Jeremiah Stone: rodeo superstar. Good-time guy. Father of three? That's one pair of boots Jeremiah never expected to fill. Then his three nephews are orphaned, and his entire life changes. Not only is he now playing parent, he's also running the family ranch. It's almost too much for this cowboy.I enjoyed Unexpected Family. Molly O'Keefe weaves a romance where both the main and secondary characters are flawed and in dire need of love and support. Jeremiah is "playing" parent to his three orphaned nephews, but misses his life as a rodeo superstar and resents giving up the limelight. Lucy and her mother Sandra returned to the ranch they called home, but Lucy is lying to everyone about her business failure in Los Angeles. Jeremiah's nephews, Aaron, Ben, and little Casey miss their dead mother and feel unloved by their uncle. Ben in particular is resentful, angry and acting out. It soon becomes clear that Jeremiah doesn't know what he is doing with the boys, and when Lucy attempts to help, she's not great at it either! Jeremiah's life is a mess and a half. Additionally, Lucy and Sandra live with Walter who not only owns the ranch but is an alcoholic refusing help and in love with Sandra. So there you have it, a mess all around.
Until he encounters Lucy Alatore.
He recognizes that look in her eye and knows a steamy fling could make him feel more like himself. But the intense heat between him and Lucy is distracting him from three little boys who need his undivided attention. He's forced to choose one over the other…unless he can convince Lucy this family isn't complete without her!
O'Keefe makes some great lemonade out of these lemons though. Lucy may be deceitful and crazed over the failure of her business, but she's a loving daughter, a caring woman, and straightforward in what she wants from Jeremiah, plus when the time comes she calls him out on his bullshit too. Jeremiah is lost when it comes to the boys, which I like because what the heck does a self-centered, single, rodeo superstar know about parenting? Particularly since he is repeatedly advised not to seek help from outsiders. I like that he tries and is vulnerable and insecure about his role as a parent. I also like that Jeremiah is human enough to resent the sudden changes in his life, but still takes the responsibilities seriously. That doesn't mean he doesn't make an ass of himself with Lucy and the children more than a few times, he does.
Lucy is crazed and sometimes rather immature, but she's fun and her humor and straightforward wickedness with Jeremiah made her character likable. I mean this girl just goes out and seduces that man until he is a puddle of nothing! This is a Super Romance and there are not too many bedroom scenes, but the ones included in the book are hot! Extra points for the excellent kissing scenes, and building sexual tension. Yeah...
This is the part I wasn't sure I liked though. I don't know exactly when Lucy and Jeremiah fell in love. The "I love yous" felt rushed and not quite organic -- Lucy's thoughts of love definitely were! I believe Lucy and Jeremiah liked each other, became great friends who cared for one another, and had delicious, passionate chemistry. In other words, this was an excellent beginning to something more. O'Keefe finds a satisfactory resolution with a "happily for now" not resolved until a year later in an epilogue. So, the reader goes through the initial conflicts, but the real work that takes place to build love between our romantic couple is not part of this story.
You know what I really like about this romance? I like how O'Keefe handles a complex family situation with a large cast of characters while building a romance. The characters came alive for me in this story and kept me reading. I came to care for them! All in all this was a very good read for me.
|May 2013 - More than one
Category: Contemporary Romance
Publisher/Release Date: Harlequin/June 5, 2012
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