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An Uncommon Protector
     

An Uncommon Protector

4.6 19
by Shelley Shepard Gray
 

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Overwhelmed by the responsibilities of running a ranch on her own, Laurel Tracey decides to hire a convict—a man who’s just scary enough to take care of squatters and just desperate enough to agree to a one year post.

The years following the war have been hard on Laurel Tracey. Both her brother and her father died in battle, and her

Overview

Overwhelmed by the responsibilities of running a ranch on her own, Laurel Tracey decides to hire a convict—a man who’s just scary enough to take care of squatters and just desperate enough to agree to a one year post.

The years following the war have been hard on Laurel Tracey. Both her brother and her father died in battle, and her mother passed away shortly after receiving word of their demise. Laurel has been trying to run her two hundred acre ranch as best she can.

When she discovers that squatters have settled in her north pasture and have no intention of leaving, Laurel decides to use the last of her money to free a prisoner from the local jail. If she agrees to offer him room and board for one year, he will have to work for her to pay off his debt.

Former soldier Thomas Baker knows he’s in trouble when he finds himself jailed because he couldn’t pay a few fines. Laurel’s offer might be his only ticket out. Though she’s everything he ever dreamed of in a woman—sweet and tender-hearted, yet strong—he’s determined to remain detached, work hard on her behalf, and count the days until he’s free again.

But when cattle start dying and Laurel’s life is threatened, Thomas realizes more than just his freedom is on the line. Laurel needs someone to believe in her and protect her property. And it isn’t long before Laurel realizes that Thomas Baker is far more than just a former soldier. He’s a trustworthy hero, and he needs more than just his freedom—he needs her love and care too.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
01/09/2017
Post-Civil-War Texas is a tough place for Laurel Tracey, whose brother and father died in the war, and whose mother passed away shortly thereafter. Though 200 acres of land is legally hers, squatters have trespassed, cattle are dying mysteriously, and a former admirer has returned to press his suit for her hand. No wilting lily, Laurel frees a prisoner, former Confederate soldier Thomas Baker, by hiring him as an indentured servant for one year in hopes that he will scare off those threatening her land and help her get the ranch back in shape. A bit short-tempered, Thomas nevertheless proves to have a most worthy character and an honorable history. A sweet attraction flares between them immediately, and their shared faith gives them a foundation from which to withstand their trials. But the development of their relationship lacks spark and is too predictable, as are the overall plot and the identity of her nemesis. The resolution comes far too easily, reflecting the simplicity of the one-plot story. But Thomas’s war buddies spark curiosity and interest, which bodes well for Gray’s Lone Star Hero Love Stories series overall. Agent: Nicole Resciniti, Seymour Agency. (Feb.)
4 stars RT Book Reviews
'A sweet historical romance with charming, caring characters with an interesting story. The female lead, Laurel, is a breath of fresh air. She isn't the typical woman of the 1860s; she is gutsy and tough. The storyline is fast-paced and believable with memorable scenes. Gray brings the past alive with her novels. This one is a keeper.'
Library Journal
02/01/2017
In post-Civil War Texas, Laurel Tracey is the last surviving member of her family; she needs help running her 200-acre ranch. Thomas Baker is a former soldier, jailed for nonpayment of fines. The two make a deal: he'll work for her for one year and she'll bail him out. They work tirelessly to hold the ranch, while trying to ignore the electric currents flowing between them. After a threat is made on Laurel's life and her livestock mysteriously die, both realize it's time to stop pretending they don't care for each other. Although better known for her Amish fiction, Gray ("Heart of a Hero" romances) launches a new Texas historical series and once again demonstrates her skill at establishing an authentic Western setting and strong, memorable characters. The tense story line and suspenseful tone will have readers rooting for Thomas and Laurel the whole way. VERDICT Gray's ardent fans will line up for this one.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780310345428
Publisher:
Zondervan
Publication date:
02/07/2017
Series:
A Lone Star Hero?s Love Story
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
44,018
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail. Find Shelley on her website, www.shelleyshepardgray.com, on Facebook: ShelleyShepardGray, and on Twitter @ShelleySGray.

