Twenty-year-old Jenny Harper has been in love with Heath Jackson since the day she saw him leap from a galloping horse to save an old woman when she was eleven years old. Over the years, Jenny has watched the women swarm around Heath, but she has her heart set on him and she is not one to give up easily. One way or another, she will show Heath she is a grown woman, ready for a husband, not the child he remembers tagging along after his younger brother.
Unfortunately for Jenny, ever since he was left at the altar by a foolish girl who ran off to marry a wealthy old man, Heath Jackson has sworn off marriage, preferring instead the company of widows and saloon girls. And in any case, though he has secretly lusted after her for years, as far as Heath is concerned Jenny is too young, too much like family, and too eager to wed.
But when tragedy strikes, putting more on Jenny’s shoulders than she can bear, her only hope of saving her family home lies in marrying quickly. Can Heath sit back while other men vie for her affections? Can he bear to watch in silence as she chooses a weakling when she desperately needs a strong man like him, one who will keep her safe and give her the sound discipline she needs when her impulsive ways place her in danger? Or will he stand up and claim what should be his, even if it means risking his heart again?
As much as she was beautiful, she was naïve and reckless. That had become obvious tonight. She needed someone to keep her safe, to lay down the law and hold her feet to the fire if she didn’t follow the rules. If her family wasn’t going to see to her guidance and protection, she needed a man who would. Someone to give her what his pa called good old-fashioned Jackson justice in the form of a firm hand, or some other equally effective implement, applied to her misbehaving behind.
The thought of any of the beaus he’d seen lining up for a dance with her being able to meet that need was laughable. If he was honest, the thought of her as wife to any of them burned like hellfire in his gut. She needed a strong man, someone she couldn’t easily wrap around her dainty little finger and who wouldn’t break like a dry twig at the flutter of her long silky lashes or a pretty pout from her very kissable lips. She needed someone exactly like him.
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