Yes, back on the TBR horse. Yes, that is even funnier given this month's theme. Once again I tackled a Harlequin Desire, this one Charlene Sands' The Cowboy's Pride. This contains one of my favorite tropes, the separated couple. And one of my less favorite, although I was fine with it here - the secret baby.
So, Trish and Clay were married. They started fighting about having kids, and in the middle of that, Trish walked in on him looking very cozy on the couch with an ex and walked right back out the door. She secretly hoped he'd come running after, instead he filed for divorce. Now it's a year later and they are ready to finalize the divorce and have also just started up a foundation to help transition kids who spent large parts of their childhood in hospitals back into normal life. (Sort of a post-hospital halfway house.) So, Trish has returned to the ranch to help launch the foundation and has brought the secret baby (that was not a secret to the cover artist). Yes, while she was gone her dear friend lost her husband, discovered she was pregnant, had the baby, and then died of an illness leaving the kid to Trish. So, Trish, who had been one on the no babies for me yet side of the argument, now has a baby.
Now, most of these two's issues could have been resolved if someone had locked them in a room and forced them to talk, but I didn't find their conflict unbelievable. I enjoyed the story, and really my only quibble would be that the resolution comes less as a result of them coming to their senses or talking to each other and more because a number of well-meaning family members sit them down and talk to them. I was still happy with their resolution though.
I also want to mention that Trish is ambivalent about motherhood, and I found the depiction of this really interesting. She loves this baby and is determined to figure out how to offer the best for her, but she struggles and not just in a showing up for a meeting with spit up on her shirt kind of way.
This story made great use of the Arizona ranch setting too.