“No one steps on Archer land.” This had been drilled into everyone in Anderson County, Texas- including the school children. When bully Hiram Ellis pitches 10 year-old Meridith Hayes’ lunch bucket onto Archer land, Meri has no choice but to disobey the edict and retrieve it. She’s not going to let Hiram get the best of her, even if it means taking her life into her own hands!
While Meri isn’t shot to pieces, she does end up with a leg caught in a metal trap. Hearing the hunting hound closing in on her followed by an Archer, Meri is resolved is to be brave in her final minutes. What happens next shapes the rest of her life.
After releasing the trap and seeing her home- leaving the Archer land for the first time since swearing an oath to his dying father- Travis knows he’ll never forget those startling blue eyes. Meredith knows that the tall tales about Travis aren’t true, and she holds on to a fantasy of being in love with him as she grows up.
Years later, Meredith has been passed on to live with her aunt and uncle after her own father’s death. As business owners, they see her as a pawn to gain power; her father’s land her only dowry. After all, her leg defect leaves her undesirable.
The match leaves her cold; her dreams of true love shattered. Meri struggles to comply. Right before her engagement is announced, Meri hears of a chilling plan to burn Archer property, forcing them to sell to her unscrupulous intended.
Meri has no choice but to warn the Archers. Her participation in attempting to put out the planned fire results in a head injury which keeps her on the ranch with the four single Archer guys- including Travis. He acknowledges remembering her; understanding that the trap that broke her leg resulted in a permanent limp, one leg being slightly shorter than the other. The responsibility of it all comes crashing down on him, and weighs him down.
Eventually, Meri’s uncle comes to the ranch, looking for her. Once he realizes she’s there, he demands one of the boys marry her, now that she’s been ‘compromised.’ And so, the Archers take to drawing straws………..
I absolutely loved this book. This was another title that had me reading it all in a single setting. It also left my copy dog-eared and giggling. Some of my favorite lines include, “Not even frilly-smelling laundry could tear them apart,” (stemming from the belief that all women smell flowery, and thus, they would too, since she was doing their laundry) and “Except for the handful of weeds he’d presented her that morning, he’d given her nothing but a scarred leg and a dented head.”
See what I mean? I absolutely LOVE books that make me laugh. This one had enough tension in to make you wonder what was going to happen next. There’s also the inevitable kidnapping (but not her) and the leering goon who makes sure she knows he’s going to have his way with her.
I don’t know that I’ve read anything else by Karen Witemeyer, but she goes on my list of authors to get more titles from. I give it 5 out of 5 stars. Click below to see the trailer!
I received this book from Bethany House Publishers for this unbiased review.