Series: Cowboys of Cold Creek
Published by Harlequin on November 22, 2016
Genres: Christmas, Western Romance
Source: the publisher
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Also in this series: A Cold Creek Christmas Surprise, The Christmas Ranch, A Cold Creek Christmas Story, The Rancher's Christmas Song
Also by this author: A Cold Creek Christmas Surprise, Snow Angel Cove, The Christmas Ranch, Redemption Bay, Evergreen Springs, A Cold Creek Christmas Story, Riverbend Road, Snowfall on Haven Point, Serenity Harbor, Sugar Pine Trail, The Rancher's Christmas Song, The Cottages on Silver Beach
With two kids and an active life, widow Faith Dustin only wants peace and quiet for Christmas. But her snowy Pine Gulch ranch is nothing but chaotic. All that keeps Faith going is her helpful neighbor, cowboy Chase Brannon. He's always been "good ol' Chase," her faithful friend. Until he kisses her under the mistletoe…
Years ago Chase blew his chance with the woman he's loved since childhood. Now he's determined to step out of the friend zone…and into the role of husband. But the scared and stubborn Faith won't let herself fall. With Christmas just days away, Chase will need all the magic of the season—and the help of her two matchmaking children—to unwrap a second chance at love.
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.
The Holiday Gift is the third book in the Christmas Ranch mini-series about three sisters and their ranch’s holiday attraction. It’s a sweet and comforting romance with a winter/holiday vibe. Oldest sister Faith, widowed two or three years earlier, gets her second chance at love from an unexpected source: her best friend and main support, Chase. Faith’s fear of change and reluctance to risk her heart again resonated with me, particularly given the nightmare she and her sisters survived when they were young, and the loss of their parents. Chase has loved Faith since they were teens, and he’s tired of waiting. He’s a stand-up guy, always ready to help a friend or neighbor in need, supportive and caring; if I weren’t already taken, I’d be dreaming of someone like him. (And he’s gorgeous, of course. Why are the cowboy heroes always drop-dead handsome?) Their children (Chase’s girl, Faith’s girl and boy) Faith’s aunt Mary, and her two sisters and their husbands round out the cast. Thayne also introduces a new resident to Pine Gulch, Ella, whom I suspect will star in a future book in the Cowboys of Cold Creek series.
The Holiday Gift is a quick read, almost more of a long novelette than a novel, and can be read as a standalone — though I recommend the previous books because they are also delightful. While I certainly enjoyed this one, it didn’t pull me in quite as much as the previous two did — but that could simply be due to outside stresses rather than the book. Despite the Christmas-time setting, it feels a smidgen less festive than the other two books, mostly because Faith is not as involved in the Christmas Ranch attraction or the Sparkle books as her sisters are; instead, she runs the year-round ranch operations. But it’s still decidedly a holiday book, with plenty of snow, a Christmas concert, and a charming resolution of the lovers’ conflict on Christmas Eve. (No, that’s not a spoiler. Did you honestly think they wouldn’t get together eventually?) If you’re in the mood for a sweet Christmas romance, The Holiday Gift definitely belongs in your stocking this year.
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The Christmas Ranch trilogy:
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