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The Rancher's Baby

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She’s having her best friend’s baby… Only from New York Times bestselling author Maisey Yates! When a torrid, possibly dangerous scandal comes to Royal, Texas, Selena Jacobs is nearly caught in the middle. Until her best friend Knox McCoy ensures her safety—by moving in! Selena has loved Knox for years, but she’s never had the courage to tell him. Now the sparks she’s t She’s having her best friend’s baby… Only from New York Times bestselling author Maisey Yates! When a torrid, possibly dangerous scandal comes to Royal, Texas, Selena Jacobs is nearly caught in the middle. Until her best friend Knox McCoy ensures her safety—by moving in! Selena has loved Knox for years, but she’s never had the courage to tell him. Now the sparks she’s tried to smother burn out of control…and leave her pregnant. But with the pain in his past, will Knox finally take a chance on love…with her?


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She’s having her best friend’s baby… Only from New York Times bestselling author Maisey Yates! When a torrid, possibly dangerous scandal comes to Royal, Texas, Selena Jacobs is nearly caught in the middle. Until her best friend Knox McCoy ensures her safety—by moving in! Selena has loved Knox for years, but she’s never had the courage to tell him. Now the sparks she’s t She’s having her best friend’s baby… Only from New York Times bestselling author Maisey Yates! When a torrid, possibly dangerous scandal comes to Royal, Texas, Selena Jacobs is nearly caught in the middle. Until her best friend Knox McCoy ensures her safety—by moving in! Selena has loved Knox for years, but she’s never had the courage to tell him. Now the sparks she’s tried to smother burn out of control…and leave her pregnant. But with the pain in his past, will Knox finally take a chance on love…with her?

30 review for The Rancher's Baby

  1. 4 out of 5

    Vashti

    I had such high hopes for this one,but it was just too depressing a read that I truly did not feel the love between these two.Granted the hero went thru the tragic death of his young daughter and the breakup of his happily married prior life,but the overall tradgey just overshadowed this book for me.The majority of the book just dwelled on his grief. The epilogue was lovely,but it did not sell the romance for me.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Esther

    Reread. This has so much angst and heartfelt emotion. I loved it the second time around as much as the first time. Excellent. ARC provided by NetGalley and Harlequin in exchange for an honest review. Rating 4.5 An emotional and moving love story. Okay, get the box of kleenex out for this one. This is a love story that packs a lot of emotional heartache, has some intense emotional scenes and yet delivers the sweetest kind of love and friendship one can hope for. Knox and Selena both have had a diffi Reread. This has so much angst and heartfelt emotion. I loved it the second time around as much as the first time. Excellent. ARC provided by NetGalley and Harlequin in exchange for an honest review. Rating 4.5 An emotional and moving love story. Okay, get the box of kleenex out for this one. This is a love story that packs a lot of emotional heartache, has some intense emotional scenes and yet delivers the sweetest kind of love and friendship one can hope for. Knox and Selena both have had a difficult and agonizing childhood. The two meet at college and begin a friendship that spans decades. Knox and Selena become best of friends, even though each is secretly drawn/attracted to the other. But they cherish their friendship too much to take it to the next level and Selena has trust issue from her past, so she's not ready to let her guard down . While in college she is faced with a death of her grandfather (who supported and helped her attend college) and the need to marry to continue her finical independence from her Father (who is abusive and controlling). She considers asking Knox but realizes she was to fearful of loosing his friendship as well the strong possibility of her falling totally in love with him and being consumed by that need. A fear she has of repeating her mothers mistakes. Her mother had an all consuming love, a total loss of reasoning as well as loosing her independence to her abusive husband (again Selena's trust issues). Plus her mother never protected her daughter from the abuse. So Selena shares her dilemma with a mutual friend that Knox and her know. He offers to marry in name only to assist her. She accepts and they are only married for a year and divorce, but the two end their marriage in an unfavorable manner. During that time Knox marries and has a child. But heartbreak follows as Knox losses his toddler daughter to cancer and his marriage dissolves under the heartbreak and they divorce. Over the years (ten years from the time the two become friends in college) Selena and Knox have remained best friends. Staying in contact and always being their for each other through thick and thin. It was Selena that was their for Knox during his daughters funeral and was his rock when he broke down (this was so gut wrenching to read). (view spoiler)[ Knox and his wife in the end of the book admit to each other that they where more in love with the thought of being in love and having the perfect life. Wife, husband, home and child the whole perfect dream. They both realize that it was the concept then really being in love with each other and hence their marriage wasn't strong enough to sustain the grief. They care for each other but weren't really in love with each other. (hide spoiler)] . We open with Selena attending her ex husbands funeral. Knox arrives for support and to just be their for Selena (Selena never told Knox that her marriage wasn't real). We learn that her ex is alive and something fishy is going on as several woman including Selena receive a letter stating that they are the sole person receiving the estate/monies from Will (Selena's ex). Knox finds this troubling and is concerned about Selena's safety and decides he's going to stay with her for a while until this gets cleared up. During the time the two are together they both realize they are at a crossroads in life. Selena has finally gained total independence, purchased her own home and feels she's finally healing and coming to a place of wholeness. Knox has been dealing with over two years of grief, heartache and gut wrenching loss. He's being going through the motions but being with Selena he's being to sense something new. The two slowly begin to open up and share truths from their past, the heartache and pain each had experienced during childhood. They both realize that they were attracted to each other during college but were to fearful too lose their best friend. A lot of tears and difficult conversations ensue as well as a spark and attraction each has held in check for over a decade and buried deep inside themselves. It all comes to the surface and blossoms into a richer and deeper love then each could have ever imagined or hoped for. Wow, I can't even put into words the depth of each character or the emotional charge these two's love story packs. It was beautiful in that these two had a friendship and connection that spanned years of life's tragedies and heartache. Yet neither gave up on each other and were always, always their when one need to be. I love how much their friendship meant but when they truly opened their hearts and finally came to a place of healing and acceptance of their past what blossomed was even more beautiful and precious. There where a couple issue I had about the story line that were somewhat weak. I found the ex-husband and him not really being dead, the letter, as well as the possible suspense behind it kind of flimsy. But the emotional impact and character depth and development out weighted all those issue. The pacing was excellent, the story line was rich with emotion and angst. This love story was one that brought me to tears and was so very emotionally satisfying. The epilogue was beautiful and a wonderful ending to their romance!!!!!!

  3. 4 out of 5

    ♥Rachel♥

    Selena and Knox have been best friends since college, attracted back then but a turn of events led to both marrying others while remaining best friends. Selena’s marriage in name only to satisfy requirements for a trust fund, although Knox never knew. Secretly Selena had always loved Knox but muted those feeling when he married. His marriage collapsed after the death of his toddler, and he’s still reeling from the pain a few years later, but when he shows up for the funeral of her ex-husband the Selena and Knox have been best friends since college, attracted back then but a turn of events led to both marrying others while remaining best friends. Selena’s marriage in name only to satisfy requirements for a trust fund, although Knox never knew. Secretly Selena had always loved Knox but muted those feeling when he married. His marriage collapsed after the death of his toddler, and he’s still reeling from the pain a few years later, but when he shows up for the funeral of her ex-husband their attraction sparks alive. Selena had issues that made it so that if Knox did come onto her back in college it probably wouldn’t have worked out. Now with years clarifying what’s important, and when a few secrets Selena has held close start to come out, she wonders why she should hold back anymore. The passion between them is better than she could ever imagined but convincing Knox that he deserves happiness after the pain of losing his daughter is no small task. You know from the book description that Selena ends up pregnant after they give into their desires, but that didn’t happen until the latter portion of the book. I felt like their romance took a while to develop, trading emotions, discovering there was still quite a lot they didn’t know about each other, and I was fully invested in their emotional journey. This isn’t a very long book, I read it one day, and there was only a little bit drama on Knox’s side at the end. I was irritated with him, and I thought he maybe should’ve done a little more groveling, but I was pleased with the beautiful ending. A copy was kindly provided by Harlequin Desire in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    ♥ WishfulMiss ♥

