The Patriot by Jennifer Millikin

Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn



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 If it weren’t for one outdated rule, I’d be the owner of the Hayden Cattle Company and my aging father could retire.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 see a way around the decree keeping me from getting what I want.

And, as luck would have it, Dakota has a big problem of her own. We strike two deals: one for the land, and a second that’ll make both our problems a distant memory.

It isn’t too long before I realize I’m in over my head. I’ve convinced myself the ends should justify the means, but everything begins to fall apart when my birthright is no longer all that I’m after.

I never thought there’d be anything I could love more than my ranch and my country.
I was wrong.

Turns out, I want it all.
Including her.




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 somewhat true, it doesn’t even skim the surface. This story offered so much more than what I had bargained for. The world-building alongside the character development that organically grew throughout is what made this book a phenomenal read in my books. The picture Millikin paints is so vivid and in-depth that I couldn’t help but find myself immensely invested in both Wes and Dakota’s lives.

When they’re first introduced, it seems like they don’t have a care in the world. An initial attraction pulls them towards each other and they have one magical night.

Fast forward to the present day, and that carefree night together seems like a million lightyears away. That is until they unexpectedly see each other again and old feelings and memories come flooding back.

I was hooked from the moment they made contact. Lol. I can’t put into words how much Millikin’s writing was all-consuming, addictive, and realistic. It’s a work of fiction that readers can easily connect with because the troubles that both Wes and Dakota struggle with are relatable and effects so much of our population.

Despite their personal issues, I love that they find solace in one other. They may not necessarily be willing to help themselves per se, but it doesn’t stop them from wanting or even trying to help lift some of the burden the other has on their shoulders. You cannot dislike either one of these protagonists. They’re going through hardships, they’re stubborn, secretive, and even closed off at times (especially Wes), but it’s evident that their good people and their hearts are in the right place.

Such a wholesome, heartwarming love story — and one that’s ingrained with strong family bonds and values. In this day and age (and maybe it’s also a generational thing), I find it almost a dying breed to see people who have still have strong morals and beliefs that have been passed on and taught from their parents and grandparents.

Wes is a pure gentleman. Almost an old soul (but maybe it’s due to the fact that he’s already lived such a life in his thirty-plus years). There’s no bullshitting with him. He’s determined, loyal, protective, and what I found most appealing despite his struggles, is he’s still the type of guy who know will have your back.

Dakota is a lighter personality. She’s dealing with her own issues but for the most part, she’s friendly and understanding, and full of potential she doesn’t know she has. She can be bubbly (but not in the ditzy sort of way), and her internal dialogue is a hoot! 🤭

They work so well together. A balance I found so endearing. If you enjoy reading slow burn romances and/or a fake relationships trope, then I highly recommend you give this book a go. I can tell you now, Millikin’s Hayden Family series is definitely one I’m looking forward to continuing.

There are secondary characters in here that are just as intriguing. The Hayden family are seen as enigmatic royalties in their town. Each sibling having strong personalities of their own. As much as I enjoyed Wes and Dakota’s growing relationship, I don’t think it would’ve been the same feels without either one of their families as supporting characters in their journey (not to mention their banter would surely be missed). 😜

This is my first book of Millikin’s so I don’t have any of her previous books to compare it with, but I found her writing style effortless to follow. It’s well-paced storytelling that constantly kept me engaged. There’s a nice break of light in between the darkness so it doesn’t have that overall heavy emotional feeling.

Wes struggles with mental and emotional scarring that I thought was handled with a lot of care and sensitivity. His story brought awareness to these issues and the struggles men and women can go through when they’ve been in similar situations.

Both Wes and Dakota internally struggle with guilt that they’ve been carrying around with them, and through their journey they gradually share and open themselves to finding happiness again. Aw sigh. It’s a truly heartwarming story of love and healing, with strong family ties and friendships. I couldn’t put it down, and finishing it only made me eager to read the next books in the series.

  • Small Town Setting: ✔
  • Cowboys: ✔
  • Slow Burn Romance: ✔
  • Fake Relationship: ✔

It’s books like this one that make me want to read more contemporary romances. Loved it, and I would happily recommend it to any romance reader looking for a good ol’ fashion happily ever after!

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

Thank you Jennifer Millikin and The Next Step PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy!

🔔 Interested in reading The Patriot? Grab your copy here: ​Universal Link


Happy reading, guys! Hope you’re all well. Catch you in my next one! Xo


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