Originally posted at Romance Around the CornerI discovered Ms. O’Keefe’s books last year when I read book one in the series. The books can be out of order, in fact, I didn’t realize they were connected until I was well into the storyWhen Lucy Alatore was young, all she wanted to do was design jewelry and leave home. Her dream came true and she moved to Los Angeles, but after a bad business decision she’s back to her hometown with nothing but failure. Jeremiah Stone was a rodeo super star but he had to quit because of injure. He didn’t have much time to grief the loss of his career because his sister died leaving him in charge of his three young orphaned nephews. So he’s been back in town for the past year struggling with his new responsibility and barely managing.When these two meet again the attraction it’s almost unbearable. But he’s no longer the womanizer super star, and she’s no longer the poor girl from the ranch next door. Failure, grief and new responsibilities get in the way of the attraction. Jeremiah is particularly reticent to start a relationship because he has his hands full and doesn’t want to neglect his nephews, although what he was doing until that point was closer to neglect than to anything else. Lucy is just temporally in town, or at least that’s what she says because no one knows what really happen to her business. So with lives so complicated, the romance will be difficult.The thing I loved the most about this book was how realistic it was. Usually when heroes inherit a bunch of orphans they struggle in a cute, funny way, just to get the hang of it in a day or two, and go live happy and well-adjusted lives. That is not the case here. Jeremiah is grieving, he loves the kids but half the time he can’t handle them. He’s frustrated, and yes, at times he goes to a dark place of resentment. And honestly, I don’t blame him. These are not your average adorable book orphans, these are traumatized kids in a lot of emotional pain. One of them in particular isn’t doing that well and everyone in the book, the hero and heroine in particular, are having a hard time with him. It’s painful because these kids aren’t just afraid Jeremiah will leave them, but they don’t even believe he loves them. It’s a long adjustment period and when the book begins they are nowhere near done with it. Jeremiah and Lucy are complex characters that I could relate to, even if I’ve never gone through such extreme circumstances. These were two adults who made mistakes and were trying to reinvent themselves. I liked them very much and I found them to be original and refreshing in a very normal way.The kids play important roles, the troubled one in particular, and I enjoyed their interactions. I’m a fan of kids in books, but I think that people who don’t enjoy them will be able to appreciate the way these are written. There’s also a secondary romance involving the heroine’s mom that I found boring and distracting from the main story. As I said, there’s a previous book in this series but I didn’t realize this was a sequel until halfway through the book, when I began to wonder if the heroine’s sister had a book. When I checked, it turned out that not only does she have a book, but I’ve also read it. And now that I think back, I can say that this one is better.The book isn’t as angsty as it seems, and it’s a bit slow at parts. But I thoroughly enjoyed it and I think you will too.