Series: The Good, the Bad and the Texan (Book 5)
When Jessica Farrell shows up on Nate Rafferty's ranch five months pregnant with his child, he doesn't hesitate to propose. But the beautiful nurse can't believe this wealthy rancher will ever change his love 'em and leave 'em ways.
Nate tempts her into a monthlong trial run, and soon they're spending long days -- and steamy nights -- living in close quarters. But can he give Jessie the love she's truly looking for? The clock is ticking…
Very good book. Jessie and Nate have had an on-again, off-again relationship for more than two years. The last time that Nate broke things off, Jessie told him she was done and not to come back. Four and a half months later she shows up at his ranch to tell him she's pregnant, but doesn't expect anything from him.
Nate is one of six foster brothers who spent their teen years on the Last Chance Ranch - their only option other than juvenile detention after getting into serious trouble. He has avoided getting serious about anyone because he is afraid of turning out like his worthless father. But no matter how many times he ran from Jessie and his growing feelings for her, he always came back to her. When he finds out she's pregnant, he proposes, determined to do everything he can to take care of her and the baby. He's surprised when she turns him down, but talks her into staying at his ranch for a month so that he can convince her.
Jessie is wary of staying so close to Nate. She appreciates his desire to do the right thing and be there for the baby, but she has to protect her heart. She won't marry for anything less than love, and Nate's track record doesn't give her any confidence that he has the staying power she needs. But she can't deny him his chance to be involved, so she gives in.
Nate was pretty sweet in his attempts to convince her while keeping his promise not to pressure her. It wasn't easy for him to deny himself the closeness he wanted. I loved seeing him read everything he could find so he could try to understand what she was going through. His reaction at the ultrasound was priceless, as the truth about becoming a father hit him hard. Nate and the unicorn toy at the baby store was such a sweet scene. His feelings for Jessie continue to grow, though admitting it is still a problem. He knows he has to tell her about his past, but is deeply afraid that once she knows the truth she will leave him.
The time she spent with Nate was hard for Jessie. It was so hard because she wanted him, and being close was making her ache for him. She was afraid that if she let herself believe in a future together, he would leave again and her heart would never recover. She could see how hard he was trying, and some of the things he did made her love him even more. How much she cared was really brought home to her when she saw him compete in the rodeo and feared for his safety.
But it was a health crisis involving Jessie that made Nate realize that he couldn't lose her. I loved seeing him gather up his courage to tell her everything, in spite of his fear. Of course, he hadn't had the confidence in Jessie that he should have had, and he's blown away by her reaction. In return, his reaction to Jessie's tale about her parents is perfect. He deals with them awesomely. Seeing Nate finally believe that he's capable of being a husband and father was the perfect ending to the book.
One of the great things about the book was the frequent appearances of Nate's foster brothers. I love the relationships they have, with the fun and teasing, but also the immediate support when it's needed. I loved the reaction he got from Jaron when Nate told him the baby was a girl. It made me laugh and think of other men I know who have had the same reaction. It was also very emotional to see the way they all showed up at the hospital to support Nate while Jessie had surgery. The scene where they are all betting on Jaron's downfall was a great lead in to the next book.