Rating: 4.5 stars
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Jack and Riley Campbell-Hayes have been through so many things together, and overcome it all to get to the place where they are today, a happy couple with an adorable daughter and a wonderful extended family. Each hurdle in their path, whether it was the disastrous start to their relationship, fires, gunshots, and even the deepest of family betrayals haven’t kept them from each other or hurt their deep bond.
Now its time for another change, another forward step that will enlarge their family…..that of having another child. This time, the child will have Jack’s DNA and their chosen path is surrogacy. But before Jack and Riley know it, their plans for just one child are being hijacked, first by their surrogate’s pregnancy and then by a young four-year-old boy, Max, in foster care As Jack and Riley quickly find out, nothing is ever easy, especially in the state of Texas where gay couples, even rich ones, have a tougher path as families.
I have followed the romance of Jack and Riley through three books now and still can’t get enough. Starting with The Heart of Texas where the men meet and marry under the worst possible circumstances through Texas Winter where Riley learned about his daughter and the devious workings of his family to Texas Heat and the expansion of the Double D, I have felt an intimate connection to these men and their future together as a couple and family. So I was thrilled to see Texas Family released so I could pick up where we had left off before, with the men wanting to have another child, this time Jack’s.
But the road to having children is never an easy one, especially for gay couples. Then locate the gay couple in question in the not so gay friendly state of Texas and the obstacles in front of them increase exponentially. R.J.Scott makes sure that Jack and Riley’s pursuit of a surrogate to have their child is realistically described to her credit. This is not an easy process in any respect. From the men’s thoughts on whose sperm to donate, to the woman who will carry their child, it is a complicated procedure, fraught with the possibility of rejection, pain, and the right of the birth mother to refuse to turn over the child when it is born. The author brings us right into the couple’s journey to fatherhood, making all the many emotions and complex decisions seem as though they could be ours. As Riley and Jack questioned the two surrogates as to why they would agree to such an emotional and physically draining procedure, they asked the same questions that were in my mind as well. It all felt authentic. It was stressful, hopeful, and ultimately one of the most rewarding experiences for them all. Trust me, by the time everyone ends up in the maternity room, your eyes will be filled with tears of joy along with everyone present.
But if that is not enough, Scott adds yet another dimension to this picture of Jack and Riley’s expanding family. The couple that is the surrogate and her husband are also foster parents. In their care is a very special child named Max. I won’t spoil either his introduction or his history but needless to say that Max will grab onto your heart just as quickly as he does Jack and Riley’s. So adoption and its complications enters into the story, again not an easy path for a gay couple, not only in Texas but elsewhere.
In fact Texas Family is about more than just Jack and Riley and their efforts to expand their family. It’s about their extended family’s efforts to have children or to move forward in their troubled relationships. It’s about family in every aspect you can think of. It’s Jack’s sister whose fragile health complicates her dreams for another child. It’s Riley’s sister’s problems with the man she loves, one Riley doesn’t approve of. It’s their mothers, step fathers, and co workers. It’s even the new worker recently arrived with problems of his own.
If I have a quibble, it’s that the author has packed so much into one story that it threatens to burst at the seams. Just the introduction of a new thread about the latest hire, a young man with a troubled past, had me wanting more, yet wishing she had postponed that element in favor of a last minute look at Jack, Riley, and their new family. I ended up wanting more of everything and everyone. The Double D Ranch is a huge canvas and R.J. Scott is taking advantage of every square inch to bring us a multigenerational family saga, complete with drama, laughter, and romance.
I know the author has at least two more books planned. I hope that the Texas saga will continue on much, much longer. I love this series and highly recommend both the series and this book. If you are new to the Texas saga, go back to the beginning and see how it all starts. Otherwise, some of the relationships and past events will make little sense to a reader picking up this book to read as a standalone story.
Here are the stories in the Texas series in the order they were written and should be read:
- The Heart of Texas (Texas, #1)
- Texas Winter (Texas, #2)
- Texas Heat (Texas, #3)
- Texas Family (Texas, #4)
- Texas Christmas (coming soon)
Cover by Meredith Russell. The cover is adorable and perfect in every way.