Review - "Texas Winter" by RJ Scott
Nicely done sequel - with heart and love
"The world, for me, and all the world can hold, is circled in your arms, for me there lies, within the lights and shadows of your eyes, the only beauty that is never old."
With those words of love, Riley married Jack at the end of the last book in this series, "The Heart of Texas", committing himself to the relationship that started as a way to get back at his father. Jeff was able to forgive Riley for manipulating him into the marriage, and make it a real partnership.
As "Texas Winter" picks up, Riley and Jack are living on the D ranch, exploring their love, and settling into this new and passionate relationship. Riley is able to talk Jeff into taking some time off for their honeymoon, and the two share some quality bonding time together away from both families. Until Riley's peace of mind is shattered by a call from his sister Eden, informing him of the arrival of his daughter. The daughter he never knew he had.
As Jack and Riley return back home to deal with this unexpected addition to their lives, Riley also is contacted by his father, Jim, about a business...irregularity...involving his brother Jeff. As he becomes more and more distracted and upset and distant from his husband, will Jack and Riley find a way to make all these new changes work in their new and sometimes fragile relationship? Or will it all prove to be too much?
This is a worthy and, in some ways, superior, follow up to "The Heart of Texas", RJ Scott has written a true love story - about the love between two men, between family, between a father and daughter. Some of this love is quiet, some loud, some passionate, some gentle. Love grows here, and love is found. New love is formed.
We get to see Riley struggle and turn to Jack for strength. And we see Riley there for Jack, in ways he never expected. We see both men learn how strength takes many forms, how sometimes it's a touch, or a kind word, or passion, or quiet calm in the eye of the storm.
Most of all, we see the beginning of a new family. Riley grew up in a "quiet mausoleum", devoid of love except for his sister, and was given a taste of how family can be when he saw the loud love and laughter of the Campbell household. When he and Jack and their new daughter come together to bond as a family of their own, we are treated to a softening and strengthening in Riley that is wonderful to see.
While there is action in this book (the mess Jeff leaves for his brother to clean up puts Riley's life in danger yet again), this is a much more controlled, quiet ballad of a book, where "The Heart of Texas" was more a rock opera. The heart of this book is in its core - love. And really, the best reads always come back to that center.
Job well done, Ms. Scott!