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An Uncommon Protector 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
lolly-pops 2 days ago
First, the disclaimer. "I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own." That done, AN UNCOMMON PROTECTOR is the second book in the A Lone Star Hero's series, but it stands alone. I didn't read the first book A Loyal Heart and had no trouble following along with this book. I mostly read Ms. Gray's Amish series, but have read one of her historicals in the past so decided to give this one a try. It has an interesting premise. Single girl losing ranch so she hires a convict (when he's release on (sort of) parole or really sold on the auction block) to work for her to save the ranch. When Laurel brings Thomas home, her step-siblings rebel, attempting to call her bluff, and with no money or place to stay, walked eight miles to town. Laurel let them go. I didn't like the step-siblings at all. I did like Thomas' outspokenness, though he was inappropriate much of the time, and I'm glad he was a man of honor even if he did have a rather low opinion of himself. Laurel is learning to be outspoken, so she is struggling to find the fine footing between being a genteel lady and being owner of a ranch and forced to make her own decisions for herself and others. Ms. Gray isn't real big on faith messages, her books are more sweet romances with little to no mention of faith, so this book shouldn't be offensive to anyone (even if they are anti-Christian). If you like a strong faith message, look further, but if you like sweet romances, then Ms. Gray is a writer to consider. Her books are fun, imagitive, and light-hearted. Warning: there is use of God's name in vain and so me soft swear words.
Jaquelyn 7 days ago
This book was a lot of fun to read. An Uncommon Protector is the second book in the Lone Star Hero Love Story series. I have read the first book in the series, and really enjoyed it. That being said, you don't need to read it in order to enjoy this story. We first met some of the smaller characters in The Loyal Heart, and it was fun to see them again. The series follows a group of soldiers who spent some time together in war, and then in a prison camp. This book follows Sergeant Thomas Baker as he goes from spending time in a jail cell to protecting Laurel and her ranch. Thomas hasn't had an easy life, and being mistreated isn't anything new. Being in jail is no fun, and he can't wait to be free again. When his freedom comes in the form of a beautiful lady, he doesn't know if he should be happy, or if he's set up for torture for the next year. Laurel is not only beautiful, but everything he would want in a woman. Being around her makes him want to protect her all the more, even if he knows she is too good for him. When strange things start happening around the ranch Thomas doesn't know where to begin looking to find the culprit. Someone wants to take her ranch, and he's going to do everything in his power to keep them from succeeding. Will they both find out how perfect they are for each other? Or will the stress push them even father apart? I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Historical Romance with just the right amount of suspense mixed in. I loved that Laurel wasn't afraid to give her opinion, and didn't mind getting her hands dirty. She was a fun heroine and still the perfect match for the manly hero. What woman doesn't love a big protective war veteran? I received a copy of this book from Zondervan Publishing in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own.
Nicnac63 7 days ago
Oh…I love it when a book surprises me. And I love it when a book plays through my head like a movie. An Uncommon Protector is the first book I’ve read by Shelley Shepard Gray. It’s also one of the few stories I’ve read that take place during the Civil War era. What a unique and memorable read! Tilting her chin down, she made sure to keep her pace steady. And tried not to think about how one man’s attention could rattle her so much. ~Excerpt Laurel Tracey is a very kind and likeable character, and it’s easy to sympathize with her situation. She is soft, charitable, and womanly, but has a streak of spunk and doggedness. Though the cover art is lovely, it depicts her as thin and dainty, while in the book she’s described as curvy, soft, and perhaps even plump. I wish the cover depiction were more on point. Thomas Baker is the main reason I rate this story with five stars. He is a fascinating, robust, manly, super-flawed man with a whole lot of heart. Swoon! I love how he surprises me, how he’s good yet flawed, tough yet altruistic. I have a vivid picture of him in my mind… Have you ever seen the classic movie, Cool Hand Luke, starring a young Paul Newman? That is Thomas Baker. He is handsome, tough, charming, and gritty—allowing his mouth to get him in heaps of trouble. I won’t soon forget him. Thomas had never been one for compassion, but even he couldn’t deny the appeal of a beautiful woman who was in need of a protector. ~Excerpt As I mentioned before, this story surprised me. Not only in plot, but also how quickly it sucked me in, and the profound effect the characters had on me. There are some mildly violent scenes, but I consider this a clean, realistic, and fascinating read. Loved it! 5 Stars Cover: Love Title: Love Pages: 320 Series: A Lone Star Hero’s Love Story Publisher: Zondervan ISBN: 978-0310345428 First Lines (Chapter 1): Everyone said they were dangerous. Laurel assumed it must be true. But that didn’t stop her from taking another peek out her open sitting room window at one specific prisoner. I received a complimentary copy of from BookLook.
