Overwhelmed by the responsibilities of running a ranch on her own, Laurel Tracey decides to hire a convict—a man who’s just scary enough to take care of squatters and just desperate enough to agree to a one year post.
The years following the war have been hard on Laurel Tracey. Both her brother and her father died in battle, and her mother passed away shortly after receiving word of their demise. Laurel has been trying to run her two hundred acre ranch as best she can.
When she discovers that squatters have settled in her north pasture and have no intention of leaving, Laurel decides to use the last of her money to free a prisoner from the local jail. If she agrees to offer him room and board for one year, he will have to work for her to pay off his debt.
Former soldier Thomas Baker knows he’s in trouble when he finds himself jailed because he couldn’t pay a few fines. Laurel’s offer might be his only ticket out. Though she’s everything he ever dreamed of in a woman—sweet and tender-hearted, yet strong—he’s determined to remain detached, work hard on her behalf, and count the days until he’s free again.
But when cattle start dying and the squatters damage a barn, Thomas realizes more than just his freedom is on the line. Laurel needs someone to believe in her and protect her property. And it isn’t long before Laurel realizes that Thomas Baker is far more than just a former soldier. He’s a trustworthy hero who’s survived a terrible past. He needs more than just his freedom, he needs her love and care too.
What an intriguing story. The tension between the two characters is tight. There is an initial attraction that they both try to fight but you know they will give in eventually. The question is when and how will it happen?
This is the second book in this series but you will be able to read this as a stand-alone if you choose and not feel lost at all.
It was great to meet with Thomas and be reminded of characters from the previous book. I couldn’t help but wonder whose story we would get to hear next.
I loved the romance, the post-war ear and the mystery surrounding this book. There is something on every page that will keep you turning until the end.
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A copy of this book was given to me through Netgalley.com. All opinions are my own.