A brief summary from Shelley Shepard Gray:
Overwhelmed by the responsibilities of running a ranch on her own, Laurel Tracey decides to hire a convict—a man who’s just scary enough to take care of squatters and just desperate enough to agree to a one year post.
The years following the war have been hard on Laurel Tracey. Both her brother and her father died in battle, and her mother passed away shortly after receiving word of their demise. Laurel has been trying to run her two hundred acre ranch as best she can.
When she discovers that squatters have settled in her north pasture and have no intention of leaving, Laurel decides to use the last of her money to free a prisoner from the local jail. If she agrees to offer him room and board for one year, he will have to work for her to pay off his debt.
Former soldier Thomas Baker knows he’s in trouble when he finds himself jailed because he couldn’t pay a few fines. Laurel’s offer might be his only ticket out. Though she’s everything he ever dreamed of in a woman—sweet and tender-hearted, yet strong—he’s determined to remain detached, work hard on her behalf, and count the days until he’s free again.
But when cattle start dying and Laurel’s life is threatened, Thomas realizes more than just his freedom is on the line. Laurel needs someone to believe in her and protect her property. And it isn’t long before Laurel realizes that Thomas Baker is far more than just a former soldier. He’s a trustworthy hero, and he needs more than just his freedom—he needs her love and care too.
When squatters begin to take over her homestead, Laurel Tracey realizes she needs help. But who can she turn to in order to save her land? Certainly not her spoiled step-siblings who are pressuring her to sell the land her father left her. But when Laurel sets her sights on a handsome prisoner outside her window doing labor, she wonders if he might be the answer to her prayers. Using every penny she’s saved, Laurel buys the prisoner’s freedom, offering him room and board pending he work for her for an entire year.
Thomas Baker couldn’t be more stunned at the turn of events his life has taken. As a former Sergeant in the war, Thomas owes debts so deep that they landed him in jail. Yet, now he finds himself working for a woman who trusts him, a convict, to save her land from squatters. Its almost too good to believe! While getting a lay of Laurel’s land things seem right fine…until the squatters begin to leave threatening messages. Thomas quickly determines he needs reinforcements and calls the calvary, his former comrades and close friends from his time spent in the war. But will his friends arrive on time to help them save the land? Or, will Laurel lose the only thing left of her family’s heritage?
Shelley Shepard Gray’s An Uncommon Protector is a wonderful sequel to The Loyal Heart in The Lone Star Hero series. This thrilling western will leave you ready to don your cowboy boots and ride into the sunset on horseback! I highly suggest this series as its been fantastic so far! I can’t wait to see what Shelley writes next!
I was graciously provided a free copy of this novel from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.