    Sadly I found myself agreeing with other reviewers on this one being too depressing and not being able to feel the love between the MCs. The story is about Selena and Knox. They’ve been best friends since college and at least on Selena’s part, she has always been in love with Knox but because of her own emotional baggage, she tried to protect herself by keeping their relationship firmly in the friend-zone. It helped that Knox never saw her as anything more than a friend. Selena was a woman. He ha Sadly I found myself agreeing with other reviewers on this one being too depressing and not being able to feel the love between the MCs. The story is about Selena and Knox. They’ve been best friends since college and at least on Selena’s part, she has always been in love with Knox but because of her own emotional baggage, she tried to protect herself by keeping their relationship firmly in the friend-zone. It helped that Knox never saw her as anything more than a friend. Selena was a woman. He had known that for a long time. But she wasn’t a woman whose breasts concerned him. She never had been. There’s this really weird plot twist that didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me and that was the whole dead ex-husband who isn’t really dead coming back into her life. Back in college, Selena’s grandfather dies and leaves her a trust that she can’t access until she is 25 years old or married, which ever comes first. Rather than ask her “best friend” Knox to marry her, Selena ends up marrying another friend. Someone she knew she could never fall in love with. But then she hears that this friend is only using her for her trust fund money and they end up divorcing on bad terms. It is never explained why people thought the ex was dead, why is was mysterious that he came back, or how the story benefited by including this weird twist. If it had been left out completely, it would have made zero impact on the rest of the story. At the time of Selena’s divorce, Knox has met and fallen in love with OW, he gets married, they have a child together and later that child dies. “It’s hard to be here,” he said. Finally. “The life Cassandra and I made together was here. It was a good life. It’s one that I could have lived till the end.” That’s where the story begins. Knox has been grieving for the last two years. He was so buried in his grief and guilt and anger that he lost him self in the haze of pain. And also lost his wife. Their marriage never recovered and now he is single and alone. “I made it. I had all the things you think you want when you picture reaching the perfect position in your life.” Nothing matters anymore and Knox just goes through the motions of everyday life. Not caring one way or the other. Until Selena’s dead ex comes back and suddenly Knox gets it into his head that the ex’s sudden appearance could be dangerous for Selena and decides to stick close to her. As in live in her cozy cabin and play house. Complete with the sudden and all consuming attraction he feels for her. Things heat up between them and of course, one thing leads to another and they end up in bed together. Besides the constant reminder of his pain and grief, Knox is a really depressing character. He is a guy very much stuck in the past. Yes, I felt for him, his loss was horrible but this type of grief stricken character doesn’t scream romance to me. Selena was not much better but I felt for her because she really tried to be a good friend to Knox and she was really supportive and understanding. But that was also what drove me crazy about her character. I didn’t like that she was so often the scape goat. Her feelings were always made second to Knox’s. Know had been with Cassandra. And their relationship had been real and serious. That still bothered her. He had found something real with someone else. She never had. She had never loved anyone but him. And he had loved someone else. ... it had just burned sometimes. Knowing he was with someone else. That he’d loved someone else. She has to repeatedly hear about how perfect and happy Knox was with his ex and how it would have continued to be perfect and happy if he hadn’t lost his child. I really didn’t like that fact that Selena was made to be so vulnerable when it came to Knox. She pursues Knox both physically and emotionally while Knox on the other hand never lets her forget that he might lust after her but his heart is pretty much dead and there is no room for her in it. That must have been a hard pill to swallow. Knowing the man you’ve spent half your life in love with, is only with you because you’re convenient now. That if things had been different, he would have continued to live a blissfully married life and never looked backed. Again that doesn’t set a romantic setting for me. Knox didn’t improve when he panics after Selena tells him about her pregnancy. That whole scene was just awful! Again Selena had to lay her heart on the line, baring herself completely, the author even makes her beg Knox to stay, to be with her and Knox just flat out rejects her and walks out. Oh how I loathed him at this point. (view spoiler)[ “I know that it’s not … ideal.” “Not ideal?” he asked, his words fraying around the edges. “Not ideal is a damned parking ticket, Selena. This is not acceptable.” “I… I want this baby.” He looked at her for a moment, his eyes unreadable. “Then you’re going to have it on your own.” (hide spoiler)] Which reminds me – I really hate friends that give crappy advice. Selena confesses to her friend what happened with Knox and rather than supporting her, Selena’s so called friend tells her to once again chase after the idiot guy who rejected her and their unborn baby and demand he reject her one more time to her face to see if he “really means it.” “…hopefully, if you go make a fool of yourself for him, he’ll make a fool of himself for you at some point too.” WTF?!? No! When the guy is such a huge spineless douche HE should chase after the heroine. He should be groveling and apologizing and begging HER for another chance. This seriously pissed me off! And to top it off, Selena actually agrees to once again lay herself at this guy’s feet. So she hops on a plane and shows up the H’s doorstep asking for another chance. There is a declaration of love (that Knox had to have his ex –wife talk him into *face palm*) and a cute epilogue a few years later with two babies but at this point I was nowhere near convinced this was true love. There were just too many things that rubbed me the wrong way. This was not my cuppa tea. At. All. Would I recommend? No, can’t say I would recommend this to anyone I know. Luckily this was a library loan so a freebie :) SAFETY INFO: (view spoiler)[ Ages : Both MCs are 32. Selena is a virgin (Her marriage was in name only). Cheating : None. OM/OW drama : Selena was such a martyr type heroine that even though she was hurt that Knox had loved someone else, she’s ultimately grateful the OW was able to make Knox happy. It was a bit cringe worthy how she so easily made herself comfortable in second place. Separation : I think it was a few days but tbh I was skimming at this point, just wanting to finish and get it over with. Push/Pull : Knox hides behind his grief and closes himself off from Selena when things get too intense for him. He pretty much panics and runs for the hills. Main Pursuer of relationship : Selena. I don’t normally like when the h pursues the H and the fact that Selena has to do it twice, both times after Knox pushes her away and does a pretty good job of crushing her under his boot heel really didn’t work for me. Triggers : Death of a child (off page), previously married - and in love with OW- Hero. Unrequited love (h), virgin(h), child abuse (h’s father used to beat her and her mother), weak H. HEA/HFN :Ends on a HEA and an epilogue 3 years later with two kids. (hide spoiler)]

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    Angsty and emotional love story. Both hero and heroine had a sad tragic past but they overcame it and found true love and happiness together. I loved the epilogue it was so sweet! It melted my poor heart.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Maria Rose