KrisAnderson_TAR 8 days ago
An Uncommon Protector by Shelley Shephard Gray is the second book in A Lone Star Hero’s Love Story. It is July 1867 in Sweetwater, Texas. Laurel Tracey has a hard time running the Red Roan Ranch. Laurel has seen squatters on her land, and she needs someone who is strong and forceful (and a little scary) to assist her with the running of the ranch. Laurel gets an idea when she overhears the prisoners, who have been working on her ranch, talking about when one of them is eligible for release. A convict can get early release at a type of sale. A person can “buy” the prisoner for one year. They are provided lodging and food while they work the next year to pay off their debt. Laurel decides that Thomas Baker (a former Sergeant) would be the perfect person to assist her. Thomas is glad for the chance to get out of jail especially after the whipping he received from guard, Foster Howell. Laurel purchases Baker despite opposition. Laurel’s stepsiblings object to Baker’s presence at the house (the moochers), and they are backed by neighbor, Landon Marshall. Laurel refuses to back down and her stepsiblings immediately depart (for which Laurel is very grateful). Baker’s presence proves valuable when a dead calf is left on Laurel’s doorstep. Someone poisoned the poor animal. This is just the beginning of troubles for Laurel. Someone is trying to drive her out, and they will do whatever it takes to achieve their goal. Baker is not going to let someone drive Laurel off her land. He telegrams his old unit for assistance in fighting these bandits. But who is behind these attacks? As time passes, Laurel sees the good man behind the rough exterior and starts to fall for him. Baker admires Laurel and cannot help falling her for her. But he does not feel worthy of such a lady. To find out what happens, you will need to read An Uncommon Protector. An Uncommon Protector is the second book in the series, but it can be read alone. The author does provide updates on the characters from The Loyal Heart (first book in series). I found An Uncommon Protector to be well-written and it has good characters. It has a nice, light Christian theme (it was just right). I did find that the romance was predictable (you knew they would end up together in the end). I give An Uncommon Protector 3 out of 5 stars. I could identify the party behind the attacks very early in the book (it was very obvious). The take down of the bad guys was a little rushed and a bit of a letdown. The pace of the book is a little slow especially during the “thinking” sections. There are many areas of the book where the two main characters are thinking (mostly about each other). I did not enjoy the flashbacks into Baker’s time in the POW camp during the Civil War. These sections provide insight into Thomas Baker’s character, but there were too many of them. I felt they took away from the book (the reader just gets into the story and then we go back in time). Please be aware that there is violence against animals that is very disturbing (and upsetting). I am not the right audience for An Uncommon Protector. I do, though, look forward to reading other novels from Shelley Shepard Gray in the future (I love her Amish novels).
