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Monday, October 12, 2009

Madison's Children by Linda Warren

Madison's Children by Linda Warren
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (240 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Camellia

A smart person knows when to accept her lot in life. So Madison Belle has resigned herself to a solo existence running her family's ranch. That's before she finds a young girl and her baby brother hiding out in her barn…and before she meets their tough but tender father.

As the only law in High Cotton, Texas, Walker is struggling to juggle his job with single parenthood. But his kids need a mother, and Maddie has a way of making them all feel like a family again. The beautiful rancher is even starting to make Walker believe in miracles. Until his ex-wife shows up, claiming to be carrying his child…

Madison (Maddie), a cancer survivor and the middle Belle daughter, is back in Texas to manage the family ranch—High Five. With seasoned and loyal help, she has the ranch up and running successfully after a hurricane and a bad fire. Getting her own life up and running is taking a lot more effort with the stakes a lot higher.

When three children show up in her barn, Maddie becomes involved with Walker a man she has been in awe of for years that is now constable of High Cotton, Texas. She tells herself he is just “too manly” for her liking. Her gentle, “good-to-the-bone” nature makes her unease around him. When his frightened ten-year-old daughter Haley says he is kind of like Rambo, Maddie says she’ll “kick Rambo’s butt” if she needs to in order to ease the child’s fears.

Walker, former marine and big-time lawman, returns to High Cotton with his two children after his divorced wife abandons them. He loves them dearly, but he had put his work before them. Consequently, due to lies their mother told them about Walker, they feel unwanted. Walker knows he is failing miserably as a parent and has not the least idea how to set things right.

Linda Warren brings the story to life with her revelation of deep emotions that govern the lives and actions of the characters. Maddie’s many levels of feelings loom so real as she ponders the “what if” that cancer survivors struggle to come to terms with. Also, her innate “good girl” personality along with her upbringing war against the desire she has to jump the track and experience all possibilities of love and life with Walker.

Walker’s “go-by-the-rules” attitude without regard for variables creates an emotional storm that threatens to swamp them all. Maddie gets past his rigidity to some degree but it takes a tough-looking biker, revealing some hard-to-shallow truths, to finally free him to do what he WANTS to do not what he feels like he SHOULD do.

MADISON’S CHILDREN bubbles over with love that is given without reservations for and to all from Gran Dorothea to baby Valentine and all the others in between.

Linda Warren gives us a truly “feel-good” romance that I stayed up late to finish.