The McKettricks are BACK!! Linda Lael Miller is giving us a brand new McKettrick treat. This time we are traveling back to Blue River Sawyer McKettrick is on his way to be temporary sheriff before returning to The McKettrick Spread in Arizona. Every time I read about the McKettrick's I just want to smile. From feisty old Duncan to the youngest one. From the old west to WWI era to today.. there is just something to love about each and every one of them.
Sawyer is on his way to Blue River to take over as sheriff to help out his cousin, that's what McKettricks do after all. With a busy ranch two daughters and a baby on the way he really doesn't have much time for Sheriffing right now so Sawyer to the rescue. Of course he has to arrive in the middle of a blizzard, leaving his trunk at the train depot, Sawyer rides through town determined to make it to the hotel before he freezes. Unfortunately, someone has other ideas and shoots him. Barely alive he hangs on and hopes he ends up somewhere safe.
Piper St James is the local schoolmarm (why did they call them that anyway?) she is freezing in her little room attached to the local school trying to figure out if she really does need to go out into the blizzard. I mean seriously, does she really need wood for the fire? or water? Finally giving in to reality she walks out and stumbles right into a riderless horse. A saddled riderless horse. Realizing something is wrong, she backtracks to where she stumbles and finds Sawyer frozen, unconscious and bleeding right on her doorstep. Realizing that even though it will jeopardize her reputation the only thing to do is to bring him inside and care for him. While she is undressing him she discovers his gun, seriously in these modern times (1910) who carries a gun anymore unless they are an outlaw or a sheriff, seeing no badge she realizes he must be an outlaw.. what's a girl to do?
Piper is a great character.. she cracks me up, sure she knows she should be taking care of this poor injured man but seriously does he have to bleed all over her trousseau quilts? made me giggle when she offered him coffee in one of her chipped cups, thinking to herself not in one of her matching china set that remains in her chest unlike her quilts. This is a girl with a good heart but a practical nature. Sawyer is almost secondary.. that seems odd for a McKettrick but Piper is so well written she just jumps off the page. When one of her students is ill and Piper finds out that the Doctor won't visit because she lives in the local brothel, Piper is off and running.. and sure enough with a little help from Sawyer, the doctor shows up.
As often occurred in a time when a life could be destroyed by innuendo, Sawyer and Piper realize that the only way to save her reputation is by marriage. Piper of course is still not quite convinced that he isn't an outlaw, even if his cousin is married to hers. Obviously those McKettricks stick together. But she realizes her options are few so they decide to marry and then slowly get to know each other. But the die is cast and the two fall crazy in love.. I know spoiler *grins* but this is a McKettrick novel, Can you imagine if they didn't? These two belong together.
There is the secondary story of who shot Sawyer and why, which of course Sawyer being a contrary McKettrick is bound and determined to solve.. of course nothing in Blue River ever happens the way things ought to and he is saved by... *grins* ok not gonna do another spoiler..
This book was classic Linda Lael Miller, sassy, funny, sexy and yes those McKettricks qualify as swoonworthy men.. Even when like in this book that McKettrick is there to showcase an amazing female character.. If you haven't yet met the McKettricks... oh you so seriously need to. Be sure and check out Ms Millers Website for all of her wonderful characters.
This review is based on the ARC of An Outlaw's Christmas was provided by netgalley