Monday, November 5, 2018

Review - A True Cowboy Christmas by Caitlyn Crews

A True Cowboy Christmas
by Caitlin Crews
Series: Cold River Ranch, #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 30, 2018

Gray Everett has a heart of gold but that doesn’t mean he believes in the magic of Christmas. He’s got plenty else to worry about this holiday season, what with keeping his cattle ranch in the family and out of the hands of hungry real-estate investors looking to make a down-and-dirty deal. That, plus being a parent to his young and motherless daughter, equals a man who will not rest until he achieves his mission. Now, all Gray needs is the help of his lifelong neighbor. . .who happens to have grown into a lovely, spirited woman.

For Abby Douglas, the chance to join forces with Gray is nothing less than a Christmas miracle. Much as the down-to-earth farmer’s daughter has tried to deny it, Abby’s been in love with stern, smoking-hot Gray her whole life. So when Gray proposes a marriage of convenience as a way to combine land—and work together toward a common cause—Abby can’t refuse. But how can she convince Gray that sometimes life offers a man a second chance for a reason. . .and that their growing trust and mutual passion may be leading to true and lasting love?

A wonderful read with emotionally scarred characters that somehow find their happy ever after through a marriage of convenience.

I really loved the beginning of this book, and even though I felt sad for both Gray and Abby at their circumstances, their exchanges did have me laughing. Gray has determined he needs to find a “practical woman” to give his daughter the kind of family she deserves and maybe even help him fill his house with more children, and his practicality has him turning his sites to his neighbor Abby. He thinks he’s come up with a sure thing of a plan, he’ll just ask Abby to marry him – she’s practical, she’ll get it, no problem…
“Your father’s funeral was last week,” Abby said as gently as she could, because Amos’s death had obviously hit him harder than anyone had imagined. “It’s possible you’re having a reaction to that.”

That curve in the corner of his mouth deepened, and even though this was all crazy, it still seemed to sizzle straight through her. “You think I’m breaking out in spontaneous marriage proposals? Is that a thing?”
The truth is that both Gray and Abby carry some deep emotional wounds that have shaped their lives and brought them to this moment – a moment that has the potential to begin the healing process for not just the two of them, but for Gray’s daughter Becca as well. As the story unfolds and more of the past is brought to light as well as the fact that Abby has been in love with Gray since she was younger, it’s clear that both Abby and Gray need to come to terms with their issues before they can find true happiness with each other. Between Abby’s mother and Gray’s father, it wasn’t hard to understand the why’s, and it was heartbreaking at times to see the damage that was caused by the abuse that was doled out by these two characters. And even when things were going good, the undercurrent of those issues was always present.

I loved that Abby wasn’t a pushover; she really seemed to balance her compassion and willingness to help with enough backbone to not get pushed around. She was not afraid to call Gray out when she didn’t agree with him, but she also didn’t hold a grudge and let that rule her day. She truly was exactly what Gray was looking for in a wife when it came to all the practical things and, even better, their chemistry helped them form a bond that set the foundation for something more than practical.

There was quite a bit of angst as Gray deals with his issues, especially once Abby opens her heart to Gray and lets him know how she feels. Normally I’m not a big fan of all the angst but knowing how deep these scars were and how Gray not only needed to reconcile his past with his father but also his relationship with his brothers, I didn’t mind all the conflict. And having Abby be there for Becca as all this unfolded was wonderful.

This is my first book by Caitlin Crews and I really enjoyed the emotional story she crafted. It was easy to get lost in Gray and Abby’s story and feel exactly what they were going through. I look forward to reading more from her and can’t wait to see what stories unfold for Gray’s brothers.

I received an advance reader copy from the publisher via NetGalley which I voluntarily reviewed.

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