Bethany reviews ‘Texas Wedding’ by RJ Scott. Published by Love Lane Books on September 23rd, 2015. 189 pgs
Sometimes Riley and Jack have to be the ones to fight other people’s battles and stand up for what is right.
With the life changing prospect of a yes vote from SCOTUS on the issue of same sex marriage, Riley and Jack realise they have decisions to make. Add in some distressing family news and the very real possibility that old secrets may resurface, and this last book in the Texas series pulls together as many threads as the boys can manage to handle.
But through all the ups and the downs, children, family events, laughter, and tears, there is nothing as special as the forever love between these two men.
Buylinks: Texas Wedding
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Jack slid his arms around Riley from behind and pressed his cheek to the space between broad shoulders. He couldn’t stop himself from moving his hands under the soft T-shirt material and caressing the warm skin. Touching Riley was an addiction.
“You all done?” he asked.
Riley turned in Jack’s hold, the laundry in his hands crushing between them.
“It’s like these tiny T-shirts multiply,” Riley groused. “I turn my back for one minute and suddenly there’s another ten of the damn things.”
Jack smiled up at his husband, at the narrowing of his beautiful hazel eyes and the stubborn set of his mouth. Then he released his hold of his waist and instead cradled his face.
“It was your idea to sort out the twins’ old clothes,” he reminded Riley.
“I wanted to box it away….”
“We can do it together at the weekend.”
“I want to do it today—”
“It’s a Tuesday.” Jack interrupted Riley’s reasons why. “I thought you said you had that report to read from Tom?”
Riley huffed a little. “I can’t concentrate.”
“So, you’re sorting clothes?”
“Is that a bad thing?” Riley sounded so defensive.
Jack sighed. “What are you avoiding?”
Riley raised an eyebrow, and Jack couldn’t help but press a kiss to his lips. After all this time together, he had learned these weird domestic chores Riley undertook were usually a way of avoiding things he didn’t want to do. Whether it was Riley’s way of thinking about things, or pure procrastination, Jack didn’t know.
“I have a shareholder meeting the first week of February.” Riley finally said.
“I know. I got the same letter, but I wasn’t planning on going. Why will this be different from any other meeting?” Jack was confused. Hayes Oil meetings were dry and boring, and he’d survived the only two he’d attended by slouching back in a chair directly opposite Riley. He would eat as many of the complimentary mints as he could manage and gently disrupt the meeting by rustling the wrappers. This never failed to make Riley smile. Mostly Jack conned Josh into going, or gave Riley his proxy. Still, when he did go, he loved nothing better than insolently lazing around and being all cowboy in the room full of suits. Inevitably, this led to hot sex with Riley, who couldn’t keep his eyes off Jack throughout the entire meeting.
“I have something to admit,” Riley said with a sigh. He eased himself away from Jack and leaned back against the cabinet. “Dad has appointed this new manager to the team, and we have a history.”
Jack huffed a laugh. “Riley, you have a history with so many people, I lost count.”
Riley looked affronted for a second, but that emotion didn’t slip into a ready smile, so Jack realized this was serious. Jack stood next to Riley and waited for the man he loved, to admit what the hell was going on. In fact, Riley had been weird for a few days: less quick to smile, less easy to poke at, in a hurry to go find a quiet space away from everyone.
“Not like that,” Riley said. “The woman’s name is Charlotte Harrold, and her dad is Josiah.”
Jack nodded. He and Josiah had their own kind of history, one where Josiah had tried courting Donna and failed, where Josiah looked down at Jack, and where Jack refused to give a rat’s ass. The fucker had blocked Hayes Oil on several occasions and didn’t have a high opinion of Riley, nor of Riley and Jack. Add to that, Tom, Riley’s right-hand man at work, had unfortunately had a run-in with Josiah Jr., Charlotte’s brother. Too much history between the Hayes and Harrold families.
“Why would Jim hire her, then?” Jack paused to think about what he knew concerning Charlotte. “I remember her being a bitch with daddy issues.”
Riley shrugged. “I don’t know. I mean, I asked him, and he said she’s good at what she does, and that she’s changed, whatever that means. Oh, and I should give her as much of a chance as people gave me.”
