Wed to the Montana Cowboy (Harlequin Historical) - Carol Arens

From city spinster…to cowboy's bride!


Abandoned as a young child, Rebecca Lane has always felt unlovable. Convinced she's too tall and strong-minded to find a husband, she heads West to start a new life on her grandfather's ranch.


Lantree Walker is wary of his employer's beautiful granddaughter. But when Rebecca is threatened, the cowboy does the only thing that will keep her safe -- he marries her! Lantree may have convinced his reluctant bride to take his name, but what will it take to get her into his bed?


Good book. Rebecca has spent most of her life being raised by her aunt. Rebecca's mother abandoned her and disappeared. She grew up to be very tall, which put her at a disadvantage when it came to finding a husband. Her aunt was constantly telling her that she was too tall, too plain, and so on. Rebecca's only friend was her tiny and beautiful cousin Melinda. When her aunt tries to bully Rebecca into an unwanted marriage, she decides it's time to go stay with her grandfather in Montana.


The trip west was long and difficult, but Rebecca was determined. When she arrived in Coulson, the town nearest her grandfather's ranch, it was to find a place of saloons and bawdy houses and not much else. She hired a man to take her to her grandfather's ranch, but he ended up making unwelcome advances, then robbing her and running off. She was rescued by Lantree Walker, who turned out to be her grandfather's foreman.


Lantree has been working for her grandfather for several years. Lantree had been a doctor until losing confidence in himself after an epidemic wiped out most of his town. He is still very protective of the people he cares for, and is suspicious of Rebecca when she arrives. He worries that she is there to take advantage of the old man, and vows to keep an eye on her. He does not expect to be attracted to her.


The relationship between Lantree and Rebecca was very interesting. Their first meeting was pretty funny with each having the wrong impression about the other. I liked that they both found the humor in the misunderstanding. Both of them had sworn that they would remain unmarried. Lantree had lost his fiancee when she blamed him for not being able to save her family. Rebecca  plans to remain unmarried to protect her independence, and because she feels that no one would want her anyway. Lantree's suspicions caused him to keep Rebecca at a distance until he was able to decide if she could be trusted. Once the mistrust was overcome, they developed a friendship. 


That friendship began to change as attraction built between them. Both of them tried to fight it. Lantree is afraid to get involved with someone that he would feel responsible for protecting. He doesn't want to risk failing. Rebecca believes herself to be completely unlovable, and thinks that Lantree is just flirting when he compliments her on her looks or abilities. Though they have no confidence in themselves, they believe in each other. I loved the way that Lantree sees Rebecca's beauty and self-reliance and tries to show Rebecca the truth. Rebecca has complete confidence in Lantree's abilities, not just as a doctor, but as a man who can keep them safe. They still resist the idea of ever being married until their hands are forced by Rebecca's grandfather and circumstances.


They are forced to marry to keep Rebecca safe from those who would use her to make her grandfather cooperate with those who want his trees. She is nearly kidnapped several times. I loved Lantree's patience as he waited for Rebecca to get accustomed to their marriage. He has fallen hard for her, but doesn't think she feels the same way. Meanwhile, Rebecca has also fallen for him, but still doesn't believe in her own appeal. When her cousin arrives, Rebecca is certain that Lantree will wish he were married to her instead. Lantree has to find a way to convince Rebecca that she's the only one he wants.


I also enjoyed the bit of suspense as Lantree and the others fought off those who were trying to steal the trees that Rebecca's grandfather is determined to protect. The actions of the bad guys were quite believable. I loved seeing Rebecca stand up to them. The final confrontation was quite good and had some pretty amusing moments as well. I liked the epilogue and seeing how Rebecca and Lantree are doing a few months later. The addition of some new information about Lantree's brother Boone has me hoping that he will have his own story soon.