|Behind His Blue Eyes takes Kaki Warnerís readers back to the small Colorado town of Heartbreak Creek, where Audra Pearsall has brought her small family to hide out. Audraís widowed father is a renowned historian who has slipped into dementia, and for the past several years Audra has secretly authored his works. Now she is on the brink of being discovered, and could face jail time for accepting an award and grant in her fatherís name. But her father has inherited some property out west, so Audra, her father, and two trusted servants pack up and head to Colorado to hide out.
Ethan Hardesty gave up a promising career as an architect after a tragedy for which he blames himself. He now works for the railroad as an advance scout, securing the right-of-way for new track. Heartbreak Creek seems to welcome the railroad, and all Ethan has to do is obtain permission for the track to cross Audraís property, which she refuses to give. A railroad running a few feet from her front door, combined with a father who often wanders off, is a recipe for disaster in her mind.
Not everyone in town wants to see the railroad come through, and the tracks are vandalized. Then some of the railroad workers are murdered. Audra, who holds the final right-of-way, becomes a target, and Ethan becomes her protector. Two people who view themselves as virtual enemies find they are drawn together.
Kaki Warner writes beautifully. Her descriptions of Colorado, the canyons, the flora and fauna, are so vivid I felt as though I were there. Ethan and Audra hold intelligent conversations, and neither is portrayed as impulsive or foolish. Ethan is guarded, but fascinated by pretty, strong-willed, capable Audra. As for Audra, her fatherís dementia has placed a heavy burden on her shoulders, and sheís so focused on trying to care for him and keep food on the table that romance has been the last thing on her mind. Ethan catches her off guard.
Their romance never really catches fire, though. Donít get me wrong, Ethan and Audra are both nice people, but thereís little chemistry between them. It was an odd feeling to get to the end of the book and realize Iíd enjoyed the story for the writing, not the romance.
This is the second in a series of stories placed in Heartbreak Creek, and Iíll likely go back for more.