Nick is on the train, on his way back to Gerber, Texas, with thoughts of another contract - supplying railroad ties. He can't believe his eyes when he sees Annie, a friend of his sister's, but dressed like a man in buckskins? Annie has been hiding away from society as a buffalo hunter. After all, she shot and killed her husband and has no use for society. She's only going to Gerber to find their runaway cook.
Life takes an interesting twist when Annie finds the cook, only to have the woman run off and leave Annie with her child.
Nick and Annie form a troubled friendship as he helps her find a place to live and she goes to work for him in his business office. Nick's feelings for Annie grow but things get complicated when he receives an appointment as commissioner. He wants to have Annie by his side but that would mean, well, she would have to wear a dress!
Jennings has developed great characters in this novel. Annie, the survivor of a terribly abusive husband, has a great deal to overcome before she can ever enter into another relationship. When the abandoned toddler gets left in her care, it is a healing gift from God. Nick is a godly man who is willing to give Annie time to heal. He has his own challenges when the railroad baron who has provided Nick with contracts now wants to direct his voting as commissioner. Nick realizes he may have to give up his business to remain an honest man.
Both of these characters have appeared in earlier books in the Ladies of Caldwell County series. This book reads very well on its own, however.
This novel is a good historical romance with a little humor, much growth in the characters, and a twist near the end of the book that surprised me so much I did not know how Annie could survive.
Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor. She has worked at The Mustang News and First Baptist Church of Mustang. She lives near Oklahoma City with her husband and four children. You can find out more about her and her books at www.reginajennings.com.
Bethany House Publishers, 352 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.