    The Rancher’s Baby by Maisey Yates is a sexy and emotional friends to lovers romance, part of the Texas Cattleman’s Club: The Impostor series. It’s got an interesting start with some surprises that leads into a sometimes heartbreaking story but ultimately a happy ending for a couple who get a second chance to explore their feelings for each other. Selena Jacobs is drawn into a web of mystery when her ex-husband Will, a college friend she married in order to secure a trust fund, is thought to be d The Rancher’s Baby by Maisey Yates is a sexy and emotional friends to lovers romance, part of the Texas Cattleman’s Club: The Impostor series. It’s got an interesting start with some surprises that leads into a sometimes heartbreaking story but ultimately a happy ending for a couple who get a second chance to explore their feelings for each other. Selena Jacobs is drawn into a web of mystery when her ex-husband Will, a college friend she married in order to secure a trust fund, is thought to be dead, but turns up alive and well. In the ensuing drama, her old college friend Knox McCoy, now a rancher in Wyoming who also runs a chain of successful stores, comes back to Texas. When Selena married Will, it put the damper on any feelings that might have led Selena and Knox to more than friendship. And with Selena off limits, Knox followed up by marrying and having a daughter with his new wife. In a tragic turn of circumstances, Knox’s young daughter died of cancer, leaving him and his wife to pick up the pieces. Their shattered lives led to a shattered marriage too. Knox has learned that no good comes of loving someone. And even now that he and Selena are both single, he’s firm in his position about not getting romantically involved with another woman. The attraction that simmers between Selena and Knox finally comes to the surface and with a mutual agreement for a friends with benefits arrangement, they can indulge. But if they start to care for each other as more than friends, will Knox be willing to risk his heart again? For more of this review please visit Harlequin Junkie: http://harlequinjunkie.com/review-the... A copy of this story was provided by the publisher for review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Stacee

    I love the BFF to more trope + Maisey is a go to for sorbet, so it was win win. I liked Selena and Knox. They both have a serious and hurtful backstory and I loved the history between them. Of course they’ve always been attracted to each other, but never acted on it, so you can only imagine the UST that was floating around. Plot wise, it was a bit more drama and angsty than I would have liked, but I did enjoy reading them figure things out. And the epilogue was very sweet. Overall, it was a shor I love the BFF to more trope + Maisey is a go to for sorbet, so it was win win. I liked Selena and Knox. They both have a serious and hurtful backstory and I loved the history between them. Of course they’ve always been attracted to each other, but never acted on it, so you can only imagine the UST that was floating around. Plot wise, it was a bit more drama and angsty than I would have liked, but I did enjoy reading them figure things out. And the epilogue was very sweet. Overall, it was a short, quick read with characters I really liked. **Huge thanks to Harlequin for providing the arc free of charge**

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kay (aka) Miss Bates

    Maisey Yates remains the sole romance writer who makes me stay up till the wee hours to finish one of her books. The Rancher’s Baby is why I’m writing this review on a snowy March morning, bleary-eyed and groggy, to the sound of the coffee-machine spurting my third cup’o’java. Rancher’s Baby is set in Texas and not part of Yates’s Copper-Ridge-Gold-Valley series, the Yoknapatawpha of romance. It’s written for the “Desire” category, which I think brings out the best in her. So … “Desire”, “Yates, Maisey Yates remains the sole romance writer who makes me stay up till the wee hours to finish one of her books. The Rancher’s Baby is why I’m writing this review on a snowy March morning, bleary-eyed and groggy, to the sound of the coffee-machine spurting my third cup’o’java. Rancher’s Baby is set in Texas and not part of Yates’s Copper-Ridge-Gold-Valley series, the Yoknapatawpha of romance. It’s written for the “Desire” category, which I think brings out the best in her. So … “Desire”, “Yates,” “baby” set my readerly heart a-flutter … and draw me in this did. A few provisos, the hero, billionaire-rancher Knox McCoy lost his baby-daughter to cancer, a difficult read for some; and, billionaire-business-woman Selena Jacobs was physically and psychologically abused by her father (a less developped aspect to the romance), again, may not appeal. Lastly, the hero and heroine have unprotected sex, which may annoy, flummox, or result in disapproving tut-tutting. I followed a Yates Twitter convo where she defended this writerly decision (which I don’t think needs defending, btw) that people do have unprotected sex. I would say it’s about context. The circumstances under which this happens in The Rancher’s Baby may not work for all, but they did for me. Many many reasons some romance readers may not enjoy, none of which I had a problem with. With the proviso that Yates’s romances make me leave my chin-tapping critical sense at the door. There’s a lot of cray-cray plotting to Rancher’s Baby. When the novel opens, Selena, along with a variety of women (one of whom holds a baby) have been summoned to her ex-husband’s funeral, as has her college-BFF, Knox. When ex-husband Will Sanders walks in alive and well, Selena collapses in a dead faint. Knox revives her drives her to her secluded country cabin to imperiously announce that whatever shenanigans orchestrated Will’s “death,” funeral, and resurrection (I loved this soap-opera detail and I hope there’s a story here for us in future) may put Selena in danger. Knox says he’s lost too much (marriage and daughter) to give up his best friend … he staying to ensure Selena is safe and protected. This is one of many eye-rolling moments, with the addition of convoluted plotting and high-handed and often unjustified melodrama, in flashback and otherwise. What the novel does well, however, is its portrayal of Knox’s grief, fear of loving and losing (when he and Selena become lovers), and subsequent emotional resurrection. A friendship’s preciousness and familiarity and a heroine both mouthy and tender are what Knox needs. And the same may be said for Selena: a virgin (whoa! crazysauce after being married, but there be reasons!) with an abusive past can experience safety and freedom in the arms of a best friend. I think what I also enjoyed is Yates’s ability to match angst with flashes of wit and humour. I also liked the reconciliation scenes between Knox and his ex-wife, Cassandra. I thought they were sensitively and psychologically acutely executed. Knox and Selena’s banter is great and there are some beautiful meta-rom-moments when Yates winks at seasoned romance readers, like this concluding sentence to the pre-HEA: “He was pretty determined about what he wanted to do regarding Selena, but he had to be sure he was going to say the right thing. Because when you told a woman you didn’t want her you had to prepare a pretty epic grovel.” *gentle chuckle* And this is why I’ll always love and read Yates. With Miss Austen, we say keep bringing it on, Ms Yates, because in The Rancher’s Baby, we found evidence of “a mind lively and at ease,” Emma. Maisey Yates’s The Rancher’s Baby is published by Harlequin Books. It was released on January 2nd and may be found in e and dead-tree at your preferred vendors. I received an e-ARC from Harlequin, via Netgalley.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Robin Reynolds

    I entered to win a copy of this book on BookishFirst because I see Maisey Yates' name all the time, and my aunt is a fan of hers, and we like a lot of the same authors, so I'd been wanting to try her for awhile. I was excited to win a copy, and waited very impatiently for the book to arrive. Unfortunately, it did not live up to my expectations. On BookishFirst, to enter for a book you have to read the first few pages, and then write a brief paragraph about your thoughts. The first page grabbed m I entered to win a copy of this book on BookishFirst because I see Maisey Yates' name all the time, and my aunt is a fan of hers, and we like a lot of the same authors, so I'd been wanting to try her for awhile. I was excited to win a copy, and waited very impatiently for the book to arrive. Unfortunately, it did not live up to my expectations. On BookishFirst, to enter for a book you have to read the first few pages, and then write a brief paragraph about your thoughts. The first page grabbed me immediately (the first line!). The book opens with Selena attending the funeral of her ex-husband, having received a letter telling her she was named as his heir. At the funeral there are several other women with the same letter. Also in attendance is Selena's best friend, Knox, who lives in another state and who she hasn't seen in a long time, and it's an awkward reunion between them. And then Will walks in. Not dead. Selena and Knox leave, but later a relative of Will's invites them to a gathering, along with everyone else who attended the funeral. At the gathering there is just a brief mention of the mystery surrounding Will's supposed death, and that someone may have been using his identity, and Knox fears that Selena could now be in danger, so he insists on going home with her and staying with her to protect her. That mystery is never really revisited, and is never resolved, which really irritated me. Was it just a plot device to throw Selena and Knox together? The book is part of a multi-author series, so will a future book in the series feature Will and that mystery? It was as if this very interesting situation was introduced, and then just abandoned. We learn from the beginning that Selena and Knox have been best friends since college. And the fact that they are best friends is constantly reiterated to the point of also being irritating. They kiss and then one of them marvels to themself that they just kissed their best friend! They marvel to themselves that they are lusting after their best friend! Selena becomes pregnant and marvels that she's carrying her best friend's baby! I never really connected with either Selena or Knox. They are both damaged souls, which usually appeals to me, Selena having had a bad childhood with an abusive father, and Knox having a marriage fall apart after the death of his daughter. The angst level is mile high. The ending of course is happy and satisfying. But the journey to that ending was a bit tedius. Halfway through the book I posted about it in a Facebook group, and several other members recommended Yates' Copper Ridge series, and I just happened to have the first book, PART TIME COWBOY, which I had picked up at a library sale. So I started it after finishing this book. And you know what? Five chapters in and I am LOVING it! I love the characters, I love the story so far, and I have laughed several times. Out loud. One conversation between the hero and heroine made me laugh so much I had to reread it twice and laughed out loud each time. If I didn't know who the author was, I wouldn't have believed the two books were written by the same person. Maybe THE RANCHER'S BABY being a category romance* and having a shorter word count meant the book had to be edited down too much, or didn't allow the author to flesh out as much detail. I don't know. But despite not particularly caring for this book, I will continue to read Ms. Yates' books, and I'm glad that I finally tried her. *Not that's there's anything wrong with that! I've been a Harlequin fan and reader for many many years. EDIT: After writing this review, I saw on Goodreads that the book is listed as Texas Cattleman's Club: The Imposter, and is book 1, and that the second book is about one of the other women who were at Will's funeral. So apparently that mystery will be a running theme through the series. However, that knowledge does not change my thoughts about it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Romancebooksandmore

