Tall, Dark and Texan
by Jodi Thomas
“Whispering Mountain” series Book #3
He can’t hide from love forever.
Teagen McMurray would ride to hell and back to protect his land. He’d certainly never felt that way about a woman. At least not until Jessie Barton showed up with her three little girls, desperate for a place to stay. Suddenly he finds himself proposing marriage, telling himself it is only to protect her and her children…
Jessie had no place to go except Whispering Mountain – and to Teagen, the one person who couldn’t deny her, thanks to the correspondence he shared with her dead husband. But what will happen once the man she’s loved through his letters discovers her tangle of lies?
Review: A little too tame for my liking.
When Jessie’s husband dies, she’s certain of two things: the bookstore will not be hers even after her husband’s promise before his death, and that her husband’s mother will stop at nothing to get her hands on the one living connection she has to her son – his children. Jessie refuses to allow that to happen, and fleas Chicago with her three daughters, Emily, Rose, and Bethie. She has only one hope – that once she reaches Texas, she’ll be able to hide behind her lies and that Teagen McMurray will take them in.
When Teagen goes into town for supplies, a mother and her three young daughters are waiting for him. A letter from Eli Barton, Jessie’s now dead husband, asking him to take them in. Believing the letter is from the only friend he has, he takes them home.
Both feel an attraction, but neither wants to acknowledge it. For Teagen, his land and ranch should come first. He distanced himself way from civilized nature that he wouldn’t believe Jessie could ever feel something for him. Jessie’s unsure of her feelings; the only man she’s ever known physically was her husband, and after her parents death, her life wasn’t all that great.
However, Teagen soon learns of Jessie’s lies when a judge, a lawyer and the sheriff arrive with the legal right to take her children back to their grandmother; with no family or means to support herself and the girls, the judge has no choice but to grant the petition. Jessie doesn’t have any relatives from California coming to get them. However, if Jessie was to be remarried…
Teagen marries her, if only to protect Jessie and the girls. But it would be in name only. He’s determined that nothing will ever happen between them, and he’ll find a house for them closer to town. And Jessie learns she’s pregnant once again. But she’s still holding more lies from Teagen. How will Teagen react when he finds out?
**There’s a reason I don’t read straight romance anymore. I need more “oomph” in my story, more substance, and this one lacked what I usually look for in a good book. If you’re a pure romantic at heart, this is a book for you. Otherwise…
When Teagen first brings Jessie home, it’s uncomfortable, but the more they talk, the more a friendship begins to form. That friendship is torn apart when one of her lies is revealed, and even though strained, later the relationship starts to rebuild.
Teagen is a strong rancher, devoted to his horses and the McMurray land. He’s so far removed in a civilized manner, I can understand why he acts the way he does, but that’s about it.
Jessie is stronger than she believes herself to be. And she really does love Teagen, even if he refuses to believe it. It’s just that – I didn’t feel it. Yes, I felt a physical attraction, a spark between them, but that’s about it.
What I liked was Teagen’s interaction with Jessie’s girls. He had a difficult time getting through to the oldest, Emily, and we learn the reasons, and I truly fell in love with him for that alone.
But that’s it. There was a plot, there is supposed to be an attack, but it wasn’t that great an attack – over just as fast as it begins, and meanwhile, Teagen learns that all that correspondence with his friend Eli wasn’t Eli at all, but with Jessie. When Teagen leaves to deal with the man who wants his land and horses, he’s gone for months, and yet, not a word from him. It brought back the disconnection that you feel in the beginning and even when he returns, the contact between them was too brief for you to really feel anything between them but words.
Not a bad novel, but I won’t be reading it again.