I enjoyed this easy listen, historical romance.

Beth McMurray is an heiress who has been protected and coddled by her family. She never met the man who could hold her regard, so she is now older than most young ladies setting off to get married. She has been wooed by a handsome, debonair senator who hopes to move up in politics. He has convinced Beth to take a train trip to Dallas, supposedly to visit friends, but really to meet and marry him.

Beth decides to surprise him and sneaks onto an earlier train on which the Senator should be traveling. She finds him but he doesn’t know she is there as she is disguised. From the back of the room she overhears, with horror, her betrothed’s true attitude and intentions toward her.
Beth goes to the stock car to be with her beautiful horse. She plans to get off the train and ride away but before she is able to escape, she sees bandits approaching. One man in particular catches her eye as he tries to pull a younger comrade back from the rest. The train crashes and the man saves her from falling to the tracks.

Andrew awakens to discover the beautiful young woman has claimed him as her fiancé. He knows that she saw him as one of the bandits and can’t image why she is defending him. He obviously has to get away from any inquiry into the gang and it appears she is running away from someone too.

Andrew suffered the loss of his young wife years before and plans never to hurt like that again. He is roaming the world as a journalist observing others and keeping his distance. Now he is stuck with a beautiful, albeit spoiled, young woman who apparently needs his protection.

As the two help each other away from their predicaments they begin to find friendship. Could they find more if they open their hearts?

This is a fun, easy going romance. The characters are nicely developed with rather quirky traits. Even the unpleasant former fiancé is a good villain and Beth’s stepfather is a caring, big as life, character. I enjoyed the western setting in Texas 1879 with the mix of frontier dangers and encroaching industrialism.

I have determined that Jodi Thomas always presents a reliable reading experience for me. I have read more of her historical romances, but she crosses well into contemporary. This is a part of a series but read fine as a standalone. I recommend this title and this author to readers who enjoy easy romance, historical or contemporary.

Audio Notes: I found the narration by Linda Stephens to be adequate, but not stellar. I had to get used to her unusual accent (not sure if it was intended to be Texan but it didn’t strike me as such) and it is more of a reading than a portrayal. Still, it was an easy listen and I am glad to have had this in audio format.

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