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The Rancher's Baby (Texas Cattleman's Club: The Impostor) Kindle Edition
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But the 3 stars is because my enjoyment levels while reading were not great. Perhaps it's because I needed light and fluffy, while this one dealt quite heavily with grief and the reality of broken selves trying to make life work. Perhaps because some parts hit too close to home.
If you're a reader needing to connect or have a cathartic cry over loss, then this is definitely for you. If you like best friend tropes, this one definitely hits that out of the park.
Just be aware going in that this story has a lot of aches and pains and grief that the characters are dealing with on their way to their HEA.
It was like every fantasy colliding into one brilliant blinding firework.’
There’s nothing for it—I am a sucker when it comes to cowboys. I’ve never denied it, and I never will. Just like I will never deny myself a cowboy romance with Maisey Yates’ name on the cover. She is, after all, one of my favorites, and an author I can rely on for a book that’ll capture and keep my attention and make my heart happy.
And that is what she’s done again, here, in The Rancher’s Baby. I didn’t realize when I grabbed it that it would make up a part of a multi-author series, but no matter. In and of itself, this was a heartfelt, emotional book. It looked not just at finding love in your best friend, but at overcoming grief and leaning how to move on—without forgetting.
Ms. Yates did a fantastic job of sketching her characters in this loss. Of making their hurts feel real and raw, and yet, allowing their burgeoning romance to feel right. So very, very right. Because that’s what Knox and Selena were to me—a match made in fictional cowboy heaven.
I truly loved their story. My heart ached, at times, but was soothed. It also raced, and swooned, and smiled. There was ample chemistry and more; buried within a mystery that I can only assume will continue over the coming books was a story about second chances and new loves and finding that Winter and Spring can exist together.
So, it seems, I am not just a sucker for a cowboy. I’m also a sucker for this author—and the depth with which she writes.
“I don’t need it to be perfect or easy. We have a bunch of broken pieces between us, but let’s try to make something new with them.”
~ FIVE Spring STARS ~
Three friends, Selena, Knox and Will met and connected in college. Selena and Knox were secretly attracted to one another but didn't want to spoil their friendship, and Selena had many other issues on her mind, her father was physically and verbally abusive to her and her mother, and her only family support came from her grandfather. When he died, his will stated that his entire estate was to go to Selena, but with conditions, she'd have access to that money when she turned 25, or when she married. Selena was desperate for that money because it meant freedom from her father, so she and Will agreed to a fake marriage. Even her best friend, Knox, believed that it was a real marriage, was deeply saddened by the fact that Selena didn't choose him, and that led him into the arms of another woman, Cassandra, whom he loved, and with whom he had a child.
Selena's fake marriage ended in anger and divorce, and Selena went on to make her fortune in skin care products. Knox too, started at the bottom and now owns a billion-dollar chain of health food markets. His marriage also ended in divorce following the death of his two-year-old daughter, Ellie, to cancer. He's just been going through the motions of living since then, devastated by the loss of the child who was the center of his world, and he's unable to move past it.
At the opening of this novel, we learn that Selena received a letter informing her of Will's death at sea, and of the fact that she, his ex-wife, was the sole heir to Will's vast estate. However, there were 4 other women at the funeral, one very pregnant, another with a child, and they too received the same letter. She didn't know these women or what their relationships to Will were, but while hurt and saddened by his death, she wasn't heartbroken at all, since their fake marriage only happened so she could access her trust fund. She's surprised to also see Knox at the funeral--while they had stayed in touch, his life and his ranch were in Wyoming, while Selena was still back in Texas. You can imagine the shocked reactions of everyone there when the supposedly dead Will opens the door and walks in, a guest at his own funeral. So, whose cremated ashes are in the urn? Who set up this faux funeral and why? I'm guessing that the answers to those questions will be at the heart of all the books in this series.
While intriguing, the aforementioned mystery in this novel is just the backdrop to the relationship between Knox and Selena. After Selena divorced Will, Knox, to whom she was attracted at first sight, was already married, making him off limits for anything more than friendship. But now, there are no spouses or other lovers keeping them apart, but are they willing to risk their friendship? Selena is, but Knox has felt dead inside since the loss of his daughter and the breakup of his 10-year marriage. He doesn't ever want to care about anyone that much again because with loving, comes the possibility of loss and with loss comes pain. Selena believes that she too doesn't want marriage or children, considering herself too damaged for either of those things, but she does want Knox, and since he's staying with her at her cabin, they finally have to come to terms with their past, and the truths they've been hiding from each other and themselves.
Prepare yourself for some serious angst and keep your tissues handy, because I certainly needed mine more than once is this sweet, heartwarming, sexy and yet angst-filled novel, because Maisey Yates is exceptionally good at pulling you into a story from the first sentence, and playing on every heartstring you have.
If you're wondering why I didn't give this novel 5-stars, it was minor things, such as the fact that there isn't much ranching happening, as the title of his book suggests, nor did it have anything to do with the Texas Cattleman's Club. It was, however, a very good read, as are all of Ms. Yates novels, and I am happy to recommend it highly. Although this novel works perfectly as a standalone read, if you want to see the mystery solved, you'll have to continue reading this series for the loose ends to be tied up.
I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this novel. The opinions expressed are my own.
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