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The Patriot

(Hayden Family #1)

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  127 ratings  ·  83 reviews
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 If it weren’t for one outdated rule, I’d be the owner of the Hayden Cattle Company and my aging father could retire.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
Kindle Edition
Published January 11th 2021 by JNM LLC
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Average rating 4.49  · 
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THE PATRIOT (Hayden Family Book #1) by Jennifer Millikin is the start of a new contemporary cowboy romance series that has everything I am looking for in an emotional romance read.

Hayden Cattle Company is the largest spread in Sierra Grande and was established and run by four generations of Hayden men. Beau Hayden and his wife have three grown sons and one teenage daughter.

Wes Hayden is the oldest son and after serving three tour
LianaReads blog
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fake engagement anyone?
This story is so much more than what the eyes can see. It’s packed with everything from all the ups and downs of a big farm family to the ptsd moments and life after the army for our hero and of course, the chance at a beautiful romance that it’s not missing all suspenseful twists and bumps in her way to that happily ever after.
Jan 09, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgally
From the synopsis I knew this was a typical romance with a cliche plot, but I was in the mood for a ranch setting so I read it.

I’m so glad I did, I totally enjoyed it.

Wes came back after 12 years of serving in the army a different man, he is suffering from BTSD but he is not letting any one in.
He loves nothing more than the family ranch and now his dad is ready to hand it over but there is a condition and Wes can’t meet it.
Dakota is trying to rebuild her life and prove herself to her Dad, so whe
Wowza!! The Patriot was everything I didn't know I wanted in a book! Actually, I did know I wanted it, but you rarely find it. Wes is the eldest of the four Hayden children. He fought for his country for twelve years and is still carrying the battle scars from it. Their family owns a huge ranch, which is the main focus of the town. So, everyone knows who they are.

I loved the cowboy/veteran combination. It's my "book catnip." A cowboy with all the ruggedness combined with emotional trauma of a ve
Jan 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Finding rare gems among the sea of books feels like my favourite person plucked a star straight from the sky just for me. The Patriot is my newest treasure.

It took me one page to be sucked into the world of Dakota and Wes. In the sea of bodies they looked straight into each others eyes and their world stopped. And so did mine. I felt every look, every word, and every touch. As if I was Dakota.

I couldn't have loved them more. Whatever they did, whatever they went through, I held my breath and a
Jan 11, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
[ I received a physical copy for an honest review]

The Patriot
is the start of a new romance series by Jennifer Millikin. The series will follow each of the Hayden siblings and if they are anything like this first book it will be a series full of emotion.

After three tours in the military Wes returns home to his family's ranch a different man than he was. When his father decides to sell part of the land he finds himself face to face with Dakota. RTE woman he spent one night with five years ago and
Athena D.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 STARS

The Patriot by Jennifer Millikin is an EPIC read that will join the ranks of the BIBLIO-ARISTOCRACY!!!
Jan 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wes Hayden is one scrumptious hero - an Army veteran and a rugged solemn cowboy. His relationship with Dakota started 5 years ago when he first meet her at a lake house party held by one of his friends they spent an amazing afternoon and night together before he left while she was sleeping. Now she comes to his hometown with her dad looking to purchase property his dad is selling from their family ranch.

Their reconnection is quite the story and as the book unfolds so much happens. This book has
Laura R
Jan 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I've read by this author and I was hooked from the first page. There was an instant connection between the two main characters, Wes and Dakota, when they first met. You could feel how they were drawn together, and it was sad that it was just a one night stand. But as fate would have it, they were brought together several years later when her father's firm is vying to purchase a portion of the Hayden Family land for development.

I loved how the story unfolded in regards to
Heather Rainwater-Alvarado
“Small town romance” describes this book perfectly; though it doesn’t begin to encompass the depth of emotions the two main characters have been through and continue to struggle with. Fate introduces Dakota and Wes in a pivotal time in both their lives, they struggle with their own demons and mistakes, and after years apart, fate brings them back together to give them another chance.

