Theodora Branwell’s beloved fiance and her father were killed in the war. The intense pain and grief have convinced Theo that she should never fall in love again. Because she loves children, she’s now dedicated her life to setting up an orphanage. While on her way to visit the owner of a building she’d like to use for this orphanage, a runaway horse startles her, causing her to fall off her own mount. Unable to get back up on her own, she’s happy to encounter a man, and asks him for help. Dominic Ransleigh is somewhat dazed after being thrown by his spirited horse. He has just returned from the war, suffering severe injuries, including the loss of an arm and an eye. Aside from his disorientation from the fall, he’s amazed that a woman would ask him for help, as it’s obvious he has only one arm. As he sarcastically informs her of this, she takes him to task, telling him how lucky he is to be alive and return at all, as many people didn’t. Theo then storms off, not knowing that she has just told off her potential landlord.
After their encounter, both Theo and Dom think about their actions, and each believes they owe the other an apology. Theo even considers offering the “down on his luck” soldier a job at her orphanage. When she finally calls on Dom, she finds out who he is, and hopes he won’t hold their first meeting against her. They both offer their apologies, and soon find a congenial working relationship and friendship. Since Theo had followed her fiance and father, she’s very familiar with soldiers, and has seen many injuries, so she’s not shocked or dismayed by Dom. He, in turn, feels very comfortable with her. Eventually, their camaraderie leads to attraction and some delicious kisses and encounters.
Theo and Dom are so perfect together. I loved watching their slow developing friendship turn to romance, though that’s not what either of them wanted. Theo’s encouragement helped Dom overcome some of his obstacles, and she steered him toward projects he could handle and enjoy. In turn, he helped her with her dream of establishing the orphanage.
When an unforeseen situation occurs, and Theo has to find a husband, and quickly, Dom has to decide whether he’s ready to take a chance on a commitment, and, if so, will Theo even accept him?
Wounded warriors are guaranteed to tug at my heartstrings. I adore reading about genuine love helping to heal them. This story has plenty of warmth, passion, and emotion, as well as secrets and an odious villain. Though this book is part of a series, it is perfect as a standalone read. I enjoyed this one very much, and highly recommend it. Now, off to find the earlier books in the series…..