CollieRescueMom 9 days ago
An Uncommon Protector is the second of Shelley Shepherd Gray’s new series: Lone Star Hero. This book continues the story found in The Loyal Heart of a group of Confederate Soldiers thrown together as prisoners of war. The long, restless hours has the men sharing stories of home and loved ones; their situation, a great leveler of rank and social standing. As the war comes to an end, the men take an oath to take care of each other whenever and wherever the need arises. In An Uncommon Protector, former soldier Thomas Baker ends up in jail when he cannot pay his gambling debts. His luck is about to change when Laurel Tracey faces her inability to take care of the 200 acre ranch she inherits when her father and brother died in the war. Laurel ‘buys’ Thomas for a year promising to provide room and board in exchange for Thomas working as a ranch hand. These two strong, and strong-willed, characters find themselves thrown together by fate. The unfolding of their struggles and eventual caring for one another makes for a story you won’t want to end. Gray’s characters are so well developed, you truly care for them. The story is so well told, you can hear the crinolines rustling as Laurel moves in and out of her troubles as well as Thomas’s. Five stars for this enjoyable book that will keep you reading long after you should have turned out the light!
MPruett 10 days ago
An Uncommon Protector is the first Shelley Shepard Gray book I have read and it most certainly won't be the last. This book is so good that I devoured every word in one afternoon. An Uncommon Protector true in historical detail and richness. Shelley Shepard Gray did a phenomenal job bringing visual accuracy and personal interest to each person represented in the book. You feel as though you are right there in the book and that you are truly invested in the outcome. Laurel Tracey inherits Red Roan Ranch as the only living heir after her father and brother die in the war and her mother and stepfather pass due to influenza. Laurel is left all alone except for two step sibling who are wanting her to sell her property. Laurel is trying to save her failing cattle ranch but between her step siblings taking advantage of her and squatters she is exhausted. Laurel needs help saving her ranch and that is when she crosses paths with former soldier Thomas Baker who is a prisoner serving a jail sentence for a gambling debt that he could not repay. He was assigned to help fix her fence as a charitable deed and she was drawn to him from the first moment she saw him. In a brief conversation with Thomas,Laurel finds out that he is up for release the following day if someone hires him for a year. That is exactly what Laurel does with the little funds that she does have so that he can help her grow her ranch back to the way it used to be and in the process it grows Laurel and Thomas in ways they never expected. This is such a pure and wholesome book,faith and redemption is so prevalent throughout. This is an amazing book and I would recommend it to everyone, it has something for anyone who just needs a little calm in this stormy world. I will truly be reading many,many more Shelley Shepard Gray books in the near future.
MeezCarrie 11 days ago
Y’all just go ahead and get your fans and fainting couches handy, ok? Because Thomas Baker will have you swooning before the first chapter is finished. His rakish grin, his handsome figure, his rogueish thoughts … whew. Maybe just go on ahead and sit by the nearest snowbank while you’re reading this too. Or, if your weather is miserably unwintry like Kentucky’s, read by the open freezer door. Besides Thomas and all his swooniliciousness, we also get to meet Laurel. She’s a fantastic heroine, strong enough to hold her own yet vulnerable enough to admit she needs help. The chemistry between these two is palpable and electric from the instant their eyes first meet and just gets better as their story progresses. Both protagonists already have compelling backstories that give dimension to their characters, and the way these stories are presented – as well as the growth that each experiences along the way – makes these two of my favorite of Gray’s characters! Bottom Line: An Uncommon Protector is a story bursting with everything western romance fans are looking for. Bits of intriguing history woven throughout, fantastic characters, humor, sincerity, and some sizzle too! Enhancing the story even further is a bit of mystery/suspense that keeps tensions high (and brings out Thomas’ protective side quite nicely) as well as the message of redemption and “value” that is subtle but also clear and sweet. While this is part of a series, it can certainly be read as a stand alone novel. I always love a new Shelley Shepard Gray read, but this one is a new fave! (I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.)