I really applaud Milliken’s take on the standard cowboy romance and giving Wes a twist in being a veteran and the
Jan 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love a story where you are jumping back and forth, ie, past present and so forth. The story line where your kids have to marry to get the land is a story line I've read before, and makes for an interesting storyline. Two people work towards a goal to get the same thing. Like the love story. HEA. ...more
Yvonne Cruz
Jan 01, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I decided to try a new author, and since this was a new series, I knew it was the perfect time to give both a try. Glad I did.
Wes Hayden is back home ready to take over his family’s ranch. But things are not easy.
Dakota Wright shows up at the ranch wanting to purchase 20 acres of the Hayden land. Imagine her shock to see the guy she met 5 years ago .
Both have their agenda and strike a deal, but what happens when feelings develop and what they thought they wanted, might not be what they really wa
Suzy Baba (readaholicmom)
How could I not LOVE this book?? I loved the whole dynamic of the main characters right from the beginning... I Loved their families and the support they show to their children. The way the main characters fell in love might not be ideal for a normal person, but for Dakota and Wes... It was perfect!
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Patriot by Jennifer Millikin is a stand-alone and book one in her new Hayden Family Series.
The Patriot is a complex story with characters that are already through a lot, have the scars to prove it.
Dakota and Wes are perfect for each other , I loved reading their story. I loved the slow pace, the slow burn the storyline had, loved how they grow in their relationship. Both are lovable characters with a beautiful lovestory that gave me all the feels. A great read, 4,5 beautiful stars.
Dec 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Dakota & Wes meet at his friends party, he wasn't going to stay until he saw her.
Dakota is shocked when 5 years later she meets Lake guy again.
Can the two help each other?
This is my first time reading this author and definitely won't be my last.
I loved the characters and I'm pleased to see there will be more books about the family
Mandy (I Read Indie) Anderson
This one started a little too slow for my taste and was very lack luster until around 70% in. Not a lot going on and I ended up taking several days to read it. But once we got to the last 30%, it got better and I was pleasantly surprised with the turn of events. I mean, I kind of figured how some things would come to play out, but it was still a good, strong finish. It even had me interested in the books that will follow for the Hayden men. I am definitely glad I read it after how it finished. I ...more
Rina | booksofthemuggleborn
My Rating: 4.5 stars!

**ARC was generously provided by the author in exchange for my honest review.**

I’m giddy with enthusiasm… why? Because I’m pretty sure this new-to-me author just caught my attention with The Patriot!

When I initially signed for an advanced copy I assumed (based on the blurb) that it’s a simple contemporary romance set out in the countryside. You know the usual… the cowboy and the city girl meet, fall in love and the rest is history. 🤷‍♀️

Whilst that short summary may be somewh
***Actual Rating: 3.5/5 Cowboy Prince Stars***

He holds out his hand again, and this time I know it's for me. My hand sinks into his, and when our skin touches the goose bumps covering me turn into tiny fires. But these flames? They feel so very good.
His eyes widen just the tiniest amount. His lower lip peels away from his upper, leaving a thin space between them. A flash of fear darts across his face.
"Wes," he grits, as if his name can barely make it past other words stuck in his
Jan 10, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always love a small town romance, and this man is full of all the things I love a small town community, the ranch family, and of course are romance. This one is a marriage of convenience, fake engagement, second chance romance to encompass its tropes. I love the romance was to hurting people coming together and through their romance the two of them helped each other on the path to healing.

