by Michelle Beattie
Release Date: September 24, 2020
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Book #4 in the Tangled Up in Texas series
Number of pages: 237
Source: ARC from publisher
Contemporary Romance M/F
Read 9/22/20 to 9/24/20
Ryker Granger can’t believe his luck when he meets a beautiful woman stranded on the side of the road outside of Last Stand, Texas. Normally this rancher and part-time mechanic would be too reserved to jump into a relationship, especially since his family is still reeling from questions surrounding their father’s heart attack. But his life’s a tangled mess and Shannon is a welcome distraction.
Shannon Smith set out to meet Ryker Granger. Her staged car breakdown was only the beginning of her plan. Meeting Ryker is her chance to right the wrongs his father inflicted on her family. Her plan skews wildly off course—she only meant to score a date, not fall in love. And Ryker’s a straight arrow; he’ll never forgive such blatant deception. But how can she walk away from the man who has claimed her heart?
As Ryker solves the mystery around his father and learns why Shannon came to Last Stand, he faces his toughest choice yet. Forgive a lie or lose the woman he loves forever?
While I’ve been adoring this series, the beginning of this story gave me pause. I’m not a huge fan of the “secret baby” trope, and it seemed this was going in this direction. If you feel the same about that trope, rest assured this isn’t your standard secret baby story. In fact, Shannon is doing what she thinks is best in order to NOT allow her sister to keep this huge secret. That may not bode well for my feelings on what I believe may be the next story in this series. But that’s not for me to worry about now.
I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of the “huge secret” trope regardless if it’s a baby or not. But I could understand Shannon’s initial plan and the fact that she was looking to do the right thing. Not just by her niece, Jenna. Also, by Ryker’s brother Hudson, who deserved to learn things before the rest of his family. I’m still not one to enjoy that empty pit I get in my stomach when stories like this come to a head, though.
Ryker and Shannon have a great chemistry and really bring out the best in each other. It’s actually quite cute and sweet how shy and unsure Ryker is when he finds himself feeling things so deeply. He’s bashful and bold at the same time and it’s quite the writing feat for the author to get that feeling spot on. And Shannon, despite the rough times she’s had in her life, is a breath of fresh air. She does all she can to follow her moral compass, keeps a positive outlook even when things are looking confusing and impossible, and will hurt herself to do what she knows is right.
And yes, when we get to that culmination of the secrets being kept, I feel that terrible pit as I reference above. Again, I still understood Shannon’s motivations and can’t fault her for the way things played out. She tried so hard to do things the right way.
I’m having a hard time believing I will ever be able to forgive Ryker’s dad in the future. I don’t know if that’s even a place the author is intending to take this series. There are other (surprise) storylines that come back to the forefront in this book that I suspected, but enjoyed watching unfold.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Secrets and all. I love the Granger boys and the women who they fall in love with.
**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**