Stone Hammond is the best tracker in Texas. He never comes home empty-handed. So when a wealthy railroad investor hires him to find his abducted granddaughter, Stone eagerly accepts.
Charlotte Atherton, former headmistress of Sullivan’s Academy for Exceptional Youths, will do anything to keep her charges safe, especially the little girl entrusted to her care after her mother’s death. Charlotte promised Lily’s mother she’d keep the girl away from her unscrupulous grandfather, and nothing will stop Charlotte from fulfilling that pledge. Not even the handsome bounty hunter with surprisingly honest eyes who comes looking for them.
When the teacher he’s after produces documentation that shows she’s the little girl’s legal guardian, Stone must reevaluate everything he’s been led to believe. Is Miss Atherton villain or victim? She acts more like a loving mother than an abductress, and the children in her care clearly adore her.
Then a new danger threatens, and Charlotte is forced to trust the man sent to destroy her. Stone becomes determined to protect what he once sought to tear apart. Besides, he’s ready to start a new pursuit: winning Charlotte’s heart.
One of the many things I loved about the characters in this books was how strong Charlotte was when placed in a difficult situation. She didn’t seek a man to help her, instead she found a way to solve the problem. Charlotte’s back story is vital to understanding her motives. She comes from a broken home where she saw her father break his vows, a mother who abandoned her, and she’s betrayed by a man she loves. When she becomes the legal guardian of Lily, nothing is going to stop her from keeping the child safe.
I love how Charlotte’s control issues are balanced with her mothering side. She’s a mother to each of the children in her care at the school. She loves these children and they adore her. I think the children add a fun element to book. Their personalities made me laugh several times, especially Lily.
The hero is your typical historical lead, he’s rough around the edges, but under that gruff he’s looking for someone to love him. He wants a home and children. As a reader you see the match and know it’s a good one, but the characters fight it which makes this book a good read.
I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.