The story starts off when Clayton Proffitt, foreman of the Circle Z ranch in Texas, finds Vanessa Grant crying in the barn. When Vanessa’s father was on his deathbed, Clayton promised him that he would look out for Vanessa. He discovers belt marks on her back and she finally tells Clayton that her drunken step father tried to take advantage of her and when she would not let him, he beat her. Clayton promises Vanessa that he will take her away from her step father. They prepare for the journey while her step father is passed out. They start on the long trail to go to Clayton’s sister’s ranch out west. The trail is dangerous as many Indians are along the trail and the fact that Vanessa’s father and her brother, Miles, are right behind on the trail. Clayton and Vanessa finally reach one of Clayton’s old friend’s home. They stay the night there. The reader is lead to believe that these two, Clayton and Vanessa, share a very special relationship. They end up getting married so Vanessa’s reputation will not be ruined after going off on the trail with Clayton. But the marriage is in name only. The couple travel on to Clayton’s sister’s ranch and then Clayton leaves to find work as a sheriff in a western town and leaves Vanessa with his sister. Will Clayton and Vanessa ever be able to tell each other how they really feel? Will Vanessa’s step father ever find them? Will there be a happy ever after for Vanessa? You have to read the book to find those answers.
I really enjoyed this book. It got my attention from chapter one. I really like books when they can get my attention that soon in the book. The book seemed to keep going from there with lots of action. I loved the tender romance of Clayton and Vanessa. I thought it was kind of weird that they would get together with such an age difference. In the book we also learn about Vanessa’s brother, Miles. He feels stuck because he wants to help his sister, but feels like he must help his step father too. Miles finally learns to accept God in his life and decides he will do what’s right. I loved how Miles, Vanessa, and even Clayton learned to rely on the Lord for help during the trials they went through in their lives. I also hated that the step father had rights in the eyes of the law even though he abuses her, but I think that was just that time period. Overall, I loved the book and can’t wait to read the second book in this series.
I was given an e-copy of this book through Net Galley and Abingdon Press Publishing. I was not required to give a positive review, but an honest one. This book comes out October 2011. I would recommend it to readers who enjoy romance, historical fiction, or readers who enjoyed the authors Amish fiction novels.