When orphaned Annie Paxton and her two brothers arrive in St. Joseph, Missouri, in the spring of 1861, they’ve lost everything but the determination to find something better. For Annie, that’s a cottage with a flower garden, friendship with other women, and attending church every week. For Emmet and Frank, its getting hired on as Pony Express riders. When the boys suceed, they also get Annie a job as a cook at Clearwater Ranch in far-off Nebraska Territory–without asking what Annie wants. Unable to imagine life without her brothers, Annie reluctantly goes along with the plan, but things get off to a rocky start at Clearwater, where the gruff station owner assumes Annie will fail at the demanding job. A friendship has just begun to blossom between the two when a refined, dashing lieutenant from nearby Fort Kearney takes notice of the new arrival at Clearwater. Annie will have to learn how to trust her instincts and follow her heart–even if she’s conflicted about which way it’s leading her.