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A Lawmanís Christmas
by Linda Lael Miller
(HQN, $16.95, PG-13) 978-0-373-77614-6
***
A Lawmanís Christmas is part of Linda Lael Millerís McKettrick Series. There are ten books in all and this one is set in 1914 in Blue River, Texas. Last year we met the present day McKettrick brothers of Texas and this story tells us how the McKettrickís got there. It is a sweet and joyful story of happy endings and believing in the miracles of Christmas.

Clay McKettrick wants to make a name for himself. He is Jeb and Chloeís son and part of the big McKettrick family from the Northern Arizona Territory, but he wants to build his own ranch and raise his own family. He finds himself in Blue River, Texas and for now he will work as the town marshal. Next year he will build his ranch and start a new McKittrick legacy.

Dora Rose Nolan lost her husband, the previous marshal, last year. She has two small children and has been struggling to make ends meet. The marshal job comes with the house she is currently living in and she knows when the new marshal arrives, she is going to be homeless. She doesnít know what do to. There are a few non-desirable options for her, but they donít include her children and there is no way she is going to send them off to an orphanage.

When Clay departs the train in Blue River he is met by a young girl, Edrina. He can tell right away that Edrina is very witty and smart well beyond her years. Clayís first action as marshal is to see Edrina home. She should be in school and is only bound to get herself in trouble for skipping. When they arrive at Edrinaís house, Clay realizes that itís the house that he was promised. When Clay sees Dora Rose for the first time he is completely smitten. Her strong tongue and fiery attitude makes him like her even more. There is no way Clay is going to kick this family out of their home.

Clay canít get Dora Rose out of his mind. He wants a wife and family and those thoughts lead right to Dora Rose, but he just met her. He decides to stay at the jailhouse bunk and agrees to let Dora Rose and her two kids stay in the house until spring. Besides, Christmas is just a few weeks away.

The town is in desperate need for money. They spent everything running electricity to the town. If the marshal isnít going to move into that house owned by the town, then they are going to sell it. Dora Rose goes into hysterics when she finds out. Edrina has never seen her mother like this, so she goes to Clay for help. Clay has a solution. He will marry Dora Rose and live in the house with them. He sells the idea to Dora Rose as a marriage of convenience and she accepts, as itís the best option she has. Clayís goal now is to gain Dora Roseís trust and convince her that the marriage doesnít have to be convenience, but can be for love.

A Lawmanís Christmas is light-hearted and touching. Dora Rose is a commendable character who has been through a lot in her life and her strength is what gets her through every situation. She wonít settle for less and her ultimate goal is to provide for her kids and keep them together as a family, even if she does have to take a gamble marrying a man she just met.

Clay is the perfect guy. Heís a gentleman and driven by a goal to build a family. He hopes to provide a legacy for that family, just like his Grandfather Angus did in Arizona. Dora Rose enamors him, but his biggest task is going to be convincing her that their relationship can be real.

A Lawmanís Christmas is an easy read. Itís short and flows well with smooth dialogue that carries the story through each scene. Iím a fan of the McKettrick series, so I enjoyed A Lawmanís Christmas and would recommend it to other McKettrick fans although non McKettrick readers may not appreciate it as much.

--Nichole Howell


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