The series focuses on the women of Bluebonnet Farms – a foster home begun and continued by “Aunt Blu” Johnson. Softhearted features Heather Lindsay, the middle “sister” of Aunt Blu’s three original foster girls and continues from a point a little while after the story told in book one, Hardheaded. (Softhearted can be read as a standalone novel though I think readers will enjoy it more after having read Hardheaded.)Of the three original girls, Heather is “The Soft One” with a heart as big as Texas and tender to boot. She was orphaned as a young teen when both parents were killed in a barn fire. Years later, this tragedy still looms large in her life and colors the choices she makes. Thrice disappointed in love, she finds herself attracted to what she fears is another bad choice – Waylon Peterson, the new ranch manager working for her foster sister, Jill and, soon-to-be-husband, Cal.
With the wedding only weeks away, the Bluebonnet women (Jill, Trenton, and Heather) are working hard on transforming Cal’s ranch house and grounds into the perfect setting for the upcoming nuptials. Adding to the expected pressure that a wedding brings is the fact that these activities are all being filmed as part of Jill and Cal’s new reality TV show, Building a Life. Heather and Waylon are like catnip to each other in this emotionally charged atmosphere. But both have some soul-searching to do before they can find their happily-ever-after.Softhearted is a great next step in the Deep in the Heart series with a full-bodied story for foster sister, Heather, and some intriguing foundation laid regarding the future for foster sister number three, Trenton, and even Aunt Blu. The hero is a romantic and a single dad with a charming young daughter. I loved the setting in the Texas Hill Country and the mention of San Marcos. Horses played a featured role in this story which I also enjoyed. This book is recommended for contemporary romance readers.