    4.5 Stars I was sent this book for a fair and honest review The story of Selena Jacobs and Knox McCoy. Two broken people who have been best friends since their college days. Both so broken neither think they can ever really be fixed. He’s lost a child and life he thought was all that ever mattered. She could never trust because of her childhood. They are pushed together when they are thrown into the middle of a mystery Knox wants to protect her from perceived danger and she wants to protect him 4.5 Stars I was sent this book for a fair and honest review The story of Selena Jacobs and Knox McCoy. Two broken people who have been best friends since their college days. Both so broken neither think they can ever really be fixed. He’s lost a child and life he thought was all that ever mattered. She could never trust because of her childhood. They are pushed together when they are thrown into the middle of a mystery Knox wants to protect her from perceived danger and she wants to protect him from himself and finally they can’t hide their decades old feelings they had buried for so long. I took half a star because the mystery is set up to be something that will affect Selena when really, it’s all dropped and forgotten by the middle of the book. The book over all was great though. Character development was amazing you could feel the pain of both characters and I loved the fact that the pain of Selena’s past is developed in a way that you usually don’t see in a romance heroine. I think she is very relatable to ordinary every day people as is Knox. Highly recommended.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Paige

    This was a deep and complex Harlequin Desire romance. I typically enjoy friends to lovers tropes, and this one was particularly satisfying. The characters were interesting and this book, although slim of pages, was richly plotted. The Rancher's Baby was enjoyable to read and definitely kept my interest. This had the level of sizzle and heat that I would expect from the Desire line. Nothing was overly graphic or seemed misplaced or gratuitous, just realistic heat and attraction that had been den This was a deep and complex Harlequin Desire romance. I typically enjoy friends to lovers tropes, and this one was particularly satisfying. The characters were interesting and this book, although slim of pages, was richly plotted. The Rancher's Baby was enjoyable to read and definitely kept my interest. This had the level of sizzle and heat that I would expect from the Desire line. Nothing was overly graphic or seemed misplaced or gratuitous, just realistic heat and attraction that had been denied for a long time being finally allowed to burn. This cannot be read as a standalone. This book is the first of what promises to be an excellent series. However, the storyline that I was most hooked by, the "dead" ex-husband showing up to his own funeral, remains a point of mystery at the conclusion of this book. I found it unsatisfying and disappointing to come to the end of this book without having that shocking twist solved.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Renee (The B-Roll)

    This book is full of steamy and lush romance and relationships! It was really a fun read and went by quite quickly. I loved the relationship between Knox and Selena, especially how she had a huge crush on him for years and then after getting into a predicament, he vows to help her and protect her. That alone is the makeup for a sweet little romantic story. I enjoyed the ranges of emotions in this book and how it will make you laugh, make you turn into sappy mush, and will pull at your heartstrin This book is full of steamy and lush romance and relationships! It was really a fun read and went by quite quickly. I loved the relationship between Knox and Selena, especially how she had a huge crush on him for years and then after getting into a predicament, he vows to help her and protect her. That alone is the makeup for a sweet little romantic story. I enjoyed the ranges of emotions in this book and how it will make you laugh, make you turn into sappy mush, and will pull at your heartstrings just enjoy for jerk a few tears away. This book is a nice little romance story with a friends-to-lovers plot, some steamy and lusty moments (duh, look at the cover!), and enough points to make it well worth your time!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Anna's Herding Cats

    Reviewed for herding cats & burning soup. (posting to the blog 5/20/19) Amazon: https://amzn.to/2U5WfOA I've loved Yates for a while but not ventured into too many books outside of her Copper Ridge series. I saw The Rancher's Baby and loved the cover and figured why the heck not? It was pretty fun, too! The Gist: Well. Your dead ex-husband walking into his funeral...that's a surprise you don't get every day. Your best friend sticking around to help you through the shock and, well, maybe finally str Reviewed for herding cats & burning soup. (posting to the blog 5/20/19) Amazon: https://amzn.to/2U5WfOA I've loved Yates for a while but not ventured into too many books outside of her Copper Ridge series. I saw The Rancher's Baby and loved the cover and figured why the heck not? It was pretty fun, too! The Gist: Well. Your dead ex-husband walking into his funeral...that's a surprise you don't get every day. Your best friend sticking around to help you through the shock and, well, maybe finally stripping you naked and doing naughty things with you like you've always wanted....quite a delightful surprise as well! I liked Selena and Knox. They've been best friends since college. They have a wonderful bond, are both extremely successful business-wise, both nursing some hurts and pains from their pasts-- some utterly heartbreaking. I liked them together and seeing them break out of their comfort zones even if reluctantly. I always enjoy that old friendship dynamic and the closeness that brings. The initial mystery of her ex-not being dead and someone having faked his death and lured multiple women to his funeral (yeah he had multiple wives at the same time it seems) was odd. It was made out to be such a potential threat to Selena and the reason Knox came back to town to protect her. But then there was just barely anything about it in the storyline. So that was a bit weird. I'm assuming it'll play out as the series goes but it left a hole in this book. Overall, I enjoyed The Rancher's Baby. The best friends finally finding the right moment in their lives to be together after decades of loving each other as friends. The emotional upheaval and healing both went through. The little bits of sexy thrown into the mix. It was a nice easy read even if the mystery element was a bit lacking.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Excellent start to the new series, this book has mystery, loss, grief, and a second chance at love. The story opens with Selena and Knox at the funeral of their college friend Will. It's a hard time for both of them. Selena had been briefly married to Will, as he helped her gain control of her trust fund. But the marriage didn't end well, thanks to Selena's trust issues and interference from an outsider. Now she regrets that she never took the time to mend their former friendship. Knox hasn't be Excellent start to the new series, this book has mystery, loss, grief, and a second chance at love. The story opens with Selena and Knox at the funeral of their college friend Will. It's a hard time for both of them. Selena had been briefly married to Will, as he helped her gain control of her trust fund. But the marriage didn't end well, thanks to Selena's trust issues and interference from an outsider. Now she regrets that she never took the time to mend their former friendship. Knox hasn't been back to Royal since the funeral for his four-year-old daughter, who died from cancer, running from the memories of their life there. Knox and Selena are stunned when the supposedly dead Will walks into his funeral. Convinced that there is something sinister going on, Knox insists on moving in with Selena to protect her. Selena and Knox have been best friends, along with Will, since they were in college. They were attracted to each other then, but two things caused them to keep their feelings to themselves. First, both were intent on doing their best in their studies, driven by circumstances to make the best use of their time there. Second, neither wants to risk ruining their friendship if they take it further and it doesn't work out. They each married other people, but their friendship remained strong, providing a sense of security for each of them. Then tragedy struck Knox and Selena becomes his port in the storm of his grief, followed by little contact for the next two years as Knox buried his feelings in work. I loved the development of Knox and Selena's relationship. It's Knox's protectiveness toward Selena that has him insisting on staying with her, even though he knows it could be dangerous for his peace of mind. Buried as he is in his grief, he feels that he has nothing to offer her. Thanks to her abusive childhood, Selena has sworn off all romantic relationships. She will never be willing to give control over her life to someone else. But as they spent time together, some of their walls started to come down. I liked how each of them was able to share some of the pain of their pasts. I also enjoyed their banter, which was the type that happens between two people who have known each other a long time (loved the Star Trek reference). Underneath it all was the attraction that simmered, just waiting to boil over. And when it did, the result was intense. I loved that it was Selena who pushed them over the edge, insisting that they could indulge the attraction without risking their friendship. But fate has something else in mind. Selena has slowly let go of her fears and believes that they could have a future together. An unexpected pregnancy solidifies her newfound belief in herself and her dreams. But Knox is still mired in his grief and his fears, which are only emphasized by the event that he and Selena attend. When faced with Selena's news, those fears burst forth and he lashes out in the cruelest of ways. I ached for Selena, but also cheered as she stood up for herself against his words. I wanted to shake Knox, especially as he ran back to Wyoming to hide. I had to laugh as he drunk-dialed his ex-wife and got an earful from her. I was happy to see him take her words to heart and ponder about the major groveling he would need to do for screwing up so badly. At the same time, Selena was getting some much-needed advice from her friend Scarlett. The ending had me in tears as Knox finally was able to open his heart. The epilogue was awesome too. This book was also the beginning of the mystery that will run through the series. Will's death is a shock to everyone, but his return was even more so. His conversation with Selena at his welcome back party indicates that there is something very strange going on and that while he was gone someone has been living his life. Selena sees that Will has undergone some major changes since she saw him last. I have a suspicion already about who is behind the trouble. The only questions are how, why, and what will the journey to justice be like? I can't wait to read the rest of the series and see how it turns out

