Widowed after the Civil War, Charity Burk is determined not to lose her homestead, but she needs a man to do the heavy lifting around the ranch. Enter the shattered widower Beau Claxton, who leaves home after his beloved wife Betsy dies from a rattlensnake bite. That Betsy was carrying their first child adds to the overdone melodrama.
Beau is attacked by a wolf near Charity's ranch and she nurses him back to health and gives him a proposition: marry her so that she doesn't lose her homestead. He thinks this is preposterous (as would anyone else) but then Charity leaves to help her friend Letty deliver her baby, and two squaws help care for Beau. The squaws believe that he is theirs, and Beau reluctantly agrees to Charity's proposition if only to avoid going with the natives.
Letty dies in childbirth and Charity and Beau assume the roles of parents when Letty's husband goes off the deep end. Two childbirth deaths in one book is a bit much. Charity and Beau must deal with town gossip (they are living together, although not in the 'friends with benefits' way), caring for an infant, and their growing attraction to each other. It's a funny, warm read.