A Texan’s Promise is the first book in the new Heart of a Hero series by Shelley Gray. I have grown accustomed to her novels with Amish settings and was intrigued to find this one to be a historical western. I found A Texan’s Promise to be every bit as well written and attention holding as any of Gray’s other novels.

When ranch foreman Clay finds the daughter of the late ranch owner crying in the barn, he discovers that she has been badly beaten by her new stepfather. Remembering his promise to her father to watch out for her, Clay realizes that he must quickly get her away from the ranch for her protection. He is soon convinced that he must marry Vanessa to guard her reputation also. Although Clay’s feelings for Vanessa soon become love, his sense of honor prevents him from revealing them to her because he doesn’t want to take advantage of their situation. Multiple misunderstandings result in a turbulent relationship between Clay and Vanessa. As they make their way toward the safety of his sister’s home, Vanessa’s step-father and her brother Miles are hot on their trail.

A Texan’s Promise has sufficient action, drama, and romance to keep the pages turning. The character of Clay Proffitt definitely fits the description of  “a man of honor”. Vanessa seemed a bit young to me but she did mature as the story progressed. I learned just enough about Vanessa’s brother Miles to hope that he will be featured in the next installment of this series. A story of love, courage, loyalty, and honor, this book has a strong message of faith as Clay, Vanessa, and even Miles learn how to depend on the Lord.


This book was provided for review by NetGalley and Abingdon Press.

Projected publication date is October 2011.



Past promises will be tested as new ones are given…


When Clayton Proffitt, foreman of the Circle Z Ranch in Texas, discovers Vanessa Grant crying in the barn late one night, he first thinks she’s gotten herself into another scrape. But when he spies the marks on her back and hears about her stepfather’s advances, Clayton knows he must spirit Vanessa away to safety.

As they make their way west, it becomes apparent that there’s something special between Vanessa and Clayton— far more significant than mere friendship or his sense of duty. Unfortunately, also heading west are Vanessa’s brother Miles and her stepfather Price Venture. Price wants Vanessa back for obvious reasons; Miles wants to earn his stepfather’s respect. Eventually, unexpected confrontations reach a harrowing conclusion. As their family begins to heal, their journey and trials they’ve faced helps them realize their future is in God’s guiding hands.





Shelley Shepard Gray’s first Amish novel, Hidden, was nominated for the Inspirational Readers Choice award. Her book Simple Gifts won the Reviewers Choice Award. A native of Texas, she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Colorado, and taught school for ten years. She lives in southern Ohio where she writes full time.