"With This Ring?" is a new novella collection of four short stories by Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, and Melissa Jagears that's put out by Bethany House. I really enjoyed this collection because it features the stories of some of these authors' minor characters from previous books.
The first novella is by Karen Witemeyer (The Husband Maneuver) and tells the story of Dead-Eye Dan and Marietta Hawkins. Marietta has been in love with Dan for years, but he doesn't know it. She concocts a plan to try and get him to notice her, unaware that he does like her but can't do anything about it due to a promise he made to her father. I really enjoyed getting to follow up on Dead-Eye Dan from A Worthy Pursuit released earlier last year.
The second is Her Dearly Unintended by Regina Jennings. I didn't recognize the characters, but it was a very cute story nonetheless. Josiah Huckabee has a crush on his neighbor Katie Ellen Watson, but she's not interested in him. When he goes over to check on her after during a rainstorm, the creek rises too much for him to return to his land, and he's stuck with her. Unfortunately, her parents were out of town; then a suspicious stranger shows up and they decide to act like newlyweds for their safety. I thought the situations that the characters got themselves into were really funny, and the awkwardness between the characters made me smile.
The third is Runaway Bride by Mary Connealy. This one didn't stand out in my memory. It was the story of fugitive Cassie Halsey, who has to run away from a man who wants to marry her, and of Texas Ranger Big John Conroy, who is sent to save her. I appreciated how the author weaved in some previous characters, but other than that, I didn't really find anything notable.
The fourth and final is Engaging the Competition by Melissa Jagears. This was a really sweet story of two rivals who have to help each other out and end up realizing that they are a good team. I am not as familiar with this author, so I'm not sure if any of the characters carry over from any of her previous books.
Overall, I really liked this novella collection. I've read several collections lately, mostly from Barbour publishers, and I must say that I think this one measures up. The characters were adorable, and the plots didn't feel rushed as is the case with some novellas that I have read. I would recommend this collection, and while it works as a stand-alone, it is much more enjoyable if you have read some of the recent books by each of the authors.
Thank you so much to Bethany House publishers for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own and were not required to be positive.
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