** spoiler alert ** Jo Beth McCoy is the definition of a tomboy, but one thing is clear: when she meets the Marshall’s newly arrived niece, there is a strong emotional connection. The two form an instant bond and are quite the pair.
Jo Beth is the strongest, wiliest, most unafraid woman in Cimmaron Springs. She can out fight, outshoot and out-argue any man in town, which makes her a perfect match for gruff and tumble, no nonsense Marshall Garrett Cain.
Cain has a “dark past”– he’s the son of a man who murdered his wife and then himself, leaving Garrett and his sister Dierdre to fend for themselves. Years later, Deirdre and her husband have perished in a house fire and his nice, Cora, is left to him. Garrett is up for the challenge, but his Uncle Edward has something to say about that. He intends to take Cora unless the Marshall can prove he’s a fit parent.
But the Marshall can’t. His job is dangerous and crime often doesn’t take the night off. There’s a group of cowboys that ride through town causing trouble, a drunkard hell bent on making life miserable for Jo and Garrett and an unsolved murder. He needs to acquire a wife, and soon. Enter Jo Beth McCoy, who’s willing to marry Garrett out of convenience. She’s never been one for love or flirting- all of the boys in town have always laughed at her plain, tomboyish appearance and picked on her unlady like ways. This doesn’t matter to Garrett, though. And soon this marriage of convenience becomes so much more than either of them bargained for.
I really enjoyed the story, here. I do love a historical novel, especially a historical romance. I like imagining life in a much simpler time, in a place where all of the townspeople might know your business but they’re also always willing to help when necessary. I found the story easy to read, though it did drag a bit leading up to the wedding. At 60%, Jo Beth and Garrett were still going back and forth, trying to give each other an out. When they finally marry, the ceremony seems beautiful. Afterward, I like Jo Beth’s musing that marriage ‘seems like a lonely affair’.
This is a well written novel with a great, satisfying ending. It’s nice to see an inspirational novel that doesn’t shove religion down the reader’s throat.