Friday, November 10, 2017

The Cowboy's Double Trouble - Judy Duarte (HSE #2470 - Apr 2016)

Series: Brighton Valley Cowboys (Book 3)

Nanny To The Rescue!

Braden Rayburn takes his responsibilities seriously. So how's he supposed to run his newly inherited ranch while being an interim father to his orphaned half-siblings, who don't speak a word of English? Especially since the onetime pro rodeo rider knows absolutely nada about raising a family. Lucky for him, he just met the beautiful answer to his prayers.

The high-energy boy and girl twins had Elena Ramirez at "hola." But being a nanny -- even a temporary one -- at Braden's Texas ranch wasn't on the bilingual Brighton Valley native's career path, even if her attraction to the kids' gorgeous guardian is mutual. Elena's big-city dreams don't include falling for a footloose cowboy. Or is the Rayburn rancher already the perfect family man?

Good conclusion to the trilogy. Braden thought he was the youngest of the three Rayburn half-siblings until after their father's death. Then they discovered that there were six-year-old twins that no one had known about. Braden, Jason, and Carly were determined to find them and bring them home. With both Jason and Carly away with their spouses, it fell to Braden to care for Beto and Bela. He's feeling overwhelmed, especially since the kids don't speak English and he doesn't speak Spanish. He is at his wit's end until he meets Elena.

Elena is home in Brighton Valley after graduating from college, working for her dad, as she saves the money to open her own store in Houston. She is the oldest of seven children and spent a lot of time as a teen taking care of her younger half-siblings. She can't wait to make her dream happen and get out of Brighton Valley. She's captivated by Beto and Bela when she first meets them, but becoming a nanny is not high on her list of things to do. But when Bradon makes her an offer she can't refuse, off to the ranch she goes.

I liked both Bradon and Elena. I loved that Bradon didn't hesitate to step up and take care of the twins. They are family, and there's no way that he'd let strangers raise them. He doesn't think he's the right one to do it permanently, as he is single and has no intention of changing that. He'd rather see either of his married siblings take that on. Be that as it may, he puts a lot of effort into making sure they are happy. I loved the scene with Bradon, the kids, and the Horton book. It really showed what a good guy he was. Though I liked her, there were times that I had trouble warming up to Elena. She is sweet and loving with the twins, and I liked the way that they connected so quickly. Unfortunately, I also felt like she was a bit judgmental of people. She seemed to look down on her stepmom for having six kids, and also for her "bland" decorating style. She was also quick to judge Lola on her appearance. Fortunately, I think she did a fair amount of maturing by the end of the book.

I enjoyed the development of their relationship. There were sparks between them from the moment they met, but both were determined to resist. Bradon knows that Elena is not the fling type of woman and that is all he can offer. He got his heart broken back in high school and has resisted risking his heart ever since. Elena has big plans for her life and has no intention of getting involved with a man whose roots are buried deep in the very place she wants to leave. As they spend time together caring for the kids, they get to know each other, while their attraction continues to simmer. There are some sweet scenes of all four together, giving them a feeling of being a family. I loved watching Bradon realize that Elena has worked her way past his walls and that he now wishes for a future with her. He is also sensitive enough to realize that he can't ask her to give up her dreams. I ached for him as his attempts to show his feelings and yet give her a choice went awry. Elena also realized that she had fallen for Bradon, and has her own conflict. How can she have the relationship she wants without giving up her dreams? A long conversation with her dad helped her see the truth. I really liked Bradon's big moment at the end, as he lays his heart on the line.

I loved the two kids, Bela and Beto. They were adorable, but also realistic. I ached for them and the confusion they must have felt at the loss of their mother, then the father they never knew died also. I enjoyed their attempt to have some control over their lives. It was fun to see them settle into life on the ranch, adding their own touches with their menagerie. Beto was too cute with his desire to be just like Bradon, right down to the boots and hat. Bradon and Elena had no way of stopping the kids from working their way into their hearts. I loved the epilogue and seeing how things turned out for everyone.

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