Book Review of Lone Star Father (Cowboys of Stampede, Texas, Bk 3) (Harlequin Western Romance, No 1695)

Lone Star Father (Cowboys of Stampede, Texas, Bk 3) (Harlequin Western Romance, No 1695)
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Good book. Reid is the last of the Hardell boys to come home to Stampede. He had left at eighteen to join the military and escape from the abuse of his father. He had no intention of coming back, though he had his own way of supporting his family. Everything changed when he discovered that he had a twelve-year-old daughter. Now he hopes that they can help him learn to be a father.

Scarlett followed her cousins to Stampede after a romantic relationship failed and also affected her job. She's found a new job and has unexpectedly discovered that she likes the pace of small-town life after all.

I loved the first meeting between Scarlett and Reid and how it echoed a previous interaction between them. Scarlett had had quite the crush on Reid, in spite of him being one of those "wild Hardell boys" and it seems some of those feelings are still there. Reid was also affected by their encounter and looked forward to seeing more of her, which was highly likely since her cousins are married to his brothers.

The development of their relationship was not an easy one. Reid and Scarlett connected right away, finding each other very easy to talk to. Scarlett also bonded with Reid's daughter, Jessie, and wanted to help him with his relationship with her. But that all comes to a crashing halt when Scarlett is assigned to be Jessie's caseworker. She can do whatever necessary to help Jessie, but a relationship with Reid is now out of the question. Unfortunately, staying away from each other is harder than they expect.

I really liked both Reid and Scarlett. Scarlett loves helping kids of all types with any kind of problem. She's still hurting from what happened with her ex, but she puts that aside to help Reid with Jessie. I loved her patience with his insecurities, and her determination to see them succeed. She also has a terrific relationship with her cousins and her great aunt. I ached so much for Reid. The things that drove him away from home have continued to affect him. He harbors some resentment toward his brothers but also knows that he's made mistakes of his own. I loved his determination to be a good father to Jessie and understood his fear of not being what she needs or wants.

I loved seeing all the characters behave with maturity and respect for each other (okay - except for Emmett and Amelia). There are some misunderstandings and secrets that come out regarding the Hardell family that go a long way toward repairing the relationships among the brothers and with their grandfather. The problems that arise because of Reid and Scarlett's relationship are also dealt with realistically and without too much drama. I especially liked the way that the family pulled together to help both Reid and Scarlett achieve their dreams. The big moment between Reid and Scarlett, with Jessie's help, was very sweet.

Throughout the series, I have thoroughly enjoyed the contentious relationship between Emmett and Amelia. It's been fun to watch the very unusual courtship between the two oldsters. There are a couple of eyebrow-raising scenes that were quite unexpected, but also highly amusing. I loved Amelia's actions at the end and Emmett's reaction.