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    After reading an excerpt from THE RANCHER'S BABY I knew I had to have it. There seemed to be a lot at play - a potential second chance romance, a man back from the dead, etc. - and I couldn't wait to see how it all came together. The result? THE RANCHER'S BABY is a sweet and tender romance! THE RANCHER'S BABY is a relatively short read (~210 pages); however, I never found the character or plot development to be lacking. Selena and Knox are likable characters, and I really enjoyed reading from bo After reading an excerpt from THE RANCHER'S BABY I knew I had to have it. There seemed to be a lot at play - a potential second chance romance, a man back from the dead, etc. - and I couldn't wait to see how it all came together. The result? THE RANCHER'S BABY is a sweet and tender romance! THE RANCHER'S BABY is a relatively short read (~210 pages); however, I never found the character or plot development to be lacking. Selena and Knox are likable characters, and I really enjoyed reading from both of their perspectives. Selena is kind as well as independent. I liked her "go-get it attitude," and I especially enjoyed the fact that she encouraged Knox to trust and, more importantly, love again. Knox, on the other hand, is the typical alpha hero - hotheaded yet sweet and incredibly protective of his loved ones. He's relationship with Selena was very swoony as well as adorable, especially when he dropped everything to take care of her in the beginning. The plot in THE RANCHER'S BABY primarily focus on Selena and Knox's second chance romance, and as a huge second change romance fan, I had no problem with that. I found their second chance romance to have a slow-burn feel to it, which I enjoyed. It gave it a natural, easy feel. Additionally, I liked the emotional aspect found with in. There was one aspect of the plot, however, that I would've liked more about: the disappearance and reappearance of Selena's first husband. The book opens up with it, and while it's hinted throughout that there was more to it then met the eye, there was never any conclusion given. Overall, THE RANCHER'S BABY is a savory & steamy second-chance romance. I look forward to reading more by Maisey in the future.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews

    Knox is still dealing with a very tough loss, a loss you hope no one has to endure. Returning home for a distant friends funeral and reuniting with a best friend, will leave Knox flattened. Knox realizes everything he’s wanted in life will leave him empty unless he grabs on tightly with both hands and enjoys the ride. Selena’s past has remained hidden from even her closest friends. Learning to overcome her past and take control of her life. Seeing old friends brings back a flood of memories, trea Knox is still dealing with a very tough loss, a loss you hope no one has to endure. Returning home for a distant friends funeral and reuniting with a best friend, will leave Knox flattened. Knox realizes everything he’s wanted in life will leave him empty unless he grabs on tightly with both hands and enjoys the ride. Selena’s past has remained hidden from even her closest friends. Learning to overcome her past and take control of her life. Seeing old friends brings back a flood of memories, treading into uncharted waters, Selena risks everything exposing her true feelings. Watching Knox heal from the tragic loss and love Selena was so good it gave me the chills. The chemistry was off the charts, clearly about to boil over. The couple had so many emotions to go through; anger at Knoxs’ loss, hatred for her father, hope for romance, and happiness with each other! Ms. Yates keep the secondary characters to a minimum, which allowed all the focus to be on Knox and Selena. They provided just the right amount of support when they were needed, and faded into the background perfectly. Knox and Selena are a great couple, easy to understand and were crafted perfectly. I am hopeful the following novels in the Texas Cattleman’s Club: The Impostor, are as masterfully created as The Rancher’s Baby!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    I enjoy the friends-to-lovers troupe, and I love Maisey Yates, so this one seemed like a no-brainer. While I did enjoy it--mostly for the aforementioned two reasons, plus Selena and Knox--it wasn't one of my favorites, because: 1) the mystery of Will that the book starts with is soon dropped--presumably it'll come up in future books? Still, getting a clue that things were happening on that front would have been nice. 2) loved the angsty angst bits, but they seemed to be fixed awfully quickly in t I enjoy the friends-to-lovers troupe, and I love Maisey Yates, so this one seemed like a no-brainer. While I did enjoy it--mostly for the aforementioned two reasons, plus Selena and Knox--it wasn't one of my favorites, because: 1) the mystery of Will that the book starts with is soon dropped--presumably it'll come up in future books? Still, getting a clue that things were happening on that front would have been nice. 2) loved the angsty angst bits, but they seemed to be fixed awfully quickly in the last 10%. Don't get me wrong, I do approve of who helped Knox get his head back on straight, but it felt like the resolution was much too easy for everyone. Adorable epilogue, though! 3) By the time Selena (and Knox) find out she's pregnant, the book is almost over. I would have loved to see more of their lives between the "I love you"s and the epilogue! Ultimately, this was a Maisey Yates book and that can't be discounted. I liked it in spite of its flaws, and the series definitely has my attention with regards to the mystery of Will and the other "club" members. Rating: 3 1/2 stars / B- I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    We move into a new direction in the Texas Cattlemen's Club with the 1st book in The Imposters series. Taking us back to Royal Texas, if you have followed this series. Maisey Yates gives us two character's that share a past and when the two reunite at a what they thought was a friend's funeral, they get the shock of their lives to know that the person is not really dead... Serna Jacobs is trying to build the life she always wanted but never had. Knox McCoy is just existing through life from a tra We move into a new direction in the Texas Cattlemen's Club with the 1st book in The Imposters series. Taking us back to Royal Texas, if you have followed this series. Maisey Yates gives us two character's that share a past and when the two reunite at a what they thought was a friend's funeral, they get the shock of their lives to know that the person is not really dead... Serna Jacobs is trying to build the life she always wanted but never had. Knox McCoy is just existing through life from a tragedy no person should have to go through. The heartache and pain that they both have been through can heal them both, if they just learn to love and trust again. But there are secrets from the past that could stop both of them from moving forward. This story will move you as you follow a journey of two friends who have been attracted to one another, but never let the other one know how they really felt. And when they let that attraction burn and flame.... a new life begins in more ways that either of them will know.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ryan - Sweet Red Reader

