This is a three part series, and if you’re anything like me, I am not a fan. In this case all three books are out and ready to consume. I was drawn to this book by its premise. I couldn’t imagine how I was going to get on board with a sixteen year old getting hitched to her very dear friend who happens to be older than her and works on her family’s ranch. I am happy to say that the author did a great job. New Adult either really works for me or it really doesn’t. I have no gray areas. I guess that stems from the level of angst in each book. What was so well done with this story is Ellie’s grace in the face of tragedy. I don’t know if I would have been as strong. I took a chance on a new-to-me author and a New Adult book and was pleasantly surprised. I am not going to review each part separately, instead it’s going to be all three parts in one review.
Ellie is sixteen years old, going to school, chores on the ranch and living life as a teenager. Then her dad dies unexpectedly and her world is turned upside down. Jake used to live on the ranch adjacent to Ellie’s, so they grew up together. Jake has been living on Ellie’s ranch working for her dad since he lost his. Jake is also one hot cowboy with a girlfriend. The town turns out for the funeral, and Ellie’s dad’s attorney is very worried about what’s going to happen with her since she’s underage. Jake can’t stand the thought of Ellie being in foster care for two years, nor does she have any family that she’s willing to live with. Jake, Ellie, and their attorney decide to keep Ellie in Riverbend to finish school and take over the cattle ranch. Jake and Ellie would marry in name only and for legal purposes. You can imagine this does not go over well with Jake’s girlfriend, Janet. Ellie has one rule. Janet does not sleep over. Jake and Ellie are trying to find their way in their new circumstance. Not to mention the weirdness of it all. People know what’s going on, but Jake is having a hard time of it, especially because Ellie is so young and he absolutely doesn’t want anyone to think he’s doing anything sexual with her. Ellie is trying to cope with the loss of her father and the snide remarks from some of her school mates. They settle into a routine, Ellie learning how the ranch works to the bookkeeping to mending fences. Ellie counts down the days until they can divorce. Jake’s relationship with Janet is over, which she’s not taking too well. Ellie turns seventeen. She’s coming into her own and she’s starting to have more than friendly feelings for Jake. They get stuck in one of the worst storms to hit Montana and Ellie and Jake are out there trying to save the cattle when she loses one of her calves. She unties herself from the rope and loses her way in the storm. Jake finds her half dead and he freaks out. He strips her down and drags her and him into a hot shower to get her body temperature up. His emotions are running high, and when Ellie comes around, instead of screaming at her, he kisses her like it’s their last day on earth. Now Jake is grappling with his guilt for doing that.
Jake is putting distance between them after that steamy kiss. He’s doing it because he wants to do it again. He’s also wearing a lot of hats with Ellie. Friend, husband, father figure. Yet both Ellie and Jake are each other’s anchor. They haven’t figured this out yet, but you as the reader know, it’s in every gesture and thought. Ellie is wondering about sex and Jake isn’t dead either. Ellie tells him to take care of his needs, but the one rule still stands. Even though Jake off the page hooks up with someone else, it didn’t turn me off simply because of their unusual circumstance. Ellie, of course, really isn’t happy about his activities, because she wants to experience these things with him. Jake is having none of it. Not even when he walks in and finds Ellie watching porn on the computer. Jake has to use Ellie’s bathroom to shower and she thinks he’s done and runs smack into him while he is naked. Needless to say, she’s very impressed with what he’s packing. Jake is mortified, especially that she’s comparing him to the porn guys. Ellie and Jake are getting ready to divorce, she’s cashing in her trust fund to pay Jake the money her dad left him in the will, plus a lot more. It’s Christmas and Ellie wants Jake to be her first. It’s a beautiful moment in the book. She trusts him implicitly. They both know they need to let each other go. That maybe Ellie and Jake feeling the things they do have more to do with circumstance than rather what would be organic if things were different.
Ellie heads off to college to see the world and Jake stays on the ranch to work it for her. He still has his dreams of buying back his land and building his home. They are each living separate lives, divorced and free to do whatever that want. Ellie checks in every Sunday with Jake and things seem okay. But they’re not. Ellie makes some new friends and while she’s away realizes that even though she’s nineteen, she’s lived a lifetime of experiences that are unique because of the death of her father. She also has a good head on her shoulders and isn’t afraid of anything, other than not having Jake in her life. Jake comes for a visit and her friends are impressed. They also tell her that he’s head over heels for her. Jake comes to visit her for her birthday and they spend a few days getting their sexy on. Ellie had already decided to leave college and take over the reins of her ranch. Now she has to make Jake woo her for real, go on dates and see if they really want to be together. Things happen, some more heartbreaking stuff. Yet the two of them come together and it is stunning.
What a beautiful Ward/Guardian/Forced Marriage story. I really liked this book. The only thing I wasn’t too happy about was the numerous word mistakes. Missing words, the same word written twice, things like “In the” written “The in.” This was a great book, I would just say please have fresh eyes, take a look at the books and fix the errors, because here were many in every book. Otherwise, this was a winner for me!
So here’s the deal. I’m sixteen and I’m getting married. Super weird, I know.
My dad is a cattle rancher in Montana. Or he was, until he died suddenly, leaving me an orphan (which is still a thing). I’m sixteen months away from being a legal adult, so I have two choices.
Foster home, or married. To Jake Talley. The foreman of the ranch and my best friend.
It’s legal. It solves all my problems. Except now I’m living with Riverbend’s hottest cowboy – my husband (in name only of course) – and I’m still in high school. Trust me, no one wants to date Weird Married Ellie.
But it’s cool. All we have to do is wait it out until I’m eighteen and we’ll get a divorce. Then Jake and I will go back to being normal.
We’ve got this. Right?
I’m twenty-six, and I never saw this coming. Married. To a kid I’ve known her whole life. But there was no way in hell I was going to let her live at a foster home, instead of at the ranch where she belongs.
Sure we’re married but it’s not real. Just a piece of paper. My girlfriend is furious but I know I’m doing the right thing – for Ellie. For sixteen months, it’s me and her against the world – until the divorce.
No big deal.
Or is it?
I married Jake Talley when I was sixteen because I was an orphan left with a cattle ranch to run, and getting hitched was the only way to keep me out of a foster home.
It was supposed to be easy; a marriage of convenience. Only I’m not a kid anymore and my husband is the hottest guy in Riverbend, Montana.
The plan was to get divorced when I turned eighteen but life got in the way.
Life, my feelings…the kiss. Did I mention the kiss?
Only now he won’t let himself touch me. The right thing to do would be to divorce Jake and set him free. Neither of us had a choice in this marriage. But I can’t help wonder, what would it be like to be Jake’s wife?
Our marriage was never real. Only walking away wasn’t as easy as I’d thought.
Ellie still needs me. And maybe I don’t want to go?
I kissed her when I shouldn’t have. All the more reason for me to leave. I know I can’t have her. Because Ellie isn’t really my wife.
Or is she?
Quick recap. My dad died leaving me an orphan. Jake stepped in and married me rather than letting me go to a foster home. Did I mention I was only sixteen at the time?
It was okay for a while until it wasn’t. Because those feelings that I had for Jake as my oldest friend slowly turned into something else over the years. Feelings he could NOT deal with. So I did the right thing and divorced him.
It was the right thing. I’m pretty sure it was the right thing.
Okay it was probably the wrong thing… but I don’t think either of us know where we go from here.
I had to let her go. I had to let her see there was more to the world than the ranch. Than me. She’s never had a choice really, in any of this.
I think I did the right thing. I know I did the right thing.
Did I do the right thing?
More importantly if I didn’t… how do I get her back?
No excerpts available.