The Texan's Reward
The Texan’s Reward is Jodi Thomas’ fourth book in the Texans series. This book focuses on the Nell a free-spirited business woman, and Jacob, a Texas Ranger – both of whom we met earlier in this series. Those of us who have read the other books could not wait to read the romance between Two Bits and Jacob. With a few exceptions, it does not disappoint.
Jacob Dalton, Texas Ranger has taken care of Two Bits since she was a little girl and left with the town Madame. He spent all of her childhood and adult years getting her out of one jam or another, always coming to the rescue, except for the one time when she needed him most. Two Bits was shot and paralyzed and destined to spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair. Jacob stayed by her side during the worst of her recovery, but when he felt she was on her way to getting better he left her, feeling himself a failure and knowing that he did not protect her the one time it mattered most.
Two Bits, or Nell, has always lived life on her own terms. She is not going to let a wheelchair take away her independence, so she puts an ad in the paper for a husband – someone who, in return for money, will help her manage her seven properties and give her a proper name for the rest of her life.
Jacob finds out about Nell’s latest scheme and goes running back to her. He refuses to let her make the mistake of marrying for convenience, and if anyone is going to be Two Bits’ husband – it’s going to be him. Nell and Jacob immediately square off because Nell finally has a decent husband prospect in offer Number Twelve and Jacob wants a chance at being Number Thirteen. Nell decides to play fairly and give both men a shot at winning her hand.
Jacob faces a tough battle; Nell believes it’s only his sense of responsibility and guilt that drives his desire to marry her. He knows it’s more, but Nell won’t give him much of an opportunity to prove it. She is so focused on her disability that she cannot imagine any one wanting her for anything other than her money.
The story started with great promise and had Thomas focused the book more on Jacob and Nell and their budding love story and less on the book’s other characters, it would have worked better for me as a romance. Too much time was spent on the secondary characters and at times the book felt overcrowded. Yes, they added color and humor, but it was still distracting. The most annoying aspect of the book for me was the fact that Jacob spent half of the book away on Ranger business. So instead of wooing Nell he was gallivanting all over Texas looking for one criminal or another.
In the end the book works because Nell and Jacob are both very strong and likable characters, whom you can’t help rooting for. And after all the action the reader is finally gifted with a great HEA which makes reading The Texan’s Reward worth the frustrations.