Mary Smith was never one to back down from a challenge. Her father’s health may be failing, but their dairy farm was her mother’s dream, and Mary will do whatever it takes to keep her father from selling it—even if it means sneaking off to the next town to earn money by playing the piano in a questionable establishment. No one seems to understand why home is so important to her, least of all her childhood nemesis who’s just wandered back into town.
When injured Texas Ranger Luke Thomas is forced to return to Pine Creek, Washington, he’s hailed as a hero and thrust into the town’s first race for sheriff. But no one knows the secret he carried to Texas, nor the secret he’s brought home. Setting his perfect aim on returning south, he refuses to get tied down by the town’s admiration, his brother’s disapproval, or the spirited, hardworking dairy girl who’s less annoying than he remembers.
But strange things are happening at the Smith dairy and in Pine Creek, and Luke’s instincts tell him Mary is in far more trouble than she realizes. One thing is certain: “home” is about to get more complicated for them both.
“This was a super cute story full of wit and banter but also full of really open and honest feelings from the characters. I loved the theme of forgiveness, but I also loved the idea that you don’t always end up where you think you will and sometimes it is even better that way.”
Reviewer Denise Hershberger
“This is some good reading–one of those kind where you don’t want to put the book down until you finish it. . . trust me, this is a read-over. It was so well written–the story line is captivating from the very first sentence.”
Amazon Reviewer BookCrazy
A Letter to the Hero
Following is a letter I wrote to my hero Luke because sometimes heroes are stubborn and you need to have a sit-down with them:
You say you want adventure, yet you refuse to acknowledge the places you hide. Courage rules your actions, but cowardice, your heart. You got guts, grit, and a penchant for fun. I love you for that. But what about that fear to root? Your refusal to dig in and stay put? You’ve got issues there.
Don’t worry. I know where you’re going to end up, and it’s a strong place. I just don’t know how to get you there. I keep asking myself what it’s going to take for you to admit your inability to keep your heart in one place. To settle it down and rest it. To find true home—and I don’t mean four walls and a roof. I don’t even mean Pine Creek (though the people really want you to be part of them).
I can hear you arguing with me, asking me why I’m picking on you when Mary has issues, too. Oh, I know. She’s a lively one with a mouth that shoots faster than your guns. Her idea of home is what’s right in front of her, the dream her Mama passed on to her. You keep telling her she needs to let go.
Ironic thing is, you don’t know how to hold on. That chasing after justice that keeps you busy? It’s your excuse, your way to feel good about yourself while you wander and refuse to face the loneliness. Or dare I say, abandonment?
You’re going to be let down again, and you’re not going to like it. Then what? Where will you run?
Home. That’s where.
And I can’t wait for you to find the surprise that’s waiting. Not only the faithfulness of your Heavenly Father but her love, the one that said your hair looked like someone turned you upside down and swept the floor with it.
You’re going to be able to hold her hand. I know that shocks you. You’re going to want to hold her hand because she’ll need you to.
Mark my words. I never miss (remember, you said that about your aim?).
Yours through thick and thin,
The woman who’s voicing your story on the page
Thoughts on Home
As I’ve wrestles with this story, this post on Ann Voskamp’s blog offered great encouragement to me.
Another source of inspiration has been Roots and Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons, by Christie Purifoy.