After spending another family wedding fielding questions about her non-existent love life, Kelsey Noble decides she’s tired of waiting around for things she could go out and get herself. What Kelsey wants is a baby, and she doesn’t see any point waiting for a husband she’s not even sure she wants. But a mix-up at the fertility clinic lands her with a hassle she didn’t count on. A big, muscular hassle in a Stetson and cowboy boots.
Cole Mitchell is shocked to discover that a grand gesture from years past has come back to haunt him. Now, thanks to a clerical error, a woman he’s never met is having his baby—and there’s no way he’s going to walk away and forget he has a child.
Trying to make nice with the unexpected father of her baby lands Kelsey in Silver Creek, Oregon, dealing with the kind of small town life she left behind years ago. Even worse is dealing with the burning attraction she feels for Cole. She knows adding sex to the mix is a very bad idea, but she’s not sure how long she can resist falling for the last man she ever expected…
This blurb came from the author’s website.
After reading and enjoying, Unbuttoned, the initial novella in Yates’ Silver Creek series I knew that I wanted more. So I made sure to grab a copy of Unexpected when I saw that it was available. The only thing that connected the two stories was that they were both set in Silver Creek even though Unexpected spent more time outside the town than inside. I also thought that some of the issues addressed in this story, while still serious and touching, were significantly different than ones I have seen in other small town romances. I found the twists that Yates used in the tropes she selected fascinating and certainly a way to continue to keep my interest.
Kelsey wanted a family of her own so she underwent artificial insemination without telling anyone in her family or her best friend. During the early stages of pregnancy when she was having serious issues keeping, any food down there was a knock at her door and she met the father of her unborn child. I really enjoyed Kelsey because she had issues and knew it but she also went after what she wanted in life. She wasn’t content to conform to what her family expected as much as she would have preferred to openly receive their approval. I also liked her because even though the donor was never supposed to find out, once he did she was open-minded and fair enough to take the time to both get to know him and to mutually decide on his involvement. She really didn’t have to do that so her decision made me like her that much more.
Cole, the poor tough guy. He really was having a series of rough years that seemed to culminate with the discovery that his banked sperm had been used instead of stored. I am not exactly sure why, and I don’t think he really knew why, he decided to meet the recipient and future mother of his biological child. I enjoyed how he insisted that he had some sort of responsibility and wasn’t quite sure to what degree but he wanted to find out. I thought his gesture of inviting Kelsey out to his family’s ranch as a guest so they could start to get to know each other and work through how they were going to handle parenting and to what extent was pretty incredible. Even more so given it wasn’t his intention to ever have a child, let alone with someone he didn’t know. Cole tried so hard to do the right thing and live up to his ideal even after he became forcibly disillusioned about that same ideal. He had a very hard time expressing his feelings or even admitting that he had feelings because of the multitude of severe disappointments in his life yet it was evident that he was both a nurturer and a protector as much as he tried to deny it. He was so much fun to get to know.
I really enjoyed not just the interactions between Kelsey and Cole as their romance slowly grew as they became more familiar with each other and with the situation but also the supporting cast and their interactions. Cole’s family dynamic, Kelsey’s best friend and her “thing” with Cole’s employee, and their cross interaction provided a great sense of completeness to the setting and characters. I also thought the stark contrast between the atmosphere and interaction on the ranch compared to the interaction with Kelsey’s family was a deft touch that emphasized how different she felt from the rest of her family. I also enjoyed the arguments because they signified an emotional investment and an attempt to change things, not just a misunderstanding that could have been solved through communication. Both Kelsey and Cole had to make some changes in their point of view with the help of tough love from those they trusted before a HEA looked feasible.
Unexpected provided me with some food for thought along with an enjoyable romance. As I mentioned earlier I really appreciated the twists that Yates took with her particular tropes because her story stayed fresh while I was reading. I also want to thank Yates for not taking what looked like the easy way during a particular scene but forcing the two characters to continue to grow and develop. That technique certainly increased my overall enjoyment. I have high hopes that she will provide a story for several of the characters that I met in this installment because the depth and complexity they showed as supporting characters really made me curious about the rest of their stories.
I give Unexpected a B+