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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Rancher's Son by Leigh Duncan

Rancher's Son by Leigh Duncan
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (218 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poppy

Sarah Magarity just broke the first rule of social work: don't get personally involved. But how can she ignore the orphaned tyke who shows up in her office on Christmas Eve? The chance to make a difference is awfully tempting.So's the rancher with the sexy smile who might be the boy's father. Still, Sarah has to be nuts to let Ty Parker sweet-talk her into a cattle drive across rugged Florida wilderness.

Ty can't believe he might have a son to carry on his legacy. Still, until the DNA results come back, he isn't making any plans. But a strange thing happens on the open road. Amid rattlesnake scares and cozy campfires, he's growing closer to the boy…and to Sarah, the fiery redhead Ty can't keep out of his arms. They could be a happy family, unless the truth tears them apart….

I can’t blame the heroine of this story for losing her heart to little Jimmy, because I did, too and right off the bat.

Sarah is a social worker who’s left with an orphaned boy on Christmas Eve. The father is potentially a man she knows, Ty Parker, but there’s no real proof. Ty is understandably shocked that he might be the father to the boy and asks for DNA tests. While they wait for those to come through, either little Jimmy has to go to the group home or stay with his “dad”…who happens to be about to leave on a cattle drive.

Of course we know what the choice is going to be, and that Sarah is required to go along with them. It’s a wonderful time for everyone to get to know each other, away from phones, computers and other distractions.

Ms. Duncan scores again with this heartwarming story. I sped through it, gobbling each chapter up in big gulps, completely engrossed in the story. The characters are all three-dimensional and completely believable, each with their own unique set of quirks and traits.

While I do admit finding it a little surprising that a seasoned social worker would take the word of clearly troubled boys over a respected rancher, thus creating the conflict for our couple (at least at the start), it didn’t ruin the story for me. I understand, I suppose, why it had to be that way and why our heroine had to start out by feeling dubious about Ty. If she hadn’t, everything else would have been too easy.

Jimmy might have been a bit too well-behaved, and I might have disagreed with some parenting choices that were made (particularly about how he was allowed to eat), but again, this wasn’t a deal breaker. Not when the rest of the story, and the secondary characters were so delightful (particularly Doris).

Why not take a trip on a cattle drive and get to know this group of folks? It’s a sweet, touching and very romantic story with an unexpected and lovely ending.