by Michelle Beattie
Release Date: June 10, 2021
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Book #5 in the Tangled Up in Texas series
Number of pages: 216
Source: ARC from publisher
Contemporary Romance M/F
Read 6/6/21 to 6/11/21
This time he wants it all…
Hudson Granger’s family has been estranged since he was a boy. Sixteen years later, not much is different. Or so he thought. After an eighteen-month deployment, he arrives home to his family’s Texas ranch and is shocked by how much life has changed. His brothers are mending fences and have found love. Their father is slowly recovering from a massive heart attack. The kick to Hudson’s chest—learning he has an infant daughter.
Nurse Avery Collins never planned on telling Hudson their vacation fling had resulted in a child. He’d made it clear he wasn’t looking for anything serious, and after her dad ran out on her and her family, she didn’t want to rely on a man for anything. But when her daughter has a serious health scare, Avery’s hand is forced.
Despite their sizzling attraction, Avery is determined to keep Hudson at arm’s length, co-parenting only. But Hudson wants everything—a wife and a family. And he’s determined to get it.
I’m going to give you some good and some bad right off the bat. This story was an extremely slow start for me. I could not stand the female lead and found her to be very selfish. That made it hard for me to want to continue to read. The only reason I kept picking this book back up is because I trust this author. To be fair, I have never made it a secret that I do not like the secret baby trope. Looking back, I even guessed this book would end up a problem for me while I was reading the last book, Cowboy Tough. If you’re a fan of this trope, the beginning may not bother you as much as it bothered me. I will absolutely never agree with what Avery did and find her reasons to be lacking, but the author did have me at least understanding her mindset and finally even liking Avery.
While finding sympathy for Avery was hard for me, I adored Hudson. All of the brothers in the Tangle Up in Texas series have issues with their father, with good reason. Hudson has more reason than the rest of them in despising their dad. As soon as he found out he had a kid, he was all in. He wanted to be involved in every aspect of Jenna’s life. The good, the bad, and the stinky. He could have judged Avery much more harshly than he did. His reasons for keeping a level head and trying to take Avery’s feelings into consideration had everything to do with Jenna and how things would affect her. He was a seriously swoon-worthy lead.
The thing that helped Avery to have some redemption in my eyes had more to do with her thoughts than her actions. She quickly learned to share custody with Hudson, but she would have had to do that no matter what, that’s why her actions didn’t impress me. Soon after Hudson met Jenna, and Avery was able to see what a caring and loving father he was, she thought about how angry she would have been if the situation was reversed. She often felt guilty and apologized many times over. I usually hate being even mildly spoilerish, but it took me days to get through the first few chapters of this book because of Avery. I really want you to know that she at least knows what she did was wrong in so many ways.
With all of the baggage this story had going in, I was surprised to actually be rooting for Hudson and Avery by the end. The author somehow still conveyed amazing chemistry and a connection that was other than parenting the same child. Overall, I enjoyed this book. I’m still not a fan of the secret baby trope and probably never will be. It was hard for me to come to a conclusion on my rating. It’s written well and has some really likable characters. The fact that I had such a strong reaction to Avery speaks to the author’s talent. But I felt it was maybe overboard. There are other things Avery does along the way to really highlight how selfish she can be, not just with Hudson and Jenna. So I often felt there wasn’t continuity in her character/personality. She swung from selfish to giving a bit too widely. I knew going in this was a trope I don’t enjoy so want to be careful I’m not judging the book on that alone. I don’t feel I am. I would definitely recommend this story to those that like this trope. I really liked this series overall and couldn’t see myself skipping the last brother getting his HEA.
**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**