There was only two things I feel were slightly missing from this particular book the first one was more o
Wendy Livingstone
This is the 1st in a new series and is Wes and Dakota’s journey. Wes is the eldest of the Hayden family and is a veteran who spend 12-years fighting for his country and understandably carries baggage and is struggling to settle back into life as a civilian. Dakota has her won demons, and she want to but 20-acres of Hayden land to develop it. These two are drawn to each other and spend a night together. They strike a deal which is one the land, and second to mutually benefit them both and which w ...more
Sharon Grow
Jan 11, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wes Hayden had one night with the woman of his dreams five years ago, but now she is here on his ranch. The oldest Hayden brother and heir to the Hayden Cattle Company, he is still recovering from his time in the military. In order to inherit the ranch, he must be married, but until he is able to deal with his PTSD, he will not inflict his issues on a wife. When Dakota Wright and her father show up on the ranch to purchase land, for development, he will ensure that they get the bid and hopefully ...more
Kristen Lewendon
A fake relationship and a second chance. A former military hero scarred by what he’s seen and a heroine trying to rebuild her life while carrying more guilt than is hers to own. It’s all wrapped up in the author’s signature deeply complex emotional style. The personalities jumped from the page. I couldn’t help but cheer for them through their challenges and triumphs. Wes and Dakota’s story introduces us to the whole Hayden family, and I think I’m a little bit in love with the whole lot of them a ...more
Jan 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After returning home a broken soldier, all Wes wants to do is take over his family's cattle ranch. The only problem is, is that he has to be married to inherit it and that's never going to happen!
Dakota's been trying to prove to everyone that she's no longer the wild, reckless, carefree girl that she was when she was younger. Unfortunately, she has a secret that's preventing her from doing so! Her only solution is to make a deal with Wes, the man who broke her heart years ago! A deal that will
Erin Figueiredo
Jan 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful story!

This is truly a beautiful story about a second chance at love. It’s emotionally intense and will have you swooning over Wes and Dakota. I was riveted to my seat and couldn’t put it down.

The characters are fantastic, believable and very relatable. It’s a slow burn story but so worth it in the end. I loved the build up to their passion filled love for one another.

This story gave me all the feels and I can’t wait to read more of this series.

Alexis Apodaca
Jan 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh Jennifer, you've done it again!

This beautiful story is weaved with romance, heart, drama, love, and complexity.

Wes and Dakota have amazing chemistry, and they are so perfect for each other. Their story is worth the read!

I loved the story between Wes and Dakota and the background setting, makes me want to buy a ranch!!

Fantastic story, a brilliant read, highly recommend reading this wonderful book!
Jan 10, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, I was a little worried with the slower start of this book, but I’m so very glad I stuck with it. The story really picked up about 40% in and I couldn’t put it down.

Dakota and Wes have such a great story. I loved the dynamic of all of the Hayden’s and can’t wait to see what happens with the rest of the family.
Jan 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, 2021, netgalley
4.5 Stars
A new series from Ms. Millikin! A great beginning to a small-town romance, featuring Wes and Dakota. She is from Colorado, and her family buys a piece of the Hayden Ranch to develop. The Hayden’s are royalty in Sierra Grande, yet it takes Dakota to show him the town. The layers to the characters are complex, and both Wes and Dakota have their own struggles. They both live with guilt and grief. As they spend time together as part of their arrangement, all can see how they feel. Will they
Erica Collins
Jan 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a great example of a classic cowboy romance. I fell in love with Wes and Dakota almost immediately. They are both flawed and recognize it. It didn’t take much coaxing to get each of them to progress and grow as characters. For that I was thankful. I have recently been reading a lot of high angst, high emotion series and this one unfolded so fluidly and took me on a smooth lazy ride down a river. This was exactly what I needed.

The writing was beautiful and I loved the take of the “one n
Jan 11, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was hooked from the first page!

“...the lurch of my stomach, The erratic beating of my heart, the goose bumps covering every inch of my flesh. Is this what magic feels like?”

This book has everything!
🔹Second Chance
🔹Small Town
🔹Soldier returned from service
🔹Family Ranch
🔹Slow Burn
🔹All the LONGING
🔹Marriage of Convenience
🔹Broken characters who need to learn to LOVE again! ♥️

Dakota & Wes are two hurting hearts that help each other take the next steps in healing.

However, nothing is
Jan 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
The Patriot is my first read by Jennifer Millikin and I highly enjoyed it. This book encompasses some of my favourite tropes, small-town romance, slow burn and fake relationship and it was easy to get swept away by the narrative. The story brings out so many feelings. The protagonists are brilliantly portrayed, have depth, and are relatable. The attraction between Wes and Dakota is intense. From the first time they meet, there's a powerful pull between them. It starts as a wild attraction but so ...more
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Jennifer Millikin is a two-time recipient of the Readers Favorite award. She writes contemporary fiction with elements of romance, emotion, and hard-learned lessons. Her characters are flawed and authentic, and some parts of her stories are more fact than fiction.

Other books in the series

Hayden Family (4 books)
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