Laurel Tracey is concerned. Trying to run a two hundred acre ranch by herself is more than she can handle. Her step siblings are no help at all and treat her really bad. And now she's having problems with squatters. Laurel's neighbor (whom she's known along time) would be more than happy to marry her and add her land to his, but she's not comfortable with that idea. The Sheriff, wanting to help Laurel, sends some of the prisoners out to work on her fence. She's finds herself intrigued with Thomas Baker. A prisoner that's a bit scary yet also a gentleman. She overhears that he could be free the next day if there's a buyer when they auctioned him off. Feeling like she's willing to take a chance, she gathers the last of her money and buys Thomas Baker's freedom. In exchange, he agrees to work for Laurel for one year. Thomas is totally taken with this woman who is so strong yet so tender-hearted. He knows there could never be anything between them, but he's vowed to protect her with his life, if necessary. The attraction between Laurel and Thomas is strong but Thomas knows it's in both their best interest if he keeps his distance. That becomes next to impossible when their lives are on the line. When things begin happening that Thomas feels he just can't safely handle on his own, he calls on his former soldier friends for help. And they always abide by the promise they made years ago.
Another great story! Loved getting to know Thomas and Laurel. They were really good characters. The story's opening was a little slow for me but it did lay the ground work for what was to come. Throughout the story you get glimpses (with flashbacks) of the relationship Thomas had with his fellow POWs and the reason they are always there for each other. I loved their comradery and how they interacted together. I also appreciated how Thomas was with Laurel. Kind, sweet and gentle. The idea of maintaining your faith in the Lord even in difficult circumstances shined through and was encouraging to the reader. Overall this was a good story and a good addition to the series. You could read it as a stand alone but there is the thread of friendship running through each story which is why I would recommend reading them in order. Now, I look forward to Love Held Captive!
*This complimentary copy was provided by Zondervan through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Some favorite moments:
Men didn't go around saying such things to gently bred women. They most certainly did not speak of the female form and attributes in mixed company....Of course, if he was being completely truthful, he didn't deserve all the blame. The problem was partly Miss Laurel's doing. The Lord had been generous with his gifts to her. Actually, she had a whole plethora of attributes that most of the male population would find difficult to ignore.
Most of the time he'd been given only the leftovers, what no one else wanted. His only exception had been his relationships with the other men in Captain Monroe's unit. Those were the best men he'd ever met, and he'd felt as if the Lord had given him those men's regard as a gift for all that he'd endured in his lifetime.
Johnson's Island had one thing Thomas was fond of, and that was lightning bugs. He spent a great many hours watching their flickering lights dance across the camp and light up over the calm waters as though they were stars falling from the sky. Their dancing and darting had become a source of hope for him. Thomas liked to think their appearance in his life was a sign from God, a reminder that good could be found anywhere and at any time. One just needed to have his eyes open and be watchful.
If your interested in more information about this book or other books by this author I recommend you visit her website at http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com