An Uncommon Protector: A Lone Star Hero’s Love Story
While most of this novel’s action is set in 1867 Texas, there are also some flashback scenes set on Johnson’s Island in Lake Erie off the Ohio shoreline, which served as a prisoner of war camp for Confederate officers during the Civil War.
Thomas Baker was a Sergeant in the war who served time on the island. But now he is a prisoner in Texas, jailed for not being able to pay his gambling debts. The county loans out prisoners to ranchers to perform work details, which is how rancher Laurel Tracy and Thomas meet. She sees something in him that is not present in the other work gangers, and arranges with the sheriff to hire Thomas as an indentured servant for a year, to help combat squatters on her land.
But Laurel’s erstwhile yet still hopeful suitor, Landon Marshall, and Laurel’s stepsiblings object to a convict living on the ranch. When her cattle start turning up dead, Laurel knows she can’t fight the sabotage alone. As Thomas and Laurel try to discover the culprit who seems to want Laurel’s ranch to fail, they begin to realize the depth of their feelings for each other.
I enjoyed the realistic, tender romance as it developed in this volume of the Lone Star Hero series. Gray is successful at creating “clean” yet believable sexual tension in this Christian romance story. Religious content is present yet not heavy. The villain is a bit one-dimensional, and I spotted one or two historical anomalies (“game face” is a late 20th-century expression), but I didn’t mind because the romance was so delightful. Highly recommended to Christian romance fans.