantly recognizing that he was not abandoned by his cousins long ago, and that they also loved their shared grandfather. I guess there's something to be said for reticent cowboys but it's not my preferred romance genre.
The villain of the piece is a surprise, but why do they always have to be insane and/or evil? You won't guess the villain, so it's a nice developing love story until the mystery becomes overblown and outrageous.
You are correct in guessing that this is a trilogy about three cousins. I likely will read the next one Montana Destiny.