A Lawman’s Christmas by Linda Lael Miller
The sudden death of the town marshal leaves Blue River, Texas, without a lawman and twenty-five-year-old Dara Rose Nolan without a husband. As winter approaches and her meager seamstress income dwindles, she has three options. Yet she won’t give up her two young daughters, refuses to join the fallen women of the Bitter Gulch Saloon and can’t fathom condemning herself to another loveless marriage. Unfortunately she must decide—soon—because there’s a new marshal in town, and she’s living under his roof.With the heart of a cowboy, Clay McKettrick plans to start a ranch and finally settle down. He isn’t interested in uprooting Dara Rose and her children, but he is interested in giving her protection, friendship—and passion. And when they say “I do” to a marriage of convenience, the temporary lawman’s Christmas wish is to make Dara Rose his permanent wife.
Every once in a while I have a hankering for a cowboy, and since my husband refuses to don a cowboy hat and boots, I turn to Linda Lael Miller. One of my favorite series by her is the McKettrick’s series and boy howdy! Set in 1914 in Texas, A Lawman’s Christmas is the perfect short novel for a cold winter eve. This tale is all about Clay McKettrick the son of Chloe and Jeb. I consumed this in a single afternoon and it certainly got me in the holiday spirit.
Clay McKettrick accepts the job of Marshal in Blue River, Texas and arrives ready to build his own cattle ranch, set down roots and find himself a wife. Dara Rose Nolan the former marshal’s wife is not looking forward to the bleak Christmas she and her girls will face. When the new Marshall arrives she and her girls will have to vacate their home. Refusing to become a fallen woman, she is faced with some horrible options. Clay doesn’t want to uproot this family but when the town mayor decides to sell the marshal home if he isn’t living it, the two enter a marriage of convenience. Dara sees it as a temporary solution but if the smexy lawman gets his way she’ll be more than his wife in name only. The tale that unfolds was bittersweet, heartwarming and gave us a touch of life in 1914.
Miller has a way of creating characters that I quickly come to care for and this tale was no exception. Dara has hard life. She is strong, independent and a good mother to her girls. She holds her head up proudly, even as she doubts her own self-worth. Her daughters Edrina and Harriet are delightful and at times stole the show. They are spunky and inquisitive. Now Clay is all McKettrick and exactly the kind of smexy, loyal, kind, drool worthy cowboy ya all dream about. Did I mention he is devilishly handsome and likes dogs? He and his horse Outlaw are immediately taken with Dara’s children and the romance that unfolded between Dara and Clay was sweet and felt genuine. Townsfolk add interest to the tale and setting. I am especially curious to learn more about the school teacher Miss Alvira Krenshaw and hope we get her story. *hint*
The plot was simple and sweet against the harsh backdrop of this rural town. It delivers a message of love, hope and most of all believing. I loved the town and its people as the general merchant, school house and Saloon came to life. The romance unfolded slowly, despite the “marriage” but given the time period, this type of thing happened every day. The eBook I purchased came with a second novel called Daring Moves and is a contemporary romance.
I recommend A Lawman’s Christmas for fans of historical romance and Christmas themed novels. Linda Leal Miller is one of my favorites and I seem to be never disappointed.
Three and half hot cups of peppermint cocoa out of five