The Heart of Texas by R.J. Scott
Series: Texas, Book 1
Published by: Love Lane Books on January 30, 2013 (2nd Edition)
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)
Riley Hayes, second son of the Hayes family, leads a charmed life. His family owns the incredibly successful Hayes Oil. And with Riley’s father, Gerald, nearing retirement, he’ll surely leave it to his children. But when the plan for control is outlined, Riley learns he’ll be getting far less than his older brother. That is, unless he gets married–for love–and stays that way for a year.
Riley’s beyond upset, but he has a plan to get back at this father. He contacts Jack Campbell, son of one of Gerald’s biggest rivals, with a proposition. Jack’s gay, and Riley enlists him to get married to fulfill the terms of Gerald’s agreement. Jack’s reluctant, obviously, but one thing Riley has learned as a Hayes is how to manipulate people. And so Riley’s plan to get his fair share of the company while upsetting his father by masquerading as gay and marrying into a rival family looks like it might just work out.
But there are a few things Riley didn’t quite count on. For one, Riley’s father and brother will not go down without a fight. And they both might just be even more heartless than he’d ever imagined. There’s also the issue of Jack. As Riley spends more time with him, he can’t help wondering if maybe he wants something more than what their contract stipulates. But could that really be true? And if it is, could Jack want him back?
We all have those moments when we can’t help thinking our family is dysfunctional. Some of us have them more often than others, but they’re still there. But what we don’t ever realize is that maybe we’re not quite as bad as we think. Unfortunately for Riley, the opposite is true. And he’s stuck trying to sort through the question of whether our family can define us. Or can we really rise above it all to be our own person?
Riley and Jack are such an unlikely pair. And it’s interesting to see how they come together–not only just the two of them, but their families as well. Though it’s all very intense. And way more any two people should have to go through.
Content warnings: violence, domestic violence, discussions of sexual assault