Author: Linda Lael Miller
Publication: HQN Books (September 27, 2011)
Description:,The sudden death of the town marshal leaves Blue River, Texas, without a lawman…and twenty-five-year-old Dara Rose Nolan without a husband. As winter approaches and her meager seamstress income dwindles, she has three options. Yet she won't give up her two young daughters, refuses to join the fallen women of the Bitter Gulch Saloon and can't fathom condemning herself to another loveless marriage. Unfortunately she must decide—soon—because there's a new marshal in town, and she's living under his roof.
With the heart of a cowboy, Clay McKettrick plans to start a ranch and finally settle down. He isn't interested in uprooting Dara Rose and her children, but he is interested in giving her protection, friendship—and passion. And when they say "I do" to a marriage of convenience, the temporary lawman's Christmas wish is to make Dara Rose his permanent wife….
My Thoughts: This was a very nice historical romance. Clay McKettrick comes to Blue River, Texas to mend a broken heart and start a life that isn't always being measured against his grandfather and uncles. He wants to make his own success. He also wants to start a family though love isn't really on his mind. He plans to build his own successful dynasty.
The first person Clay meets is 6-year-old Edrina Nolan. Her father was the former sheriff who recently died. When Clay returns her to her home he meets Dara Rose, the former sheriff's widow. She is in tough straights trying to survive as a widow and care for her children. She is currently living in the house that goes with the sheriff's job but the town fathers want to evict her so that Clay will have the house. Dara Rose is way too busy trying to survive to have any interest in love.
When the town fathers give Dara Rose an ultimatum, Clay proposes a solution. He will marry her and they can stay in the house together. Dara Rose accepts even though she doesn't love Clay because it is the best of several bad options. It takes time and perseverance for Clay to win Dara Rose's heart and trust. But he is just the man for the job.
What I like about Miller's romances is that twist that it is the man who is eager to settle down and have a family. This is different than most of the romances I read. I also like the strong family values in the story. This one was mainly a courtship story. There isn't any physical intimacy between Clay and Dara Rose until after they are married and in just the last few pages of the book.
Fans of Western romances will enjoy this one. I was a special fan of feisty Edrina Nolan and her more reticent but equally stubborn sister Harriet. Those two little girls could tug at anyone's heartstrings.
Much as he loved the ranch, and his family, the Triple M wasn't home anymore. Home, for better or for worse, was wherever Dara Rose happened to be.I received this book in exchange for an honest review. You can get your copy here at Amazon.
When had he fallen in love with her?
He wasn't sure. It might have been today, when she sat on his lap in her tiny kitchen and poured out her heart to him.
Or it might have been when he first laid eyes on her, just a few days before.