    I really, REALLY enjoyed this! It was way more emotional than I was expecting, but it was balanced with the steam and low key suspense and even though it's a multi-author story line, I knew halfway into the book that I want to read the entire Texas Cattleman's Club: The Imposter story arc! I adored Knox and Selena's friends to lovers story and the way Maisey Yates began the book truly kept me hooked from the first page to the last. She also did an excellent job exploring and unpacking both chara I really, REALLY enjoyed this! It was way more emotional than I was expecting, but it was balanced with the steam and low key suspense and even though it's a multi-author story line, I knew halfway into the book that I want to read the entire Texas Cattleman's Club: The Imposter story arc! I adored Knox and Selena's friends to lovers story and the way Maisey Yates began the book truly kept me hooked from the first page to the last. She also did an excellent job exploring and unpacking both characters' traumas and they both had dramatic (yet believable) character arcs. I love when I read a book and am not only psyched to read more from the author, and particularly in this case, also psyched to explore more in this world. I actually purchased the next book in the series (written by Maureen Child) before I even finished this one and placed a hold on the rest of the books from my local library - so this is pretty much a totally unexpected interruption to my regularly scheduled TBR, but I am so not mad about it! 4 out of 5 wine glasses.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Books and Spoons

    An emotional, inspiring, and heartbreaking story that took my breath away. I am a big fan of Maisey Yates's writing. I know she can take the reader to the deep, dark waters of emotional turmoil. Yet this story blew me away with its beautiful description of those raw feelings that makes you feel like you are drowning, suffocating, and burning inside out at the same time. I smiled, I laughed, I was in tears, and I loved every single word and moment of the tale. I kept going back, marveling at the An emotional, inspiring, and heartbreaking story that took my breath away. I am a big fan of Maisey Yates's writing. I know she can take the reader to the deep, dark waters of emotional turmoil. Yet this story blew me away with its beautiful description of those raw feelings that makes you feel like you are drowning, suffocating, and burning inside out at the same time. I smiled, I laughed, I was in tears, and I loved every single word and moment of the tale. I kept going back, marveling at the beauty of the words string together and the sense of the events they were creating. Knox McCoy is not the half a man he used to be. He is living with an empty heart after losing his daughter for cancer and as a consequence, his wife. He feels empty, hallow, and like he has nothing to offer any more as a man. His only anchor during the storm is his best friend, Selena Jacobs, and there is no way on earth he is going to ruin that relationship by acting on his physical attraction towards her. Knox is a good man, he is kind, protective, generous, sexy, and capable. He is also sad, he is lost, afraid, and mourning for the life lost way too soon. Selena Jacobs' abusive childhood taught her not to want a romantic relationship, not to want a family of her own. She needed to be in charge, she needed to have the power over her own life, she could not be dependent on anyone else, that was the life lesson her parents gave her. Knox is the one person she trusted with her life and secrets and she protected that friendship over everything else in life. Even the burning attraction towards him that suddenly left her lightheaded. The connection between Knox and Selena is strong, tangible, and enduring, built over time. They were so tuned into each other, at times it felt like they were just one being, they knew each other like only old friends do, and the years of friendship was the foundation they could start to build something more, if only they dared to do take the leap. When a story pulls all the emotions out of you, when there is laughter, and fun banter, when there is ardent passion, deep-seated emotions, "the heights of love and the lows of loss", profound sadness, and joy that reaches the sky -- this is a must-read book! ~ Five Spoons

  21. 4 out of 5

    Isha Coleman

    Selena Jacobs life has just become a soap opera. As her world starts to cave in a around her, it's nice to know she has a shoulder to lean on. Knox McCoy is the friend she can always turn to when the world becomes to much. He holds the key to her heart. Secretly of course. What happens when scandal turns secret fantasies into realistic drama? And the shocks don't end there. The Rancher's Baby goes from romantic comedy to heartwarming read and back again. Friends to lovers is one scenario, I'll n Selena Jacobs life has just become a soap opera. As her world starts to cave in a around her, it's nice to know she has a shoulder to lean on. Knox McCoy is the friend she can always turn to when the world becomes to much. He holds the key to her heart. Secretly of course. What happens when scandal turns secret fantasies into realistic drama? And the shocks don't end there. The Rancher's Baby goes from romantic comedy to heartwarming read and back again. Friends to lovers is one scenario, I'll never tire of.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Veda

    I liked this book, and it has set up the mystery for this continuing series. The book itself, has some twists you might not understand. The pasts of Selena and Knox both are effecting the present and future. And will both of them be able to deal with the past in order to have a bright future?

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    3.5 Stars

  24. 4 out of 5

    Cheri

    I’ve never really read any of the Harlequin series like this that has multiple authors. I have some idiosyncrasies that make it hard for me to NOT read a whole series once I start it and almost impossible for me to read a series out of order. In this case, the first book in the series was written by one of my favorite authors so I just had to give it a go. As the characters come to outwardly admit in this story, Selena and Knox are both broken. Yet they both have a lot of love and compassion for I’ve never really read any of the Harlequin series like this that has multiple authors. I have some idiosyncrasies that make it hard for me to NOT read a whole series once I start it and almost impossible for me to read a series out of order. In this case, the first book in the series was written by one of my favorite authors so I just had to give it a go. As the characters come to outwardly admit in this story, Selena and Knox are both broken. Yet they both have a lot of love and compassion for the world, especially those in their circle. They just can’t seem to let anyone in too far. This is a friends to lovers story (which I love!) so at least they both know going in the other had issues. I’ll admit, there were quite a few tears shed while reading this book. Knox just broke my heart. Maisey Yates did a beautiful job of helping the reader to feel what Knox was feeling and to understand what he was going through. I love that Selena was there for Knox through it all so there was no need for him to explain every detail to her. There were still things, his innermost thoughts, that she didn’t know yet. But since she knew him through his good times and bad, she knew the depth of his sorrow and grief. This story did its job of pulling me into the overall story and mystery of Will while giving me an all-encompassing story of Selena and Knox. Although I’m not familiar with the author of the next book in this series, I’m looking forward to reading her part of the tale. https://allingoodtimeblog.wordpress.c...

