From the book
There was, as it happened, considerably more timber in and around the town of Three Trees, Montana, than the name would lead a person to believe, and that was fine with Zane Sutton. He'd had enough urban crowds, concrete, steel and pavement to last him a good long while--say, forever.
Now? Bring on the trees, the blue and purple mountains, the wild rivers and the crystal-clear lakes and streams.
For most of his adult life, Zane had taken each day as it came, content with whatever those twenty-four fleeting hours had to offer, rarely planning anything beyond entering the next rodeo, in the next town over, the next county over, the next state over. Everything else--relationships, off-season jobs, mostly driving, loading or unloading trucks, and even his accidental career in the movies--wound behind him, basically meaningless, a long trail of things that had seemed like a good idea at the time.
It wasn't that Zane had a lot of regrets. Recently, though, he'd begun thinking that, at thirty-four, he ought to choose a direction, stop carousing and start acting more like a grown-up. He'd wanted to light somewhere and stay put, see if he couldn't rustle himself up a life with some substance to it.
Now, under a June sun bright as polished brass, with his boots firmly planted on land that belonged to him, mortgage-free, Zane took off his hat, ran the fingers of one hand through his light brown hair, drew a deep, smog-free breath and tilted his head back to admire the cloudless stretch of blue overhead, arching from horizon to horizon. As far as he was concerned, no ceiling in any cathedral anywhere, no matter how grand, could rival that particular patch of big Montana sky.
The sight stirred a certain reverence inside him, and he drank it in whenever he remembered to look up. He felt the tenuous beginnings of restoration in the rocky, parched terrain of his soul, a nurturing process, like a good, steady rain at the end of a long drought.
He'd finally found a home on these acres upon acres of land, and he intended to take root, like the venerable oaks and pines, cottonwoods and firs, all around him. He'd bought Hangman's Bend Ranch as an investment a few years before, in a what-the-hell-why-not kind of mood, going halves with his hotshot investment tycoon brother, Landry, who was a different brand of drifter than Zane, but a drifter just the same.
Neither one of them had bothered to visit the place; they'd just signed the papers and gone on with their lives.
Although Zane couldn't speak for his brother, he himself had been restless for a long time, since boyhood, for sure, but just a few days before, he'd had an epiphany of sorts. Nothing mystical, no blinding light knocking him flat, no angels singing; he'd simply realized he was damn good and fed up with the status quo, glamorous though it was. Acting in movies was all right--mostly easy work, if deadly boring a lot of the time--but lately it had been getting harder and harder to tell the difference between playing a part and the real deal.
The offshoot of all this sudden clarity was that Zane had found himself on a car lot in L.A., trading in his supercharged European ride for a shiny silver pickup truck with an extended cab. In a spate of nonverbal ad-libbing, he'd driven the new truck to the nearest animal shelter, gone inside and adopted a dog, an unprepossessing critter, big and black with floppy ears. He dubbed the animal Slim, mainly because its ribs showed, a consequence of missing a few meals along the way. Leaving pretty much everything else he owned behind, Zane, with Slim, had headed north by northeast, stopping only to grab a couple of drive-through...