kp68 11 days ago
An Unknown Protector is the latest tale in Shelley Shepard Gray's series entitled A Lone Star Hero's Love Story. Thomas Baker is finally free from his time at the Johnson's Island POW camp; however, before he knows it, Thomas has lost money while gambling with some wealthy men in Texas and finds himself in prison yet again! Laurel Tracey has been trying to keep her family ranch afloat ever since her mother and stepfather passed away. When her step-brother and step-sister seem unwilling to carry their weight, Laurel decides to put down money to purchase help. She hires Thomas Baker, a man who has just been released from jail, to help her protect and work on her property for one year . Thomas finally is able to enjoy his freedom; until, strange occurrences begin to happen around the ranch. When a dead calf is found at Laurel's front door, Laurel and Thomas begin to look around the ranch for clues to what could be behind this strange occurrence. When someone begins firing at him and Laurel while they are out searching, Thomas knows it is time to call in additional help! When Thomas was at the POW camp, he made friends with his fellow inmates. As they left to build a new life for themselves, they had vowed to be there for each other whenever the need arose. So you are not surprised, when suddenly three former soldiers appear at Laurel's ranch to help identify who might be behind this dangerous activity. It is interesting to see how these men work together to find the answer. Are Laurel's siblings up to know good or is it someone else in town out to cause Laurel problems? Hang on to see who is the true culprit! I received this book from Zondervan in exchange for my unbiased review. http://penlessreview.blogspot.com/
Kimwills 12 days ago
A uncommon protector review : Shelley Shepard Gray For Laurel Tracey life had been difficult in the years following the war.. Her brother and her father died in battle.. After losing her mother a few years later.. Laurel was left as sole owner to care for Red Roan Ranch .Laurel is determined to protect her families ranch and to keep it going... After the discovery of squatters settling onto the ranch Laurel realizes she can't do this alone... As a kind hearted God loving woman Laurel frees a prisoner Thomas Baker from the local jail in exchange for helping her out on the ranch for 1 year... Thomas Baker was a former soldier who was thrown into jail on a gambling debt.. Despite the gossip from her town and her reputation being damaged for hiring a convict. Laurel believes in Thomas and gives him is self respect back and a chance to redeem his life... An unlikely union leads to an incredibly amazing love story between two people that needed each other... If you are a fan of historical fiction this book is definitely a must read... I highly recommend it !!
Anonymous 13 days ago
Let me state that I really love a good romance interwoven into a really good story line. this book fits the bill. A rich story line and beautiful historical detail. The way Ms. Gray uses her descriptions you feel as if you are right there in the story walking beside the characters. Christianity is woven through the tapestry of the storyline and the characters with all their flaws that make them seem so real. I love it when authors nail this aspect. It really makes the book so much better. Thomas and Laurel are a wonderful match. Their romance builds throughout the story. It isn't rushed. The way we see them grow throughout the book, the suspense, and an altogether beautiful story kept me coming back for more.
JLYoung 13 days ago
Great book full of twists and turns! Full of action, romance, suspense and comedy even. I loved the theme of redemption that played out throughout the story. Just when I thought I could predict what would happen something else would happen and throw my prediction off. I enjoy books that aren't predictable from the beginning. This was just that. I could picture the story as it happened. The author is very descriptive and really brings the entire story to life! It would make a great movie. Trying to keep this review free of spoilers, I would have loved for the book to have an epilogue. I wanted more. I was sad it was over. Loved the story and couldn't put it down. I was late for a meeting because of this book!
ConR 13 days ago
This book has to be the best I have read thus far of Shelley's. It deserves to stand beside any other classic Western I have read, and at the first of the line. What a marvelous story of honor and loyalty!!! For those who are interested, it is a clean read yet sizzles with romantic tension. I absolutely recommend that you move quickly to your favorite book retailer and pre-order this book. I was given a copy in exchange for a fair and honest review. I am grateful for the privilege of being able to read and recommend this book to others.
LizD1 13 days ago
An Uncommon Protector ( A Lone Star Hero’s Love Story) By: Shelley Shepard Gray An Uncommon Protector is book two in A Lone Star Hero’s Love Story by Shelley Shepard Gray. Wow, Ms Gray captured me at the start and did not let go till the end. She weaves an uncommon love story that will have you trying to read faster, and turn the pages faster to see what is going to happen next. I really loved Laura Tracey and Thomas Baker, the two main character who was really brave and strong. Laura lost all her family except a step brother and a step sister who does not want to help Laura out on the ranch. She needs some help bad. Thomas Baker is in jail for not paying his debts. I liked the friendship he had with some friend, they were true bond brothers. Thomas takes a liking to Laura right away, but he thinks he is not good enough for her. He wants to protect her. He was my kind of hero. This story will steal your heart and leave you with wanting more. I was given a complimentary copy of this book, but was not told that I had to give a positive review. All opinions are my own.
