Ok, so remember how much I loved that first Donna Alward that I read? That has led me to keeping an eye out for her new books on NetGalley and requesting any I find--- even if the title is "The Texan's Baby" and it has a hugely pregnant woman on the cover. Normally, even the cowboy on the cover wouldn't make me overlook the pregnant woman but I made an exception. I finally sat down to read it a couple weeks ago, and discovered that Alward writes a really great Harlequin- she's 2 for 2 on the Harlequins for me now. After reading this one and discovering it was first in the series, I went back to NetGalley to look for the rest. There are (going to be) six of them- all by different authors. The next three were already available so I snapped them up. Of the four I now have/have read THREE of them involve babies and children. So we'll see how that goes.
Wow, that's possibly the longest intro paragraph I've ever written. And how were the books?
The Texan's Baby by Donna Alward was terrific. I'd give it a good four stars. Lizzie and Chris end up expecting a baby after a one night stand at the rodeo. This is, of course, out of character for both of them. I thought I'd really be put off by it, and honestly it wasn't nearly as annoying as I predicted. They both handle the situation as adults, with little or no drama about paternity or responsibility or money. This made the pregnancy a near non-issue and only a way to get them together quickly. I enjoyed seeing them squirm through figuring out how to explain a pregnancy to their families when they weren't actually dating. The big conflict comes about from their jobs, not the baby. It turns out that Lizzie is heading up her family's oil energy company and Chris works for a rival company. Lizzie doesn't handle the conflict in this well, and I'm not 100% sure I like the way it's resolved- I felt Lizzie doesn't grovel enough or come through with enough legitimate reason to act the way she does. Despite this, I felt like the romance was solid enough to keep me looking for Alward's books, and I immediately requested the next three in the series.
Second up was The Texan's Cowgirl Bride by Trish Milburn. This is the one book of the first four that does not include babies, but it does have a tragically dead wife to make up for it. Travis is a returning war hero turned PI (of course he's a returning war hero, aren't all the ones who aren't cowboys?) who finds himself falling for Savannah Baron (sister of Lizzie.) The problem is that Savannah is experiencing a health scare and Travis has already lost one wife. Is he willing to fall in love again with someone who might also die on him?
This one wasn't as strong as The Texan's Baby. I liked each of them individually, but I didn't find the relationship to be as strong. It felt like it was much more about the surrounding details than about the couple themselves. Additionally, I felt like perhaps Savannah's health problems were drawn out a bit too long for sake of the story (I base this entirely on my imagination, perhaps it does take this long.) Once again I enjoyed seeing the Barons, but did not feel as though all the siblings took over the story. Despite not loving it as much as the first story in the series, I'm looking forward to the next two (four) books.