The Patriot by Jennifer Millikin Review

The Patriot: A Small Town Romance (Hayden Family) by [Jennifer  Millikin]

** I had received a copy of this book for bookstagram/review purposes, this doesn’t affect my opinion or thoughts about the book **

Synopsis:

I’m a soldier.
A cattle rancher.
A Hayden.

My family’s legacy is spread out in front of me, just waiting for me to seize it. If it weren’t for one outdated rule, I’d be the owner of the Hayden Cattle Company and my aging father could retire.

When Dakota Wright shows up to buy and develop twenty acres of Hayden land, I see more than a pretty mouth and strawberry blonde hair. I see a way around the decree keeping me from getting what I want.

And, as luck would have it, Dakota has a big problem of her own. We strike two deals: one for the land, and a second that’ll make both our problems a distant memory.

It isn’t too long before I realize I’m in over my head. I’ve convinced myself the ends should justify the means, but everything begins to fall apart when my birthright is no longer all that I’m after.

I never thought there’d be anything I could love more than my ranch and my country.
I was wrong.

Turns out, I want it all.
Including her.

Review:

5 Stars

If you like:

  • 2nd Chance Love Stories
  • Military/Adult (MCs in 30s) Romance
  • Small Towns
  • Fake Engagement

Then this is the story for you!

TW/CW: PTSD, Kidnapping, Flashback/War Stories

Y’all no joke I’ve moved on from looking for a farmer to looking for a cowboy. After meeting Wes, I’m like sign me up.

So the story opens up with us meeting Dakota and Wes one night at a party. At this point Dakota is in college I believe, and Wes is getting back into town after his last tour in the military. Dakota is out with a couple of her friends when she notice’s this guy kind of off to the sides not really interacting with anyone, and in a kind of a spur of the moment thing she goes over to him, and they instantly hit it off. One thing leads to another and they spend the rest of the night talking and well other things. Wes thinks he’s a damaged war veteran incapable of having any sort of happiness after seeing all of the destruction from his time in the military and leaves her without a word.

Jump forward 5 years later, Dakota is working for her father and his construction company, and while getting her life back together after a nasty break-up, she’s living with her sister’s family while she tries working on a new normal.

One morning after arriving to work, Dakota’s dad tells her that they are travelling to look at a potential buy on a piece of land, so she packs a bag and the next thing she knows, she’s on a plane with her father going to small town. Little does she know that this land currently belongs to the a man who just so happens to be related to the man that left her high and dry in the past. Despite the less than stellar reunion between Dakota and Wes, she falls in love with the land that’s for sell and sees the potential to make this new project into something special for both the locals and people stopping through town.

Fast-forward a little more, Dakota now finds herself over seeing this project and turning it into something worthy for this town. During her stay she get to know the locals and even make friends in addition to trying to figure out what this thing she has with Wes is because let’s face they have some serious sparks even when both of them are either trying to deny it or to stubborn to admit it.

While she’s working, she gets closer to the Hayden family and makes a good impression on most of them, but with anything else in life a monkey wrench gets thrown in and Beau has a health scare causing Wes to make this grand plan of getting married to Dakota so the ranch can be passed down to him (because the owner has to be married, a rule that has been in place for generations).

Wes knows that Dakota is special to him and is the most sensible person to get married to even when he sees himself as broken and unworthy of love because even they can feel this pull towards the other. He’s willing to pay off Dakota’s debt if she will marry him, so it’s not a one sided gain.

Once they go through with the agreement, they start to go on dates and spend time with each other outside of the shared work time. This thing that is between them grows into something hopeful, but the underlying deal is always in the back of both of their minds making them wonder if these feels are just a byproduct.

As things progress in the book, unexpected events happen, and it makes them evaluate their feels and decide if a relationship is in the cards of their future.

Both Dakota and Wes are very deep characters that have many things going on. They both have a guilt for the past that they carry with them and has hardened their hearts with time leading Dakota to donate money that she doesn’t really have to budge and Wes to just shut down not really living for anything other than the ranch.

Unlike Wes, Dakota is the more willing of the two to show emotions and let people in. While Wes is “content” living on the ranch, but eventually overtime, he would have gotten to a point where even that wouldn’t have been enough because after the five years he came back from his last tour, there was a noticeable change in him (which is understandable considering what he saw) but he wasn’t talking to anyone about it. He stayed to the ranch never going into town and letting all of his suppressed emotions bottled up simmering underneath. He wasn’t grieving in a healthy way and in the end it could have ended badly if Dakota didn’t show back up in his life.

Throughout the whole book, I could see a change in both Dakota and Wes gradually and see this beautiful relationship evolve from the hurt and anger of being left alone to something inseparable and worth fight for!

I highly recommend this fast paced story about second chances and taking risks in life.

Happy reading until next time,

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