Ever since Lt. Jack Hennessey was introduced in Holding the Fort, I patiently waited all year for his story, The Lieutenant’s Bargain. Okay, maybe not * patiently * considering I kinda stalked the mailman when I’d heard my copy was coming. But yes! This story, by the talented Regina Jennings, is fabulous. So prepare yourself for all my gushing!
But first, a little summary about it:
Hattie Walker dreams of becoming a painter, while her parents want her to settle down. As a compromise, they give her two months to head to Denver and place her works in an exhibition or give up the dream forever. Her journey is derailed when a gunman attacks her stagecoach, leaving her to be rescued by a group of Arapaho . . . but she’s too terrified to recognize them as friendly.
Confirmed bachelor Lieutenant Jack Hennessey has long worked with the tribe and is tasked with trying to convince them that the mission school at Fort Reno can help their children. When a message arrives about a recovered survivor, Jack heads out to take her home–and plead his case once more.
He’s stunned to run into Hattie Walker, the girl who shattered his heart–but quickly realizes he has a chance to impress her. When his plan gets tangled through translation, Jack and Hattie end up in a mess that puts her dreams in peril–and tests Jack’s resolve to remain single.
After I got my hot little hands on this story, I could NOT put it down. The narrative was witty and humorous. The plot was vivid and engaging! And the characters—Oh my, these characters!!!!—were dynamic and so fun.
I totally loved that Lt. Jack pined over his longtime crush for, um, decades. It was adorable to read about a successful military man turning to mush at the presence of Hattie Walker. While this story contains a lot of charming banter and delightful scenes, the plot is not all just fun and games. There are elements of mystery and danger lurking between the pages that kept me intrigued and guessing until the final chapters.
The tender romance between the characters was never forced but unfolded organically and beautifully. The thread of God’s unfailing presence during scary times was woven seamlessly throughout the story, leaving my heart refreshed and strengthened. Basically, I adored everything about this novel and will no doubt stalk my mailman again for the third book in the series.
*I received a copy of this story. All opinions are my own.
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