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The Rancher Takes a Family

The Montana McGregor Brothers series

by Paula Altenburg

Rugged rancher Jake McGregor wrangles cattle better than kids, but when he’s suddenly saddled with three grieving children, he’s determined to step up. His sister’s kids shouldn’t pay for her error in judgment in naming him guardian. Problem is, he doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing. And the woman who attempts to help with his every fumble is the one woman he wants to steer clear of…

Lacey Anderson loves a challenge, but Jake’s already broken her heart once. When his tall shadow darkens the doorway of her classroom, she’s ready to shut him out – until she meets her new students, and sees the desperation in Jake’s eyes. Emotional intelligence is so not his forte. But she’s done banging her head against that wall.

Jake, however, is finally ready to learn how to love and Lacey’s the teacher he wants. Is she willing to risk her own heart again to teach him?

Altenburg delivers a sweet second chance romance about an unprepared guy who steps up to take care of his orphaned niece and nephews.  And it is absolutely adorable how these big strong guys are responsible for the oh-so-cute kids.  They each have a connection with a different kid and it wonderfully sets up future stories.  Even better it’s done with just the lightest amount of drama – all three guys are opinionated, but they handle any disagreements pretty well.

There’s also only a little drama on the romance side of things.  Jake and Lacey had a high school relationship but thanks to some miscommunication and assumptions it ended with hurt feelings.  Now, years later, they are thrown back together again thru the kids.  And I am so happy that Altenburg made it so the relationship was about the couple and not some desperate need for a surrogate mom.  Instead Jake is just taking advantage of the situation to reconnect with Lacey and give a relationship as adults a chance.

The relationship portion flows pretty easily and the story is as much about the new family dynamic.  You’ll totally go “awww” over these kids and how the men work to make the adjustment to their new situation as easy as possible.  They do the best they can to help the kids, as they all are having to get used to their loss and the new normal of their lives.  I’m very much looking forward to the next brother’s story so I can spend time with this group again.