hplady 14 days ago
An Uncommon Protector Shelley Shepard Gray Fans of historical fiction will love this book set just after the Civil War in Fort Worth, Texas. In this story, which is the second in Gray’s Lone Star Heroes series, we meet Laurel and Thomas. Laurel lost her father and brother in the war; shortly thereafter she loses her mother and stepfather as well. She is trying hard to hold on to her family’s cattle ranch, even though her step-siblings want her to sell out. Thomas is a former soldier who spent part of the war in captivity on Johnson’s Island with a group of men anyone would be lucky to know. He is now a convict, put in jail for failing to pay his debts from a poker game. Laurel purchases Thomas for one year to in exchange for his freedom. She needs his help to run the ranch. There have been problems with squatters and she can’t handle it all on her own. Thomas is only there one day when trouble begins in earnest. Someone wants Laurel to sell so bad that they are willing to kill her cattle, poison her creeks, and shoot at the two of them. As they try to figure out what is happening, Thomas calls on his friends from Johnson’s Island (some of whom we already met in The Loyal Heart, book 1). The adventure is exciting and love is in the air from the first page of the book. Laurel and Thomas very clearly care for each other, but they must work through their own personal thoughts and what society deems acceptable. Will they find love in the end? Will Laurel save her ranch? Read the book and see! It is totally worth it! I received a free copy of this book for my honest review from NetGalley.
conniet729 14 days ago
I am a huge fan of this author and have loved so many of her books. This book was a great edition to her work. It is set in my favorite time period. The writing allows me to picture the scenes as they unfold around me. I had not read the first book in the series, but I had NO Issue with following along. The characters are well written. I loved this story. I hope there are more in the series. I received an advance copy of the book in exchange for my opinion - all reviews are my own.
Britney_Adams 15 days ago
This lone star hero’s love story captivated me from beginning to end! Laurel Tracey and Thomas Baker are strong characters and the challenges they faced kept me turning the pages to find out what would happen next. The occasional flashbacks to 1865 Johnson’s Island provide readers with background information about Thomas, and I really enjoyed these glimpses into his past. The friendship between Thomas and his band of brothers is inspiring, as is their fierce loyalty. While Thomas is an uncommon protector for Laurel, he proves to be an exceptional hero. An engaging blend of mystery and romance, I loved An Uncommon Protector and can’t wait to continue this wonderful series! I received a complimentary copy of this book. No review was required, and all thoughts expressed are my own.
pattiagal 16 days ago
An Uncommon Protector by Shelley Shepard Gray is the second book in the Lone Star Heroes Series. It is a beautifully written story that grabs you from the beginning. The premise of the three book series takes the reader through the lives of a small group of men who served together during the Civil War and were later held captive with one another in a Yankee prison. They vowed to always help each other no matter the distance. This story takes us to Sweetwater, Texas to the ranch of Laurel Tracey. Laurel inherited it after the deaths of her parents. It is her legacy but it has fallen on to hard times. To make matters worse, someone seems to be sabotaging her efforts to get ahead. Enter Sergeant Thomas Baker who is serving time in the town jail for a gambling debt. Laurel buys Thomas's freedom, and he in turn must work for her for one year. A spark ignites between these two almost immediately, but the fact is, they need to remain to be employer and employee to make things work. Life for Laurel becomes dangerous as her animals are poisoned, ranch lands set on fire, and she and Thomas are shot at. Shelley Shepard Gray knows her stuff. This novel is well researched. The setting is so well described that you can almost feel the sweat and taste the grit in your mouth from the Texas heat. As with the first book in the series, The Loyal Heart, the ambience of post Civil War Texas is alive and well. I enjoyed this book immensely. I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and the author in exchange for an honest review.