  25. 4 out of 5

    Carla

    Don't be fooled by The Rancher's Baby small and slim size-there's a lot of sizzle packed into its pages. Nobody does "Cowboy Romance" like Maisey Yates-she's been to this rodeo before, but every ride is a new adventure. The Rancher's Baby is part of the Texas Cattleman's Club series for Harlequin's "Desire" line-with an emphasis on "desire." As in Selena Jacob has wanted to be more than friends with Knox McCoy since their college days at Harvard, but never wanted to act on her feelings for fear Don't be fooled by The Rancher's Baby small and slim size-there's a lot of sizzle packed into its pages. Nobody does "Cowboy Romance" like Maisey Yates-she's been to this rodeo before, but every ride is a new adventure. The Rancher's Baby is part of the Texas Cattleman's Club series for Harlequin's "Desire" line-with an emphasis on "desire." As in Selena Jacob has wanted to be more than friends with Knox McCoy since their college days at Harvard, but never wanted to act on her feelings for fear of ruining their friendship. Instead Selena entered into a marriage of convenience with another college buddy in order to gain access to the trust fund her grandfather left her. With the trust fund money Selena started a natural skin care line that made her very wealthy. But not nearly as rich as Knox, who after college opened a chain of organic grocery stores that put him in the billionaires club. When Knox returns to his hometown for the "funeral" of Selena's ex husband the sparks start to fly. Poor Knox has known more than his share of "hard knocks," and has closed his heart to love. Can two best friends turn their platonic relationship into something more? Well, the title tells you they do, but knowing the destination doesn't diminish the fun of the journey. If you've got an afternoon to spare, pick up The Ranger's Baby-it will put a smile on your face and fill your heart with desire.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Summer

    The plot felt borderline non-existent until the final third. The Rancher’s Baby opens with a bombshell as friends Selena and Knox reconnect at a friend/her ex husband’s funeral. It turns out the dead guy, Will (this happens in first chapter so it’s not really a spoiler), isn’t dead. It also turns out that the potentially interesting story of what’s going on with Will, why he’d gone missing, why someone faked his death, and why all his exes were named beneficiaries, isn’t explained or relevant to The plot felt borderline non-existent until the final third. The Rancher’s Baby opens with a bombshell as friends Selena and Knox reconnect at a friend/her ex husband’s funeral. It turns out the dead guy, Will (this happens in first chapter so it’s not really a spoiler), isn’t dead. It also turns out that the potentially interesting story of what’s going on with Will, why he’d gone missing, why someone faked his death, and why all his exes were named beneficiaries, isn’t explained or relevant to anything other than to be used as a convoluted reason for Knox to temporarily move in with Selena to protect her from what, I don’t know, having her death faked, too? Beyond chapter one there’s very little going on aside from Knox and Selena figuring out how to shift from a platonic relationship to a sexual one. It wasn’t terribly written but it certainly wasn’t eventful either. The story didn’t really kick in, didn’t really have me emotionally engaged until close to the end when finally there was meaty conflict between Selena and Knox, it was no longer just the I want you/don’t want to lose our friendship stuff that barely qualified as a plot, by finally digging deeper into the characters, particularly Knox and his fear of moving past a tragedy, only then did The Rancher’s Baby at last feel like it was actually about something. I received this book through a giveaway.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    I have never read a book by this author. I did truly enjoy it even though it made me cry in so many places. I did not like the first few chapters where the ex did what he did. I agree with others that it was not necessary for the book although it sure made him look like a jerk in my opinion. I think the author did a great job and told a story that was easy to read and brought many tears to my eyes. I felt bad for both the main characters but also happy that they found each other. It had a slow be I have never read a book by this author. I did truly enjoy it even though it made me cry in so many places. I did not like the first few chapters where the ex did what he did. I agree with others that it was not necessary for the book although it sure made him look like a jerk in my opinion. I think the author did a great job and told a story that was easy to read and brought many tears to my eyes. I felt bad for both the main characters but also happy that they found each other. It had a slow beginning, well not slow, just not really needed, a great middle and the ending was perfect. I will try more books by this author in the future. I was excited to have received a copy of the paper back book from Bookish.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nate Brightman

    Let me qualify this review of The Ranchers Baby by stating I’m a big Maisy Yates fan. Her Copper Ridge series is one of my all time favorites and I’m looking forward to the follow on Gold Valley series. That said I struggle with myself to reach a rating for this novella. It’s a “Friends to Lovers” story with the usual plot lines for this type of story. Two best friends (Knox and Selena), share an incredible attraction for one another which they’ve denied for a long period of time for fear that a Let me qualify this review of The Ranchers Baby by stating I’m a big Maisy Yates fan. Her Copper Ridge series is one of my all time favorites and I’m looking forward to the follow on Gold Valley series. That said I struggle with myself to reach a rating for this novella. It’s a “Friends to Lovers” story with the usual plot lines for this type of story. Two best friends (Knox and Selena), share an incredible attraction for one another which they’ve denied for a long period of time for fear that acting upon it would jeopardize their cherished friendship if a more intimate physical relationship didn’t work out. Then there’s the usual “we’ll be “friends with benefits” but it can’t lead to anything more plot line that seems to occur in more modern romance novels than not. I don’t think it takes Sherlock Holmes to figure out that from the title that Knox and Selena do eventually act upon their attraction to one another and a pregnancy results. But this story is more about overcoming tragedy and grief, healing and being able to move on than it is a romance story. Knox and Selena have been best friends since they met while attending Harvard. The story opens 10 years after college graduation with them both attending a funeral service for another friend and Selena’s ex-husband Will, whom it turns out isn’t really dead as he shows up at his own funeral. Other than to provide an excuse for Selena and Knox to show up at the same place at the same time in the town of Royal Texas, I’m not sure what the deal is with the Will character? Why was he presumed dead and who sent the letters to Selena and the four other women telling them each they were the sole heir to Will’s estate? Maybe this story is pursued in the next book in the series The Imposter because readers are left hanging in this story. Selena married Will (in name only) while at Harvard so that she could get her hands on the trust fund her grandfather left her before she turned 25 so that she could remain independent of her physically and emotionally abusive father. One of my problems with this story is that even though Knox was her best friend, she didn’t tell him when she was marrying Will or in the intervening 10 years following her marriage and subsequent divorce from him, why she married him and that the marriage was never consummated. This left Knox feeling as though Selena had him firmly and permanently in the “friend zone” so despite his attraction to her, he went on living his life, eventually marrying another woman and having a daughter with her. More on that in a minute. Another problem I have with this story is that after Will shows up at his funeral and Selena recovers from fainting, she and Knox high tail it out of there without ever confronting Will to find out what was going on. Neither of these scenarios felt very believable to me even for a fantasy romance novel. Selena came from a home with a very abusive father and a mother who was a co-dependent refusing to either protect herself or Selena from his assaults. So she doesn’t trust men enough to ever want to get married. Her goal had been to become financially independent so she’d never have to depend upon a man to take care of her. She develops a line of cosmetics and become a multi-millionaire by the time she’s in her early thirties. She’s enjoying her life but has an inkling that something is missing. Knox has opened a chain of health food grocery stores (think Whole Foods) and is now a billionaire. Must be something about a Harvard education! Knox married and had a daughter but she unfortunately dies from cancer. His 10 year marriage cannot survive the loss of the daughter so he and his wife divorce. It’s two years after the death of his daughter and his divorce and Knox is a shattered man, still grieving the loss of his daughter and unable to move on with his life. He spends his days working and working out to exhaust himself so he doesn’t dwell upon his loss. Fearing Selena may be in danger from whomever sent the letter to her telling her she was Will’s sole heir to lure her and the other women to the funeral service, he decides he’s going to spend some time with her to protect her from any potentially unseen danger. He takes up residence in Selena’s guest room. Now both single and sharing Selena’s house neither of them can ignore the ten plus years of pent up longing for one another which leads to the gradual breakdown of the emotional walls both had put up between themselves to protect themselves and their friendship. The journey from friends to lovers in this book, is mostly dependent upon Knox’s ability to overcome his grief and guilt in order to accept his feelings for Selena (and as you’ve probably guessed from the title and the overview her accidental pregnancy) make this a rather dramatic story. It takes a long time for the author to get to the romantic parts and once that happens everything else leading to the H.E.A. seems to happen rather quickly. I really felt the story dragged for much of the book while Maisy lays out the back stories for both characters. If I didn’t have so much trust in her to deliver a fantastic ending (which she did) I might have just stopped reading the book half way through. If you’re looking for a light hearted fun romance this novella is definitely not for you. If you’re looking for a short story that will make you cry both tears of pain and tears of joy and you can be a patient reader you probably will enjoy this one.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Donna Repsher

