Rugged rancher Jake McGregor wrangles cattle better than kids, but when he’s suddenly saddled with three grieving children, he’s determined to step up. His sister’s kids shouldn’t pay for her error in judgment in naming him guardian. Problem is, he doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing. And the woman who attempts to help with his every fumble is the one woman he wants to steer clear of… 

Lacey Anderson loves a challenge, but Jake’s already broken her heart once. When his tall shadow darkens the doorway of her classroom, she’s ready to shut him out – until she meets her new students, and sees the desperation in Jake’s eyes. Emotional intelligence is so not his forte. But she’s done banging her head against that wall. 

Jake, however, is finally ready to learn how to love and Lacey’s the teacher he wants. Is she willing to risk her own heart again to teach him?

Titles in The Montana McGregor Brothers include:  The Rancher Takes A Family

Title:  The Rancher Takes A Family
Series:  The Montana McGregor Brothers #1
Author:  Paula Altenburg
Genre:  Contemporary Romance, Modern Western Romance
Published:  October 9, 2018
Publisher:  Tule Publishing
My Rating:  4.5 stars

There are some stories that just grab you by the heartstrings and won’t let go – The Rancher Takes A Family is one of those stories.  Imagine for a moment, as painful as that may be, that in one moment you’ve lost your parents, your sister and her husband in a plane crash.  Devastated is the mildest of emotions felt in that tragedy.  Then imagine that you’ve been named guardian of your sister’s three grieving children who have just had their world destroyed… how do you handle that.  If you’re a McGregor brother then you suck up your own emotions and deal with the reality in front of you… even though you’re just as destroyed as those innocent kids.  You deal, you learn and you do your best for your family.  Three brothers, Jake, Luke and Zach have their work cut out for them.  But along the way they’re going to discover life’s greatest gifts as well… it just might take some time to receive them.

At one time Jake and Lacey were a couple, teen love that was cut short by misunderstandings, miscommunication and perhaps stubbornness as well.  Now, years later, Lacey has returned home as a school teacher – and the last sight she expects to see is Jake standing in her classroom doorway with two scared, upset and even angry children.  While her compassion and concern is for the children, it doesn’t help to discover that time has not changed her feelings for the man who once broke her heart.

To be frank, I could talk about this story for a very long time… but that’s not fair to you because I truly believe that you need to experience the emotions of this story firsthand.  Just a warning, you are going to get teary-eyed, and you’re also going to do some laughing out loud as well.  Lacey and Jake get a second chance, maybe a future together if they can get beyond what happened years ago.  It’s telling in a way when each brother seems to take responsibility of one particular child, often the closest to their own personalities.  All the kids were loved and cared for by all the brothers, but it was interesting to see them “pair up” in some ways.  Since this was Jake’s story, I didn’t expect to dive deeply into Luke’s or Zach’s reactions or lives… that will come later in their own stories.  Yet there is a strong sense of family in different layers in The Rancher Takes A Family that is impossible to not feel.  I enjoyed meeting these characters, and definitely look forward to learning more throughout the series.  I’d not hesitate to recommend this story to any Romance reader who enjoys interesting characters, second chance romances and that family feeling that just cannot be explained but must be felt.  Yeah, this one stole my heart.

*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. That does not change what I think of this story. It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this book.*

Available for the Kindle