“Cryptic. So you think she’s going to cause trouble.”
Riley looked at Jack sharply. “Hell no. I know her work, and she’ll be an asset. It’s only….”
Jack tensed. “You slept with her.”
“Jesus, Jack,” Riley said instantly. “No way. She was Jeff’s. I mean she and Jeff were having an affair. He called her Charlie, and I damn well walked in on them once. The wedding photos were still wet at the printer’s, and there he was, fucking around on Lisa.”
“Yeah, oh. And we’re going to be in the same room as her. All I can remember is that Jeff was balls-deep in Charlie, and he had his hands—” Riley demonstrated with his hands in front of him in a ring. “—around her neck.”
Jack immediately realized what the problem was. The joined families, whether Campbell or Hayes, had quietly consigned Jeff and everything he had done to something never to be talked about. Riley never shared cute childhood stories where he, Eden, and Jeff were friends; no tales of brotherly misadventures. To Jack’s mind, Jeff had been born a sadistic bastard, and likely there were a lot of stories Riley hadn’t told him about the kind of things Jeff had done to both Riley and Eden.
“Seeing her makes you face what he did,” Jack said. He reached over and held Riley’s hand, lacing their fingers together and squeezing. This was what he did best. He was there for Riley, supporting him, holding him up, knowing as much as he needed to know, and still being there for the man who was his other half.
Riley sighed and bumped shoulders with Jack. “Yeah,” he whispered.
“So your dad doesn’t know that Jeff and Charlie were…?”
“No. I’m sure I’m the only one.”
“Lisa didn’t know?”
Riley squeezed back. “She always knew he was unfaithful, but with Charlie, no, I don’t think so.”
For a second, Jack allowed the words to settle. Lisa was damaged by much more than physical pain. She had a world of hurt where her dead husband was concerned, not least of which was the end result of what he did to her. The secret she carried with her was too awful for Jack to contemplate knowing how she lived with it.
“We don’t see enough of Lisa and the kids,” he said.
That was true. Lisa hadn’t visited in a while. Although to be fair, whenever Jack and Riley organized a family gathering of any sort, they always invited her. She’d moved to San Antonio with her fiancé, Ed, and was building a place for herself and the kids well away from the life she’d had here. Luke was sixteen, Annabelle coming up for nineteen. They weren’t at the ranch as often as Josh’s kids. They had lives of their own, but still, Jack was all about family.
“We’ll get them over, or maybe we’ll go visit them,” Jack said. He wasn’t going to let Riley focus on this one thing to distract himself from the central issue. “Back to the meeting. When you sit there, it will be all business, and if she comes over to talk to you, you smile, nod, and put on the best goddamn Riley act you can.”
“You’re not planning on being there.”
“I hate them,” Jack said, then he felt guilty. Riley was clearly concerned about the meeting, and he should make the effort. “I can try.”
“Don’t say that.” Riley smiled at Jack. “As much as I like it when you do that ‘I don’t care, I’m a hot, dusty cowboy’ thing, I seriously think you should stay away.”
Riley looked at him again. This time, the shadows had disappeared from his eyes. “It’s like torture for you.”
“Tell me more about how you like the cowboy thing,” Jack growled.
Riley grinned. “When you push the chair back and you kind of sprawl there, with your thumbs in your belt. You smile and nod when you need to and all I want to do is crawl over the table and ride you right there in the meeting.”
Jack’s cock swelled and pressed against his jeans. Riley’s voice was husky and low and sent every molecule of blood south.
“Sometimes you unwrap those stupid little mints, and you press one to your lips, and then you suck it in.”
“I like the mints.”
“All I can imagine is my cock in your mouth, and I’m so freaking hard I can’t concentrate on the numbers.”
Jack wriggled to get comfortable, and he had to press his free hand to his zip to ease some of the pressure. “Like it’s easy for me,” he muttered. “You in your suit, and those ties you wear, and all I can imagine is ripping it all off, tying you down and fucking you into tomorrow. That’s the only reason I go.”
Riley moved so quickly Jack didn’t have time to draw breath. He straddled Jack and pushed him back on the bed.