    It's been a long time since I read the first novel in the Texas Cattleman's Club series, and I was eager to read this first novel in a new spin-off series, The Imposter, especially since it was authored by Maisey Yates, who doesn't disappoint, and true to form, she didn't. After staying awake until 4 a.m. to read it from start to finish, I give this deeply moving friends-to-lovers novel 4.5 stars. Three friends, Selena, Knox and Will met and connected in college. Selena and Knox were secretly att It's been a long time since I read the first novel in the Texas Cattleman's Club series, and I was eager to read this first novel in a new spin-off series, The Imposter, especially since it was authored by Maisey Yates, who doesn't disappoint, and true to form, she didn't. After staying awake until 4 a.m. to read it from start to finish, I give this deeply moving friends-to-lovers novel 4.5 stars. Three friends, Selena, Knox and Will met and connected in college. Selena and Knox were secretly attracted to one another but didn't want to spoil their friendship, and Selena had many other issues on her mind, her father was physically and verbally abusive to her and her mother, and her only family support came from her grandfather. When he died, his will stated that his entire estate was to go to Selena, but with conditions, she'd have access to that money when she turned 25, or when she married. Selena was desperate for that money because it meant freedom from her father, so she and Will agreed to a fake marriage. Even her best friend, Knox, believed that it was a real marriage, was deeply saddened by the fact that Selena didn't choose him, and that led him into the arms of another woman, Cassandra, whom he loved, and with whom he had a child. Selena's fake marriage ended in anger and divorce, and Selena went on to make her fortune in skin care products. Knox too, started at the bottom and now owns a billion-dollar chain of health food markets. His marriage also ended in divorce following the death of his two-year-old daughter, Ellie, to cancer. He's just been going through the motions of living since then, devastated by the loss of the child who was the center of his world, and he's unable to move past it. At the opening of this novel, we learn that Selena received a letter informing her of Will's death at sea, and of the fact that she, his ex-wife, was the sole heir to Will's vast estate. However, there were 4 other women at the funeral, one very pregnant, another with a child, and they too received the same letter. She didn't know these women or what their relationships to Will were, but while hurt and saddened by his death, she wasn't heartbroken at all, since their fake marriage only happened so she could access her trust fund. She's surprised to also see Knox at the funeral--while they had stayed in touch, his life and his ranch were in Wyoming, while Selena was still back in Texas. You can imagine the shocked reactions of everyone there when the supposedly dead Will opens the door and walks in, a guest at his own funeral. So, whose cremated ashes are in the urn? Who set up this faux funeral and why? I'm guessing that the answers to those questions will be at the heart of all the books in this series. While intriguing, the aforementioned mystery in this novel is just the backdrop to the relationship between Knox and Selena. After Selena divorced Will, Knox, to whom she was attracted at first sight, was already married, making him off limits for anything more than friendship. But now, there are no spouses or other lovers keeping them apart, but are they willing to risk their friendship? Selena is, but Knox has felt dead inside since the loss of his daughter and the breakup of his 10-year marriage. He doesn't ever want to care about anyone that much again because with loving, comes the possibility of loss and with loss comes pain. Selena believes that she too doesn't want marriage or children, considering herself too damaged for either of those things, but she does want Knox, and since he's staying with her at her cabin, they finally have to come to terms with their past, and the truths they've been hiding from each other and themselves. Prepare yourself for some serious angst and keep your tissues handy, because I certainly needed mine more than once is this sweet, heartwarming, sexy and yet angst-filled novel, because Maisey Yates is exceptionally good at pulling you into a story from the first sentence, and playing on every heartstring you have. If you're wondering why I didn't give this novel 5-stars, it was minor things, such as the fact that there isn't much ranching happening, as the title of his book suggests, nor did it have anything to do with the Texas Cattleman's Club. It was, however, a very good read, as are all of Ms. Yates novels, and I am happy to recommend it highly. Although this novel works perfectly as a standalone read, if you want to see the mystery solved, you'll have to continue reading this series for the loose ends to be tied up. I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this novel. The opinions expressed are my own.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 4-4.5 stars Once again Maisey delivered a solid read that I really enjoyed. I heard about this story awhile ago and as soon as I learned it was a friends to lovers story I knew I was sold. I wasn't expecting that both Selena and Knox both had a thing for each other in college without the other knowing. I was just expecting it to be on her side. Not that it was a bad thing that their attraction was mutual and had been building over the past ten years. So that was an interesting dynamic. This was a 4-4.5 stars Once again Maisey delivered a solid read that I really enjoyed. I heard about this story awhile ago and as soon as I learned it was a friends to lovers story I knew I was sold. I wasn't expecting that both Selena and Knox both had a thing for each other in college without the other knowing. I was just expecting it to be on her side. Not that it was a bad thing that their attraction was mutual and had been building over the past ten years. So that was an interesting dynamic. This was a very emotionally heavy book with both Knox and Selena both having to overcome their issues. Selena was guarded for years, vowing not to allow any guy control her so she wouldn't allow any many close. Knox was the exception but it took time to get her to trust him and she didn't give into her feelings for him in the past even though she was in love with him but she struggled with her feelings for years but she was happy to have him in her life as a friend. Anything more was too complicated for her to deal with. While with Knox the heavy blow he was dealing with was the death of his daughter. As you can imagine he was inconsolable at the lost and really couldn't get over it. He didn't really live and just lived in his grief. It was hard for him to get over. The emotions in this book was definitely the driving force behind the story. It was painful. It was hard to see them both struggle against the dark emotions to give into the good ones mainly their love for one another. It was sad at certain points that really got to me. The prime examples being when Selena and Knox were vulnerable with each other, showing their painful, raw emotions that no one had seen. They revealed all in those moments. And even though they had been friends for years, this was where they learned more about what made the other tick and get to know them as a whole. Those were some of the most beautiful moments between them, and I really enjoyed seeing them. Unlike most friends to lovers stories that I have read, I felt like this story was a little angsty. Don't get me wrong there was plenty of tension and build up between them but I just didn't feel the angst like I usually do in these types of stories. I think because this was just so emotionally intense and dark emotions going on in their lives that became the focus and just seeing them overcome that so they be together like they wanted. It's hard to describe. In other wards, it wasn't just about overcoming their attraction that was keeping them apart but the other things. I did enjoy seeing the friendship between Selena and Knox. I loved seeing the banter between them. It brought some laugh out loud moments for them. They just had a great rapport going and it was easy to seeing them go from friends to lovers. There were feelings on both side but they just got in the way as well as circumstances. But I really loved them as friends and liked them as a couple. The love scenes were good, though I was expecting another couple thrown in. I wasn't disappointed with them, but I was expecting more from them. I just thought they would be more emotional than they were especially after all that suppressed desire between them. Just something was missing. Don't get me wrong they were passionate and sexy but again something was missing. Another thing that was interesting about this book was the beginning of the story. There was a little bit of a mystery and a little suspense at what was going on. Unfortunately there were no real answers and I have a feeling with this being the first in the series that it won't be answered until the end that I might not read. So the mystery will remain unsolved. I did think that the premise was very clever and I could see many stories set up in the future. It definitely intrigued me and kept me engrossed in the story. Overall it was a real nice friends to lovers story with two really great characters that happened to be broken by what life had thrown at them. The only way they could heal was love from each other. There were emotionally dark moments but light ones to when they could find the joy within each other. They really could only be vulnerable with each other and really could only be with each other. They wouldn't have worked with anyone else. Their friendship was a great foundation for their romance, and I dug that. I was glad they overcame their emotional obstacles so they could be together. It nice deep, emotional story and I liked it.

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