31 March 2015

Texas Winter (Texas #2) by R.J. Scott

 Riley’s past comes back to haunt him both professionally and personally.

His dead brother left more than just bitter memories for Riley to deal with. The FBI get involved and suddenly it is more than his good name that is on the line. Jack is always there for him but how much more can Riley’s husband reasonably be able to understand?

Especially when Riley finds out on his delayed honeymoon that he has an eight year old daughter he never knew existed...
We are back with Jack, Riley and the whole gang. We start with Jack and Riley sneaking away for a much deserved holiday when they receive a phone call saying Riley needs to get back asap. We discover during college, Riley had a girlfriend and in turn now has an eight year old daughter. With the mothers passing has left the daughter, Haley to Riley. With love and support the family rally around the newest piece of news or is Jack hiding something as well?

Once again, RJ has written a brilliant and heartwarming story about love, family, friendship and what greed can do.  I enjoyed watching not only Jack and Riley’s relationships grow and develop but also the brothers and sisters. I liked the twist with the greedy Uncle and the one with Jack’s dead brother and father. The only thing that had me scratching my head was this eight year old girl seemed very understanding of the whole situation? I get that Mum wrote letters and talked to her, but she’s eight. I would have expected more tantrums more push back.  But never been through it, what do I know?
Ms. Scott takes us back to Texas and the Double D Ranch in Texas Winter. Well, after a side trip to the Caribbean that is, as the book opens with Riley and Jack finally taking their honeymoon a year later. Unfortunately their trip is cut short when Riley’s sister Eden calls to tell him that his 8 year-old daughter is on her way to live with him. Yep, the WTH? thoughts running through your head are pretty much what Riley was dealing with too – except his were coupled with the fear that an instant family would send Jack running. Not surprisingly, Jack took the news in stride and was not only accepting of Hayley, he embraced fatherhood head on. Of course, it didn’t hurt anything that Jack wanted a family with Riley and that Hayley is actually Riley’s blood just made it that much better. But what made the instant family circumstance perfect was Hayley herself. She is such a sweet little girl and exactly the kind of child these two men needed as she is independent, intelligent, understanding, and has no problem letting them know what she needs and wants, or when they’re messing up. The conversation about shutting the bedroom door had me laughing out loud.

But even when life is good in the Campbell-Hayes family, it’s rarely smooth sailing and Texas Winter saw the guys dealing with more than one bump in the road as they adjusted to fatherhood. Despite the fact that Riley’s father and brother are both dead, he is still cleaning up the messes from their unethical business practices at HayesOil. I absolutely loved how Jack responded when Riley finally confessed to him about what he was dealing with. It would have been so easy for Jack to get offended that Riley kept secrets or didn’t trust in his support, but instead he reiterated that he would always have Riley’s back, but that he understood Riley’s fears (even if they were unfounded). The way in which Riley got to show Jack that he had his back as well was hilarious. Well, after Jack calmed down and no longer wanted to kill his mother’s boyfriend, that is. While the biggest twist in Texas Winter relates to Hayley and is far too spoiler-riddled to discuss, Riley’s handling of the situation was impressive and the author had me on the edge of my seat the whole time.

Texas Winter was a joy to read. There is plenty of action and suspense, but it’s blended well with the sweetness that is Hayley and her entry into Riley and Jack’s life. I loved watching Jack and Riley’s relationship continue to grow over the course of the book and how they seemed to instinctively adjust to Hayley’s presence – or at least knew when the other needed a swift kick in the rear. My only complaint is that the ending felt a little rushed; or perhaps I just wasn’t ready for the book to be over when I got to the end. Either way, I enjoyed Texas Winter and am already looking forward to reading Texas Heat soon. 


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