HARD TIMES, DESPERATE MEASURES
Sarah Winborne needed a man. Almost any strong man. As a Texas war widow with two small children, she was struggling desperately. There was no money to pay cowhands, no choice but to offer herself in exchange for the backbreaking work required to save her ranch.
Then, just as things seemed darkest, she found a prospect with the kind of broad shoulders and lean body that could accomplish anything. Here was someone Sarah could count on, someone who made her feel pretty for the first time in years. Benton Wheeler was someone who could protect her from all the dangers facing a lone woman in the West. And while their marriage was a business arrangement any man could fill, from the moment he took her in his arms, her heart said…
No One But You takes the reader to Texas a few years after the Civil War when desperate needs demanded desperate action.
Debts, anxiety, doubts, and fear gnaw at Sarah Winborne. With the only bargaining chip she has, she goes to find a husband, a good hardworking, honest man who will agree to her conditions. She needs a miracle.
When they arrive at the Randolph ranch, Sarah and her seven-year-old twins, Jared with a withered leg and Ellen a confirmed tomboy, step into a world like they’ve never known. There they see love, joy, cooperation, bickering, teasing, hard work, respect, and a ranch beginning to prosper.
This segment of the story is a delight. The characters come alive with the excellent writing of Leigh Greenwood. The young, pregnant Rose rules her houseful of men with love and with a firm hand that her men honor.
Here Sarah finds two men willing to consider her conditions. She plans to be practical. However, when she voices her choice, her heart shoves her brain aside and speaks loud and clear—Benton Wheeler (Salty). He’s a man from war ravaged Georgia. His back story weaves a strong thread through the tapestry of this story—compelling and heartbreaking. He is unforgettable—a man with every reason to be bitter. But he chose another path.
The villains, with their self-centered desires, create some heart-stopping incidents that threaten not only the livelihood of Sarah, Salty, Jared, and Ellen but also threaten their lives. One particular conflict set in the thorny thickets of South Texas had me reading at breakneck speed as I struggled to help with the escape—scary; then comes comic relief from the intrepid Ellen who made me smile so often throughout the story. Children add a captivating, special dimension to the story.
Not to be missed is the golden thread in the tapestry of Sarah and Salty, neither of whom has ever known love. As they set in to make a practical life together, love wiggles its way in among the doubts and fears. Love not only works its magic to bring about oh so satisfying physical ecstasy, it also brings a trusting, caring, forever love that encompasses the children.
No One But You is a joy to read and so polished. It is a winner. Leigh Greenwood writes in a classy style that gives the reader an emotion-filled, vicarious journey with well-developed characters. EXCELLENT READING!