Keith Clayton is obsessed with power. He is a Sherrif’s Deputy, and he thinks that means he has control over Elizabeth’s life.
Even though he and Elizabeth are not married, Clayton still does not allow her to date. When Logan comes to town looking for her, Clayton sees him as an immediate threat. Clayton is big and brawny.
Keith Clayton is a stubborn man and a bully. He has no friends. He notes that Moore is the “closest thing to a friend” he has, but he also thinks Moore is an idiot.
Clayton is also what we would call a pig. He spies on young women skinny-dipping and takes pictures while hiding in the bushes.
[If] word got out that the sheriff’s office was actually patrolling the area, there’d be no more coeds in the future, and that was something he didn’t want to contemplate. (p. 2)
Apparently this is something Clayton often does, and it is both an abuse of power and a terrible thing to do.
When Logan is told that Elizabeth is off limits, he asks if she is married.
No, let’s say she doesn’t date. Her ex wouldn’t like it, and trust me, you don’t want to mess with him. (p. 64)
In the end, Logan wins and Elizabeth realizes that he is a much better catch than Deputy Clayton. However, Elizabeth does remember him with “unequivocal gratitude” because he died trying to save their son.