The Accidental Guardian by Mary Connealy

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1867 – Nevada

When Trace Riley finds the smoldering ruins of a small wagon train, he recognizes the hand behind the attack as the same group who left him as sole survivor years ago. Living off the wilderness since then, he’d finally carved out a home and started a herd–while serving as a self-appointed guardian of the trail, driving off dangerous men. He’d
hoped those days were over, but the latest attack shows he was wrong.

Deborah Harkness saved her younger sister and two toddlers during the attack, and now finds herself at the mercy of her rescuer. Trace offers the only shelter for miles around, and agrees to take them in until she can safely continue. His simple bachelor existence never anticipated kids and women in the picture and their arrival is unsettling–yet enticing.

Working to survive the winter and finally bring justice to the trail, Trace and Deborah find themselves drawn together–yet every day approaches the moment she’ll leave forever. 

The Blessed Bride by Lynn Winchester

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1850 – California

Leaving Ireland for America, Patience “Pati” O’Connor has followed the trail of her heartbroken father west, to the Sierra Nevada Mountains. With no money and a missing father, Pati has no choice but to settle down in a small, gold mining town of Blessings, California. Maybe the rough and tumble place could use a skilled seamstress…

Pete Jones has spent a lifetime fighting. Wounded in battle during the Mexican War, Pete is left with shaking hands, nightmares, and a sour disposition—but his new job protecting gold claims in Blessings just might be what he needs to kick the anguish of his past.

When Pati’s new business is robbed, she seeks help from the ornery yet honorable Pete, who doesn’t seem too keen on sticking his nose into her business. But Pete can’t seem to say no to the vibrant, fiery, oh so beautiful lass, which may spell trouble for his plans to stay lonely and single.

As the town begins to grow around them, and as trouble starts to slither in, Pati and Pete are desperate to find a love more valuable than all the gold in the mountain.

But can Pete be a man worthy of Pati’s love, and can Pati convince Pete she is destined to be his blessed bride?