by Jodi Thomas

November 2005
ISBN: 0-425-20584-3
Reviewer Graphic Button Berkley
Mass Market Paperback

Nell was the unwanted daughter of a prostitute who had grown up in Fat Alice’s house of ill repute. With no last name, the scrawny orphan once known as “Two Bits” has returned from boarding school back east to the only home she ever knew. Nell is now a full-grown woman of great beauty and quite wealthy thanks to the bequeathal left to her by the now deceased Alice. Her happy homecoming was short lived when Nell was wounded in an ambush resulting in her becoming a wheel chair bound invalid. Realizing her handicap left her unable to handle the vast holdings of her inheritance; Nell decides she must find a husband, even if it is in name only. That is until her one time guardian, Ranger Jacob Dalton gets wind of what she has planned!

If his Two Bits wants to marry anyone, she had better damn well marry him that is how Ranger Jacob Dalton sees things! Jacob has always been there for Nell, watching her grow from the foul-mouthed skinny little kid who would follow him around and call him her Ranger, into the striking, kind hearted woman she is today. Nell’s injuries have left her under the impression she is of no use to Jacob as a proper wife, and therefore she could never burden him. Nell will not allow Jacob to bully her into marrying him, even though being held in his arms is the closest thing to heaven for both of them.

Taking in “strays” at the old brothel, Nell’s household is getting more and more crowded every day! Her newly formed extended family includes her housekeeper, Gypsy, a former hooker, her cook, Marla, a shy young woman who had been ostracized like Nell from the town, Nell’s newly hired bookkeeper Rand Harrison, traveling preacher Brother Aaron, her nurse, and two orphan teens brought in by Jacob. In this chaotic house Nell can only long for her Ranger’s touch, and pray that he can keep her and her new family safe from the dangers that have suddenly sprung to shadow Nell.

Another moving chapter in the wife lottery series, Jodi Thomas brings us Nell and Jacob’s story in The Texan’s Reward. Picking up where the last book, A Texan’s Luck, ended with the ambush that left Nell crippled. We watched little Two Bits grow through all the previous books, and wondered if she and her guardian ranger, Jacob, would ever hook up. Jodi Thomas does not disappoint us and gives this dynamic couple the happy ending they deserve with The Texan’s Reward. Throw in the assorted mix of misfits that Nell collects, and the story has an interesting flow to it, although at times it seems the love story between Nell and Jacob takes a backseat.

Reviewed in October 2005 by Bonnie.

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