My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it
When Tilly Hargreaves and her three nieces are stranded at his small stagecoach station in an abandoned town and threatened by outlaws, Nolan West must protect them. And the only way he can do that is by pretending he's married to Tilly. But can the former solider, whose only wish is for solitude, stop himself from growing attached to his temporary family?
Tilly knows the charade is necessary to keep her and the girls safe, but now her heart is in danger. The longer she pretends the stoic station agent is her husband, the more genuine their union feels. Nolan believes he's better off alone, but Tilly's certain that if he'd only open his heart to his make-believe family, he'd want to claim them as his for real.
This western historical is full of suspense and danger throughout the entire book as Tilly and Nolan endure the occupation of the station by villainous outlaws intent on stealing a pending shipment of gold. It seems that nothing goes right for these two as they face obstacle after obstacle. I liked Tilly's cheerful spirit and how it contrasted sharply with Nolan's discouraged attitude, yet over time she helped him lighten the darkness that's plaguing him through her hope and faith. He helps her put things in perspective as well, and that kind of symbiotic friendship was lovely. Their romance is hesitant and full of doubts, and I appreciated that their friendship and support of each other stood strong in spite of that. I was quickly turning pages to see what would happen next and how they would manage to come out on top of such a rough and dangerous situation!
(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)