A CHRISTMAS AS BIG AS TEXAS!
His entire town was counting on Chase Langtry to win the championship title. Instead, the injured bull rider is slinking back to the family ranch. But how can he stay out of the spotlight with relentless reporter Nola West following him home from Vegas? His humiliating loss just can't be her next story!
Nola's attraction to the youngest son of Ramblewood's First Family is shaking her hard-won confidence. And it looks like the only scoop she'll get is covering the Mistletoe Rodeo charity event. She's never been a big fan of the holiday. Until Chase vows to show her a Christmas she'll never forget…
Very good book about two people who need to let go of their pasts in order to find the future they want. Chase had gone to the rodeo finals hoping to win the championship for his family and his town. Instead, on the second day, he got injured and was unable to continue. He's upset at the loss, feeling that he's let everyone down. In that mood, the last person he wants to see is reporter Nola West.
Nola and her cameraman, George, were assigned to get the story behind Chase's failure. Her boss wants something sensational, something that will show him she deserves the co-anchor spot that is up for grabs. Nola is determined to get the story, but Chase isn't cooperating. They finally strike a deal where Chase will talk to Nola if she spends part of the camera time on the charity rodeo his family is sponsoring.
I liked Nola. She comes across at first as somewhat ruthless in her pursuit of Chase. But we soon learn that there is more to her than that. Nola is a military brat whose family life wasn't all that great. After rebelling as a teen and getting into trouble, she joined the army herself, becoming a combat journalist. Her family left her somewhat jaded when it came to family life, and seeing the Langtry's family is an eye opening experience. The most amazing part is the attraction she feels for Chase.
Chase has some family issues of his own. As the youngest, he is the last one in the family to be competing in rodeo events. His competitions have taken him away from the ranch and riding school that they run, and he feels guilty about not pulling his weight. Winning a championship would have alleviated that somewhat. His injury is enough that he feels it's time to stop competing and look to his future. One of the things he wants is a wife and family of his own. He's surprised by the attraction he feels for Nola, but he's willing to see where it goes.
I loved seeing the two of them together. Chase is really a pretty sweet guy, and he has a wonderful time showing Nola what a small town Christmas is like. He also finds that she fits in with his family very well. I loved seeing how Nola's outlook changed the more time she spent with him. I especially liked seeing how she took to the town and used her reporter skills to help raise awareness for the charity. Chase really gets into the relationship growing between him and Nola, and sees a great future before them. But Nola has a secret that could derail that future.
I hurt for Nola and the secret she was keeping from Chase. The more she listened to him and his dreams, the more certain she was that she could never have that future with him. When she finally got the courage to tell him, he did not react well. I really wanted to grab him and shake him, because the things he said were so hurtful to her. I was glad to see that some of the members of his family were only too happy to point out his mistakes, and that he finally realized what was most important.
There was also a bit of a mystery going on that involved a land purchase the Langtry's father had made, and the allegations that someone is making about that purchase. Nola uses her reporter contacts to do some research into it, but Chase has trouble trusting that she won't use the info for a story. When a crisis forces her to use an interview with Chase's mom to publicize the allegations, Chase believes they've been betrayed. I loved seeing how Nola continues to try to help, in spite of the horrible things that Chase had accused her of. The conclusion was great, with Nola coming through for the family and Chase realizing just how wrong he was.