Snowbound In Montana - Novella
Series: Carrigans of Circle C (Book 4)
A broken heart and the need to find peace compel Eliza Bramble to sign up for a Nordic ski holiday at Baker Creek Lodge, Montana. When a blizzard traps Eliza in the remote mountain hideaway, along with rugged ski guide, Marshall McKenzie, and a group of discontented skiers, Christmas looks like a write-off. But Marshall has a special touch with people...and with Eliza in particular. Soon she realizes Marshall isn't just fixing Christmas--but her broken heart, too.
Very good story. Eliza runs a B&B in Marietta, Montana. When she finds out an old boyfriend is coming to stay over the holidays she doesn't want to deal with him, so she signs up for a ski holiday that will take her away. She's the only single person on the trip other than the guide, Marshall. Things are going well until a blizzard cuts them all off at the lodge.
I liked Eliza. She's a really nice person at heart. She's still recovering from the end of her relationship with John, who she found cheating on her. When she hears about his visit, she's afraid that she would be tempted to go back to him, which is why she goes away. When she meets Marshall, the guide, she notices how nice he is, but that's about all at the start. She pays more attention to him once the trip has begun. The blizzard that traps the group increases the tensions that everyone is under. I really liked the way that Eliza steps in to help the owners of the lodge take care of everyone. As Marshall does the same, it throws the two of them together.
Marshall is a wonderful guy. He is an excellent ski guide and wonderful with people. After an accident he had as a champion skier that left him unable to continue competing, he became a ski guide. He also has some things in his past that have left him with some insecurities. He is awkward around women that he likes, and he is interested in Eliza from the moment they met. Surprisingly to him, he doesn't have much trouble talking to her.
I really loved seeing the relationship develop between Eliza and Marshall. They had so much in common that they found it easy to talk to each other. But Eliza still believed that John was the only man she'd ever love, so she would ignore anytime that Marshall indicated his interest in her. And Marshall didn't push too hard because he didn't really believe she could be interested in him. It wasn't until she got back and saw John again that she realized the truth about her feelings for both men. I loved what she said to him. And later, I loved seeing Marshall have the courage to tell her how he felt. I really enjoyed the ending and the visit to the Carrigan ranch.
I also loved the theme of the story, as it took a group of disparate and rather spoiled people, and through some mild hardship brought them closer to the Christmas spirit. I especially enjoyed the little boy, Kevin, and his enthusiasm.
A Cowgirl's Christmas - Novel
Series: Carrigans of Circle C (Book 5)
For years Callan Carrigan has been her father's right hand man, so when her dad's will names city slicker Court McAlister the new owner of The Circle C Ranch, Callan feels betrayed on every level. Then she and her sisters find their mother's diaries, hidden from them by their father since their mother's accidental death 18 years ago, and the shocking revelations explain a lot. When Court offers her a deal--if she agrees to be foreman at the Circle C for one year, he'll deed fifty percent of the ranch back to her and her sisters--it seems too sweet at first. Until Callan realizes Court has his eyes on something she protects even more than her family's land--her heart.
Very good finale to the Carrigan story. Callan is the youngest of the four Carrigan girls, and the one who was most tied to the ranch and their father. She worked very hard to win her father's approval, but never seemed to fully achieve it. When her father dies of a heart attack, his will comes as a total surprise and a betrayal of the worst sort. While he left his money to his daughters, he left the ranch property to his nephew instead. Then family secrets come to light, and the reasons are made clear, if not any more acceptable.
Court had always enjoyed visits from his uncle and stories about the ranch. He may have been raised by an accountant in the city, and become an accountant himself, but something in him was always drawn to the idea of ranching. He was happy about inheriting the ranch until he discovered how it had come about. His guilt makes him offer quite a deal to Callan - work with him for a year and he'll give her half the ranch back.
Callan's hurt and feelings of betrayal go deep. She is overcome with grief for her father, but also an immense anger for what he did. With him gone, Court is the one who reaps the brunt of her feelings. She can't bring herself to accept his offer. Something else that is eating at her is the attraction she feels for him, something that she considers wrong on many levels.
It was interesting to see the relationship build between Callan and Court. He was much more open to the idea of it than she was, but also knew that it would be hard to convince her. I loved seeing his patience and his efforts to be there for her as she worked through her grief. Callan fought hard against the idea of being attracted to Court, but she couldn't deny it was happening. Her stubbornness kept her from admitting it to him. I loved Court's go big moment and what he had decided to do. It was that which made Callan finally realize what she would be giving up. The epilogue was a nice wrap up.
The Gift - Short Story
Series: Bandit Creek
What would you do if a child in need showed up at your door on Christmas Eve? Amy Gold, Bandit Creek's kindergarten teacher, is not the sort of person to flout the law. Especially since she's dating the local deputy, Gray Cassidy. But an unexpected Christmas gift is about to change everything--not just Amy's plans for a traditional Christmas, but her entire future, and Gray's as well.
Sweet Christmas story. Amy was putting up her Christmas decorations when a four year old girl showed up on her doorstep. Seeing the condition of the girl, filthy and battered and bruised, she knows she should call the authorities. But she can't stand the idea of the child being taken away on Christmas Eve and is determined to keep the child with her, even against the advice of her boyfriend and deputy, Gray.
Amy loves children and has always dreamed of having a family of her own. There are things in her past that make her believe it is an impossible dream, so she has lavished her love on her students. Her relationship with Gray is becoming more serious, but she feels that she must end it soon for his own good, even though it will break her heart to do it. The little girl's appearance on Christmas Eve is like a dream come true, even if it's just for a short time.
Gray has been sweet on Amy since her first moved to Bandit Creek. Spending time with her and getting to know her shows him that she's exactly the kind of woman he wants. The events of Christmas Eve suddenly have him wondering if they knew each other at all. He's hurt by the lack of trust she seemed to show in him.
I loved seeing everything they did to find out who the little girl was and how to protect her. I especially liked how it actually brought Amy and Gray closer together, once Amy was able to open up to him about her past. I loved how everything worked out for all of them.
I'd like to see a story involving the sheriff's daughter. She was a very interesting character.
*copy received in exchange for honest review
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