GrandaddyA 18 days ago
Laurel Tracey was not perfect but she would rank up there with the saints in my book because of how much she had tried to do to help her step-brother and step-sister after the deaths of her mother and step-father. Red Roan Ranch belonged to her free and clear but they recklessly squandered all of their inheritance and then came to Laurel expecting her to support them and do their bidding while they never lifted a finger to do anything but take. I am fairly certain I would have been less than charitable about handing out money for them to spend on their selfish desires while I ran the ranch and took care of the house on my own. But that is not the real story here. Laurel needed help with the ranch, particularly in dealing with squatters on her land. Thomas Baker, a former sergeant in the Confederate army and an ex-POW, has ended up in jail because of gambling debts he could not pay. Laurel sees a way to save her ranch, but will it work? She has turned down several offers from other ranchers to buy it. What is she going to do? Can Thomas be the answer to her prayers? The personalities of Laurel and Thomas had some similarities. They both seemed to question if they were good enough to find true love and acceptance. Shelley Shepard Gray weaves a lot of Thomas’s background into the story to show how far he had come from his childhood days as an orphan until he had found himself in jail at the age of 22. He was far from perfect himself, with a lot of rough edges but he was a work in progress. The action, suspense, and romance mount through the story. The squatters were Laurel’s major concern when she paid to have Thomas freed from the local jail to help her but that quickly became a minor concern when they realize they are under attack. How can a man and a woman ever get out of the predicament they have found themselves in? I recommend this book. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
Mar-J 23 days ago
An Uncommon Protector continues the story of Sergeant Thomas Baker, who was one of the soldiers that vowed to care for his fellow comrades while they were prisoners in the Confederate States of America Officers’ POW camp. An Uncommon Protector is set in Sweetwater, Texas. Laurel Tracey inherited the family two hundred ranch after the death of her parents. It’s all she has to call her own. Her step siblings want her to sell the farm as they want the money while they are of no service to Laurel in running the ranch. Events are happening all around Laurel and the ranch to force her to sell. Sergeant Thomas Baker along with other prisoners from the county jail was on the ranch helping to mend fences. Laurel was drawn to Baker and offered water to the prisoners. When Laurel realized Baker would be up for auction the next day on the town square, she journey there to purchase him. Her purchase price for Baker’s freedom would ensure that he would work for her for one year. The first night after Baker became Laurel’s employee a dead calf was placed on her front porch. Laurel was alarmed with who had done this hideous crime as she had seen squatters on her land. Baker’s willingness to protect Laurel ignited something within both of them that needed to be guarded since their relationship was strictly to be employee and employer. When unexpected actions kept transpiring without the sheriff really being concerned; however, an overly zealous neighbor that wanted Laurel as his spouse and to own her land offered his assistance along with her step-siblings. Will Laurel and Thomas feel safe? Thomas had strong faith that everything would work out for Laurel, but he reached out to his prison buddies Captain Monroe, Major Kelly and Lieutenant Traux. Will their arrival and training benefit Laurel and Thomas in finding their offenders? Gray has researched this series thoroughly as illustrated in the marvelous plot and story for An Uncommon Protector. The hero and heroine had their struggles yet their integrity, faith, determination, and fortitude kept them fighting to save Laurel’s family ranch. The vivid descriptive words had me right in the moment—whether it was the heat of the day or the delicious meal Laurel prepared. My senses and emotions were on alert as the plot unfolded with unexpected drama that kept me turning the pages. An Uncommon Protector has history, drama, suspense, romance and faith interwoven to give readers a beautiful post Civil War story. Gray’s books are powerful and vivid with characters that are not forgettable along with a story that will remain with readers. Book three centering on the lives of Major Kelly and Captain Monroe cannot be released soon enough for this reader. The vow these soldiers made while in prison will demonstrate the bond and brotherhood they shared during the Civil War along with providing support and assistance when one of them was in need. I received An Uncommon Protector from NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review, but have shared my sincere thoughts about An UnCommon Protector.