“Carol.” Jack mentioned their nanny’s name with the last remaining moments of having the presence of mind. “People…,” he added as a warning, as Riley stole his words with the deepest, dirtiest, messiest kiss he’d had since the last time they’d been in the barn.
Riley pulled back enough so Jack could look into his eyes. “Barn,” Riley said. “Now.”
Riley scrambled up and away, unbuttoning his jeans and adjusting himself. “Now,” he repeated.
With determination, they made it out of the house. Hayley was at school, Max out with Robbie and the horses, the twins were happy with Carol, so they had nothing to stop them. It didn’t matter it was ten in the morning, this was happening.
When I started ‘The Heart of Texas’ back in April 2012 I had no idea that I would fall in love. But I did, I fell hard for Jack and Riley (even though Riley took a while for me to warm up to.) When I finished it I was happy with how it ended and I could have walked away content with what I just finished. BUT, I saw that there was a book two so I turned right around and got ‘Texas Winter’ and realized that these two men would forever be one of my all time favorite couples. I can not tell you how many times I have re-read these two books over the years. But wait, December came and I found book three. Oh I can’t tell you how happy that made me, they just kept getting better and better.
Fast forward to about a year ago I finished books four through six, and with each book I was left with a contented sigh of pure happiness. But that one question always wiggled into my mind. If Texas (my home state and where I still live) were to ever legalize gay marriage, would RJ write a story for Jack and Riley? So I asked, and she said yes. Well I was ecstatic with that news, but also a little sad, for two reasons. One: they would truly be done, their story would be complete. And two: as much as I love my state, lets face it, it is filled with a BUNCH of people who don’t believe in marriage equality. But FINALLY on June 26th 2015 SCOTUS ruled that marriage be legal for EVERYONE. I cried. I’ll get back to that in a bit. I was so happy, Jack and Riley would be getting a wedding.
I can not even begin to explain how much I loved this book. RJ is a fantastic story teller, I love all of her books but this series holds a special place in my heart. I have gone back and re-read books 1-3 so many times I lost count. I have re-read 4,5, & 6 twice now. They are a comfort read for me. If I am feeling down or don’t know what I want to read, I go back to Jack and Riley. This one was no less spectacular. It was amazing, a perfect way to say good by to characters that feel so real to me, like we are real life friends. Wow, I am tearing up now just thinking that they got their ULTIMATE happy ever after.
I got misty eyed for a lot of this book, don’t worry they were good tears. And a few times that I out right cried like a baby. We got to see characters from past books that have helped Jack and Riley get to this point. They have helped them grow, called them on their crap, been there when things were falling down around them. We get to see their kids growing, new family members, and some new friends.
Now back to me crying like a baby. In the book when SCOTUS made their ruling I cried, just like I did on June 26th 2015. I wasn’t sure I would ever see this day, and that made me sad. I have 3 beautiful kids, and one of them might be gay or a lesbian and it broke my heart to think that they might find someone that they love so much, but they wouldn’t have the same basic right their daddy and I have. But we got it, equal rights for everyone. The way that RJ writes about this and the emotions that not just Jack and Riley feel, but everyone that is close to them, is beautiful. I sobbed when I finished it, sad that it was over but pure joy and love in my heart that I got to follow their journey. (I might be crying now)
RJ is a brilliant author and I can not recommend this book, this series, highly enough. I perfect ending to a perfect love story.
RJ Scott has been writing since age six, when she was made to stay in at lunchtime for an infraction involving cookies. She was told to write a story and two sides of paper about a trapped princess later, a lover of writing was born.
As an avid reader herself, she can be found reading anything from thrillers to sci-fi to horror. However, her first real true love will always be the world of romance where she takes cowboys, bodyguards, firemen and billionaires (to name a few) and writes dramatic and romantic stories of love and passion between these men.
With over seventy titles to her name and counting, she is the author of the award winning book, The Christmas Throwaway. She is also known for the Texas series charting the lives of Riley and Jack, and the Sanctuary series following the work of the Sanctuary Foundation and the people it protects.
Her goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.
www.tumblr.com/blog/rjscott (some NSFW (not safe for work) photos)