Rebecca Conyers is homebound on a train headed for Texas after a visit with her aunt, when two cowboys begin harassing her, but lucky for her Tom Whitman comes to her rescue. To show her gratitude, she offers him a job at her father's ranch, Live Oak. Tom is from Boston and has left behind a painful past, starting over with no real plans, and takes her up on her offer. A burning romance begins to erupt between Tom and Rebecca over the months, and she professes her love for Tom. To her dismay, Tom rejects the idea and tells her that he cannot love her in return. Big Ben, Rebecca's father orders her to let go of any fancies she has for his new employee or he will fire him. So Rebecca hitches a plan to leave Texas. So, Rebecca stows away on a cattle ride to Dodge City disguised as a teenage boy with neighboring ranchers.
In the meantime, back home her father decides to sell all of his longhorn cattle and opts to purchase 2500 head of black angus from Duff MacCallister, owner of Sky Meadow Ranch in Wyoming. Duff pairs up with his friend Smoke Jenson who owns his own ranch, and the two along with, Duff's cousin, Falcon MacCallister, and Matt Jenson, move the herd by four trains to Dodge City, where cowboys from the Live Oak Ranch in Fort Worth will pick them up to herd back before Christmas. Finally two clans, the men from Live Oak Ranch, and the MacCallister's and the Jenson's from Colorado and Wyoming meet in Dodge City. Mo, Dalton, Tom from Live Oak, and Matt Jenson arrive in the Lucky Chance Saloon, where they find Rebecca working, but after a gun fight breaks out in the saloon, the men and Rebecca leave Dodge City right away and begin their journey back to Fort Worth, TX.
The romance between Tom and Rebecca begins to spark again and quickly they find themselves deep in love. But trouble is looming around every corner on this treacherous winter trail...and the odds of everyone making it home safe are stacked against them. This timeless Christmas story, joins many of our beloved Johnstone characters, family isn't just about bloodlines on the frontier.... This novel is filled with classic shootouts, train heists, saloon gunfights, but also offers the promise of romance, and Christmas spirit.
Recommended by Robert L. Hicks, Librarian, Kansas USA