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.
My Thoughts: There’s lots of ranch-stealing action in Gray’s latest release! With a setting that western readers will appreciate, An Uncommon Protector sends the reader out to a ranch where a lone woman is attempting to salvage her property in spite of the fact that everyone around her seems to think otherwise. Tracey finds more than a ranch hand from the most unlikely person: a former prisoner.
Shelley reminds the reader that honor and worth are not based on a person’s circumstances or their past. While I found that many of the characters’ attributes and thoughts were talked about a bit too repetitively, I think there’s an entertaining story here that many will enjoy. It’s a fast-paced adventure with heart.
Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving An Uncommon Protector 4 stars and recommend it to those who enjoy Christian western or Christian historical.
~ I received a copy from The Fiction Guild. I was not required to give a review and was not compensated in any way. All thoughts are my own.