Reining in Justice (Sweetwater Ranch) - Delores Fossen

Series: Sweetwater Ranch (Book 6)

"Someone's trying to break in."

 

A frantic 911 call sends Sweetwater Springs deputy Reed Caldwell racing to the home of his ex-wife. But the kidnappers didn't come for Addison. Their target was her two-month-old adopted daughter. Except she isn't adopted. And Reed is the father. Now he has to grapple with the shock of sudden parenthood while finding a safe haven for Addison and their baby girl. With desire reigniting -- and the threats against mother and child escalating -- the Texas lawman will do whatever it takes to protect the woman he loves. And the child who needs them both.

 

Excellent book, once again with action grabbing my attention from the first page. As deputy, Reed is the one to respond when a call comes in from his ex-wife. He arrived at her house to find her tied up and someone attempting to kidnap her daughter. After foiling the attempt, Reed is stunned to find out that the baby girl is actually his, born via a surrogate. And that surrogacy seems to be at the root of the trouble that has come to Addison.

 

Addison and Reed had divorced when Reed could no longer handle Addison's willingness to do anything, including put her own well-being in danger, in order to have a baby. Reed also had misgivings about his ability to be a good father given his own background. Finding Addison and Emily in danger reminds Reed that he had never stopped loving her.

 

Addison feels guilty that she used the last of their embryos without telling Reed, but she can't really regret something that gave her the baby she'd wanted. Now that he knows about Emily, Addison knows that she can't keep them apart, nor does she want to. The question is how well can she deal with seeing the man she never stopped loving?

 

The heat between Addison and Reed is obvious from the beginning, and the stresses of the danger they are in only magnifies it. Reed is determined to protect Addison and Emily and soon realizes that letting them back out of his life isn't going to happen. I really enjoyed seeing Reed overcome his fears of fatherhood and really connect with little Emily. Addison is equally determined to protect her daughter, and hates that she has brought such danger to Reed's doorstep. Thrown together as they are, both Reed and Addison are reminded of the good things about their marriage.

 

The suspense of the story was fantastic. Even though it is part of the Sweetwater Ranch series, there isn't anything more than a passing reference to the continuing storyline of the McKinnon murder trial. However, it does connect with the books that dealt with a baby farm racket (Kidnapping in Kendall County, Cowboy Behind the Badge). From the beginning Addison and Emily are in danger and the question is from who and why? They quickly discover that it has something to do with the surrogate and the firm who set it up, but the who is much less clear. It seems like every time they get a lead it only confuses the issue. There are multiple suspects, any of whom could be the culprit. The action and danger continued to build in intensity until the final confrontation. I have to admit, I was surprised by who was behind it.