by Linda Lael Miller
rated 4 stars
It's the unforgiving Montana wilderness of 1910, and widowed rancher Lincoln Creed has more worries than rustler, wolves and blizzards. He needs a governess for his young daughter---a respectable lady who can teach Gracie and cook for them, yet who won't set her sights for him.
Disowned for her refusal to marry, Juliana Mitchell saves her love for her students and the two orphans in her care. That is until she meets the handsome rancher, Lincoln, and his Gracie. In the season for miracles, could Providence find a way to bring Juliana, the children, and the Creed family together in time for Christmas Eve?
I love her westerns. It was such a fast read. It's kind of cool to see the beginning of the Creeds. I liked also the side story with Lincoln's brother and his woman who owns the saloon. Anyway, there may be more historicals in this family story. I'd be happy to read them.
I liked that Juliana was a woman of conviction. She could have married the older partner of her brother and lived the life of a wealthy woman. Instead she stands up for what she wants. she decides to become a teacher. She ends up in Montana teaching at the indian school. The indian school closes and she ends up keeping 4 of her "students". Lincoln meets them in the mercantile store where she has figured out that they have nowhere to turn and no money. Lincoln comes to their aid, and takes them home to his ranch.
Juliana falls for Grace, and eventually Lincoln. After the birth of a ranch hands baby, Juliana is exhausted and emotionally spent. Lincoln ends up putting her in bed, and lays down beside her. They fall into an exhausted slumber where Grace finds them the next morning. Zoinks! Busted!!!
Funny, thing that the circuit preacher happens to be coming through the very next day.....Whaddya Know?!
So, they get married, the indian affairs officer finds out about the children that she still has in her care. (they were supposed to be sent to new schools.) He comes on Christmas day and threatens to take the children except that Lincoln who also happens to be a lawyer (How convenient) has been drawing up papers to adopt the 2 indian children who don't have any family and has made arrangements to send the brother and sister who do have family back in the Dakotas, back to their family.
Yay! Then he decides that he does in fact love Juliana, and She fesses up to loving him....Woo Hoo!