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A Texan's Promise - Shelley Gray After Vanessa is assaulted by her step-father, Clayton, the foreman on her family ranch, comforts her and offers to take her to safsfety. Knowing that Price will only continue to abuse her, nineteen-year-old Vanessa accepts. While Vanessa suffers from night terrors in the aftermath of Price's attack, Clayton has his own demons to conquer, in particular, his need to keep the promises he has made to God, to his father, to Vanessa's father, and to Vanessa herself. Meanwhile, Price is on their trail, wanting to claim Vanessa for his own, despite his wife. He is accompanied by Miles, Vanessa’s older brother, who has also suffered under Price’s belt.Vanessa and Clayton marry to protect her reputation, each of them hiding the fact that they have feelings for the other (despite the ten-year age gap). I don't usually like stories where the hero is much older than the heroine, even though I know it was normal at this time. What I particularly liked about A Texan's Promise was the theme about how age was not the factor. Clayton was a Confederate Captain, and it was the things he had seen and experienced during the war that made him the man he was, a man that Miles would struggle to become at any age. Although young, Vanessa had "lost her innocence at Price's hand", which forced her to grow up too. What we don't know is what Vanessa would have done if it were not for Clayton, although the fact that she fought Price once suggests that she would have continued to do so, which speaks to her character in comparison to that of Miles.Despite the dark beginning, this was an enjoyable read. The author dealt with Vanessa in a sympathetic manner, and wrote a realistic recovery. The book was immediately engaging, and easily held my interest with a likeable hero and heroine and an interesting cast of supporting characters. A Texan’s Promise is the first book in the Heart of a Hero series, with the second book, A Texan’s Honor, to be published in March 2012. The author has also published a series of Amish novels under the name Shelley Shepherd Gray.Thanks to Abingdon Press and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.This review also appears on my blog, www.christianreads.blogspot.com.