“I love you. I. Love. You. I’m a jealous, possessive, horny man who wants his wife by his side, but I’ll do whatever it takes to make you happy.” – Jake Matheson
Oho, I knew Jake was a sweet guy, but this was even better than I imagined! Turns out Rob wasn’t the only Matheson boy born with a natural skill of knowing how to treat the ladies! Well, ok, Hannah didn’t exactly count as a lady in my mind, but she did for poor Jake, and that’s what counts.
If you thought Holt Matheson was a cunning old man who wanted his boys to get married already, you thought correctly – and with this book, he takes it a step further. After Rob and Morgan’s happy marriage, the Matheson senior is causing trouble again – this time to his eldest son, Jake. Thus, Jake is told to either get married before the end of the month, or get out. No Double-Bar-K for him, no land, nothing. But Jake is not the only one Holt blackmails into his “brilliant” plan. Hannah Ashton needs Holt’s permission for Gladys, the bison she rescued, to stay at the Double-Bar-K, so she has to agree to spend two weeks – from morning to night – with Jake. Hannah and Jake don’t mind, in fact the deal works just fine for them, only there’s a slight problem. Jake wants Hannah as his wife – always did – and Hannah wants to leave Chance Creek to study in order to become a vet. Can two people who obviously love each other but want very different things in life overcome their differences and try to works things out between them? Or will Holt’s matchmaking schemes separate them when they’re meant to be together?
Where to start… I’ll start with the good stuff. And that good stuff was Jake. All of him. Not a single speck of him made me cringe or facepalm. Despite what Rob said, I think Jake was working very hard to show Hannah how much he loved her and that he was willing to share the house chores with her. That he wanted equality. And when he wanted to leave everything behind in order to study just because he needed to be near Hannah, my heart nearly stopped beating. Oh, you sweet, sweet man! What a catch you could have been in the real world!
All that sexy, caring, romantic, clearly-born-to-be-a-perfect-father mass of testosterone, all this brilliance, all this talent and tenderness in bed… and it goes wasted on Hannah. No, seriously, she may not be as bad as Claire – who honestly is a bitch-level all on her own – but she’s a good second-from-the-top on that particular list. You want to study? I love you! But you don’t have to be like that to the poor guy who worships the ground you walk on – some of us are in even worse states and we don’t treat others the way you do, Hannah, dear. It’s not the same way Rose treated those around her, not at all. Hannah wanted intependence, but she wanted Jake to be hers, too. She was allowed to leave Chance Creek, but God forbid Jake enlists and joins her wherever she’s going! Nooo, he has to stay back and wait for her for four years – IF all goes well, and that’s a big if, in case the capital letters didn’t give it away. The wonderful man was working his butt off to make her happy, and nothing did it for her! Instead she got even angrier with each sweet move he was making – like she was expecting him to do something wrong. Let alone the fact she slept with him and then blamed his dad for it – uh, no, Gladys or no Gladys, if you don’t want to sleep with a man, you just don’t, bison be damned. And since you had no reason for hormones to do their magic (if you know what I mean), there was no excuse for this whole series of trashy, over-the-top reactions.
Funny thing is, Holt, the mastermind behind all this, came off as quite the hated old fellow in this book. In Rob’s story he really was a bastard, but I came to realize he’s just old and wants grandkids soon – he’s just too much of an uneducated brute to know how to do it with tact. Kinda reminds me of a less polished MacGregor patriarch… Anyway, let’s hope he doesn’t try to do the same with Ned and Luke.
As for Ned the Brute, well… Turn out he’s not that dumb and bad after all. I guess he’s just misunderstood. Being the second-born, always living in the shadow of either Jake who was the heir, or Rob who was a hidden genius, it’s only natural for him to act like an oversized bully. But that doesn’t mean he’s that bad. True, he was a jerk to both his sisters-in-law in their respective stories so far, but the way he treated Fila tells a different story. It was so much… Ned-ish. All harsh and violent, and yet, it looked like a grumpy bear trying to make a scared lamb see he’s actually a vegan so the lamb doesn’t have to feel scared. He didn’t coddle her, instead he brought forth – even for a little – the woman he knew she could be. And that showed that while he can’t read, and his manners suck, Ned cannot be blamed for lack of a good heart and good intentions.
Now that it’s Ned’s turn, I can’t wait to find out how he’ll act to get Fila permanently by his side. And I’m just dying to find out how Holt will behave – screw that, I want to see how long he’ll hold back before he starts meddling again! Hahahaha! Once again, Cora Seton managed to give me a book to keep me sated while at the same time getting me hungry for the next story! Can’t wait!
***I was given an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***