My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it
An abandoned baby is the last thing town founder Will Canfield expects on his doorstep. He's not the father—and the mother's unknown. But the precious little girl needs a protector. And Will never backs down from a challenge, even if it means caring for a newborn…or dealing with spitfire cattle driver Tomasina Stone.
With her father gone, Tomasina's trail life has ended. Yet becoming a polished city lady feels far out of her reach. All she wants is a place where she'll be appreciated, respected…maybe loved. And the more time she spends helping Will care for the baby, the more she wonders if she's found it. She's never wanted to settle down…but Cowboy Creek—by Will's side—might finally give her heart a lasting home.
Cowboy Creek: Bringing mail-order brides, and new beginnings, to a Kansas boomtown
This is the middle book in the Cowboy Creek trilogy, so it had some continuing plot lines from the first book and provided a set up for the next book. The town is still being harassed by a gang of outlaws and discover some paperwork problems that don't fit the gang's MO which opens the field of suspicion. Daniel and Will also order a bride for their recalcitrant friend Noah, and she arrives in the following book.
The contrast between Will and Tomasina is what stood out to me in this story. At first they butt heads but soon learn to understand and admire each other's point of view. They have great chemistry but allow their differences to get in the way of developing a relationship... until they just can't help themselves of course ;) The baby doesn't play as big of a part of the plot as the synopsis implies- Tomasina actually is involved in a wide variety of jobs in the thriving town until she finds the right one that fits. I enjoyed seeing her transformation as she searches for a new purpose and her friends help her find pleasure in becoming a lady. Her no nonsense and frank way of speaking serves the town well as she shares her opinion on how they can benefit from her ideas. I appreciated that Will respected her as an individual and didn't allow her gender to prevent him from helping her reach her potential.
(I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher; all opinions in this review are my own)