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    Review of RANCHER AND PROTECTOR by Judy Christenberry (see her website)


    Harlequin Romance #3931, February 2007

    The ranch has been in her family for generations, but her dying father sold it out from under Rosie Wilson. Cash is short, but Rosie knows that the ranch can be turned around. Her father had let it go when he was sick and she intends to put it back on its feet. First, though, she needs to persuade sexy millionaire Jason Barton to tear up the purchase agreement. And to get him to do that, she needs to repay the fifty thousand dollars he's already paid--money that's long gone. A roundup of cattle lost in the high pastures might generate enough money, but for that, she'll need time--and that's what she begs Jason to give her.

    Jason Barton has dreamed of getting back to the ranch life for years and now he finally has that opportunity. Still, when Rosie Wilson tells her story, it's hard not to be sympathetic. Jason is divorced and childless, but if he did have a family, he'd want them to keep the ranch in the family. He agrees to give Rosie the time to save her ranch, but only if she'll bring him along on the roundup to protect his interests--and ultimately to protect her. What neither suspects is the attraction that grows between them. There's only one ranch and they both want it--which seems an impossible dilemma. When crime, bad weather, and disease all hit the roundup, danger gets added to the mix.

    Author Judy Christenberry (see more reviews of novels by Christenberry) spins a tale of romance in the wilds of Wyoming. Both Jason and Rosie need to learn to put aside their protective armor if they are to have a chance to realize that what they really need is not a piece of property but the reality of a family--yet both depend on that armor for so much of their lives. Growing up with cowboys and a cowboy father, Rosie was taught never to cry, never to show her feelings. Jason's success in business comes from his hard-nosed approach--with softness an invitation to attack. Worse yet, the two people they turn to for advice don't help at all.

    If you're looking for a quick read that will leave you with a smile, RANCHER AND PROTECTOR is just the thing.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 1/30/07

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