My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it
Paid to accompany two orphaned siblings to their grandfather in Nebraska, Lily Winter is dismayed to discover the old man has gone missing. And when the children's inheritance makes them a target, buying protection is Lily's only option. Until a handsome gun-for-hire suggests another solution: marriage.
Undercover US Marshal Jake Elder can't reveal his true identity without blowing his mission. Nor can he leave the town's pretty new arrival unguarded. But while uncovering a plot against her charges is difficult and risky, falling for Lily is all too easy. Especially once their marriage in name only gives Jake a glimpse of how wonderful Christmas—and their future as a family—could be.
The quick pace of this book kept me turning the pages in anticipation! Lily quickly becomes devoted and protective of her charges, especially when it becomes apparent that others want to take advantage of them. I admired her tenacity and problem solving instead of falling into the traps being set for her. Jake doesn't appear to be trustworthy, but Lily's shrewd judge of character leads her to believe in him and the group together goes on the hunt while also being hunted. Their growing attraction turns into a sweet romance and I was glad that they didn't fight their feelings and the author allowed the conflict in the plot come from external sources.
(Thank you to the author for a copy of the book; this is my honest review)