Rating: 3.75 stars
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Virge Stevens is a cop with the LAPD (and a famous writer, but that’s under a pen name, so nobody really knows about that). He’s currently on leave because he’s taking care of, and in the process of adopting, his nephew Donavan (D to everyone). Both of D’s parents are dead, and his sister (D’s mother) asked Virge to raise him. D is traumatized and barely speaks. He does use some sign language he learned at his daycare, so communicating with the poor little boy is a little easier. Virge has brought D to Montana to get therapy.
Jared is from a big family and they own a ranch. He’s still smarting from a break up where he was physically and emotionally abused, but he’s determined to run the ranch with the help of his family. Jared’s brother, Nate, dresses up as a cowboy (The Reading Wrangler) and reads to children at the local library, but he can’t make it one day and asks Jared to fill in for him. That day, D is drawn to Jared, and Virge is so happy to see D so enthralled. It doesn’t hurt that he finds Jared very attractive.
A friendship with Jared’s family forms, and Virge and D start spending a lot of time at the ranch. Along with that, Jared and Virge start seeing each other more. This leads them to discovering feelings both men thought were long buried within themselves. Life throws them a few nasty curveballs, and they have to decide whether or not they are willing to fight through them together.
I liked Jared’s Family just fine. Virge was a hero to me. Here he was, a single man stepping up to take in his toddler nephew, bringing him all the way to Montana so he could get proper therapy, and even though he occasionally felt overwhelmed, he kept fighting the good fight to keep and adopt the boy. Jared was heroic in his own way as well. After one meeting, he feels a pull toward Virge for sure, but he’s willing to help him with D…bringing him out to the ranch, introducing him to his family, and doing things like teaching them about horses and ranching. Little D was precious and heartbreaking. He’s only three years old and both of his parents are dead. He’s having to adjust to life without them, and the poor thing was just overwhelmed.
Reading about their coming together was a pleasure. It happened rather quickly, but Jared’s Family isn’t a long story, so things did have to move at a faster pace than if it had been longer. Their feelings are strong, and I enjoyed reading how Jared fell for D almost as hard as he fell for Virge.
Speaking of D, I like how he was written. Children in a romance novel can be hit or miss. Sometimes, they’re so precocious, and so bratty, they’re unpleasant to read. On the other hand, sometimes they’re written to be too cute and too sweet and it can make your teeth hurt. Morgan found the right mix with D, and I was impressed by that.
The romance and sexual relationship between Virge and Jared was nice and very sweet. As I mentioned, the fall was rather fast, but it didn’t break my neck with the speed. They had great chemistry, and even though there was an age difference, it didn’t matter and wasn’t beaten into the ground as it is in some May/December stories.
The background characters were well thought out, and they fit perfectly. Jared has a big family, and they’re very supportive of each other. They’re willing to embrace Virge and D without hesitation. I especially liked Gabi, the wife of one of Jared’s brothers. She was nurturing and patient and was certainly a great addition to the story.
All of that being said, I did have a few issues with Jared’s Family. They’re not huge, but when they add up, they do make for a distraction and worthy of mentioning. Occasionally, I had a hard time differentiating between Jared and Nate…especially in the beginning. They were rather similar, even though Nate was kind of a smartass, and it took me a bit to be able to keep them straight. The dialogue was a little stiff. Sometimes, it didn’t feel like natural, free flowing conversation. Also, I thought some of the situations seemed rather choppy…kind of like the scenes jumped one to another without wrapping up. This is all just my personal opinion, and some might disagree with me on these issues.
The final quarter of the book was perfectly paced, and it all wrapped up nicely. Even with the small qualms I had, I wasn’t distracted too much, and the story held my attention all the way to the end. It was all realistic, and I was happy with how it all worked out.
I recommend Jared’s Family, and I would be interested in reading other books written by V.S. Morgan.