Wendy(Superlibrarian) and Kristie(J) seem to like a lot of the same books I like, so I pay attention when either one of them recommends something. Since both of them have extolled the wonders of the Rock Creek Six series, I pounced as soon as I saw the whole set come up on EBay. I still have five left to read (hooray!), but Reese gets the series off to a good start.The story is fairly standard fare - uptight schoolteacher meets outcast gunslinger, and sparks fly. However, the author handles her story so well that I really loved reading it. Here's the plot in a nutshell: It's not too long after the Civil War, and a gang headed by El Diablo threatens the town of Rock Creek, Texas. Given that we're not too many years beyond the War, the town has almost no men left. It's looking pretty bleak, but schoolteacher Mary McKendrick takes all of her savings and travels to Dallas to hire Reese because she's heard he can help her. Reese doesn't have a whole lot going for him and his meeting with Mary affects him, so he takes the job and summons his five loyal war buddies to work with him. The town isn't so keen on having 6 wild gunmen running around, but they don't have a lot of choices, so things settle into an uneasy pattern. Reese has long vowed to involve human relationships, but Mary is able to break through his barriers in ways that no one else really can.Reese is a likeable, well-written tortured hero and that's what really made this story work for me because I couldn't help rooting for him. Mary is also likeable for the most part, but her character arc is not quite as pronounced as Reese's. It's obvious from the beginning that Reese's experiences in the Civil War put him through hell and he has shut down to the point that he doesn't even let people know his full name, let alone his background and his past. The story is not only a romance, but also a really good friendship story as Reese's friendship with his men develops and deepens. The romance is good though not absolutely amazing, but the author does a fantastic job of showing the dynamics of the various friendships within the Rock Creek Six and that group portrait went a long way toward making this such a good read for me.Reese has a few cheesy moments, but by and large I really enjoyed reading this book, and I look forward to the rest of the series. Print copies can be hard to find, but it's been rereleased in eBook form - definitely worth adding to your TBR.