Rating 3.5 stars out of 5
Those who have been reading the Montana series may recall that, in A Cowboy’s Home, Justin returned to Crooked Tree Ranch because he wanted to see his father again and there was an incident in which an assassin from his past, a former coworker, came along to kill him but decided against it. Well, that guy was Rob, who has now retired from his former hit man role and is dying from lead poisoning caused by a fragmented bullet lodged against his spine. When he goes to say goodbye to his sister, he discovers she’d dead and his two nephews are in foster care. He also discovers he’s been named guardian in her will and that’s something he’s totally unprepared for.
He heads to Crooked Tree Ranch to find Justin and convince him that he and his partner, Sam, would make good parents for Rob’s nephews. He plans to dump the kids and go kill himself. For the first third of this book, Rob and his problems related to finding a home for the boys and heading out to off himself take up the bulk of the story. The problem I had is that he’s not a likeable character—at least not at that point. Later, yes, the poor misguided idiot garnered my sympathy. But early on? No. And the author had a lot of backstory to fill in so it really was difficult to muster enthusiasm until close to halfway through. But along came Aaron, a paramedic, strong, alpha, kind-hearted, and smart and he immediately wants Rob and vice versa. So they start out as enemies or at least frenemies, with Rob pushing Aaron away every chance he gets at the same time as he’s trying to keep his emotional distance from his nephews.
Rob is a train wreck but the author managed to put together an interesting story and managed to get me rooting for him and the boys as well as for him and Aaron. The latter parts of the story were accelerated, but to really add meat to the story would have required another hundred pages so at least we were able to find out what happens to Rob and whether Aaron’s will for them to become a family can ring true.
If you are following this series, you will likely enjoy this one—especially the second half. I also liked the fact that the MCs are over 40, and there’s hot ex-soldiers and ex-SEALS, lots of extended family, and a couple of cute kids who just want to be loved.
Cover by Meredith Russell features of close-up of two men against a background of what is likely Silver Lake on the Crooked Tree Ranch in Montana. Both men look very much like I’d picture these characters to be and the cover is bright and colorful.
Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 201 pages
Published August 25th 2018 by Love Lane Books Ltd