cover image An Uncommon Protector

An Uncommon Protector

Shelley Shepard Gray. Zondervan, $15.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-310-34542-8

Post-Civil-War Texas is a tough place for Laurel Tracey, whose brother and father died in the war, and whose mother passed away shortly thereafter. Though 200 acres of land is legally hers, squatters have trespassed, cattle are dying mysteriously, and a former admirer has returned to press his suit for her hand. No wilting lily, Laurel frees a prisoner, former Confederate soldier Thomas Baker, by hiring him as an indentured servant for one year in hopes that he will scare off those threatening her land and help her get the ranch back in shape. A bit short-tempered, Thomas nevertheless proves to have a most worthy character and an honorable history. A sweet attraction flares between them immediately, and their shared faith gives them a foundation from which to withstand their trials. But the development of their relationship lacks spark and is too predictable, as are the overall plot and the identity of her nemesis. The resolution comes far too easily, reflecting the simplicity of the one-plot story. But Thomas’s war buddies spark curiosity and interest, which bodes well for Gray’s Lone Star Hero Love Stories series overall. Agent: Nicole Resciniti, Seymour Agency. (Feb.)