Christmas Eve Cowboy – ARC review

Christmas Eve Cowboy
by Diana Palmer, Delores Fossen, and Kate Pearce
Release Date: September 27, 2022
Publisher: Zebra              
Number of Pages: 272
Source:  ARC from NetGalley
Contemporary Romance/Holidays
Ages 14 and up
CW: cheating, parental death, cancer
Headlined by the legendary storyteller Diana Palmer, this Christmas, the best kind of trouble comes in threes: Three bestselling authors. Three stories of holiday romance. And three rugged cowboys who are ready for love—whether they know it yet or not.

Snow is falling, and when it comes to love, so are these rugged, gorgeous cowboys, in a romantic holiday collection from three bestselling authors . . .

FBI agent Thomas Kincaid Jones has soured on love and Christmas, but Annalisa Davis could change all that. Except the lovely nurse isn’t looking to get involved with someone whose job requires a gun on his hip. And Tom has a case to solve that has nothing to do with love. Yet the spirit of the holidays just might spark a lifetime connection . . .

In Christmas Creek, Texas, folks go all out for the holidays, but Sheriff Calen Jameson is too busy commiserating about cheating exes with his best friend, Emmy Kendrick. Calen always thought their bond was too precious to risk, yet maybe it’s time to start making some changes . . . by firing up the heat with Emmy.

Lucy Smith thinks Santa has outdone himself when Caleb Erickson shows up at her B&B. In high school, Caleb was oblivious to her crush. But while they wait out a snowstorm, he’s discovering she may be the gift he never knew he wanted.

Once again, I am tempted by an ARC of a compilation with a favorite author and an author whose writing doesn’t align with my reading preferences. As I learned to let myself do, I skipped that author’s story in this book. It’s better for me and the author that I do it that way. But, as you may know, I’m a huge fan of Kate Pearce and could not pass this up. To follow are my reviews of the other two stories in this book.

Christmas Creek Cowboy
by Delores Fossen

This is a new-to-me author although her name is so familiar I was shocked I hadn’t read any of her books before. I don’t know if this short story is a kick-off of a new series for her, but it sure could be. This is a sweet friends-to-lovers tale. Calen and Emmy have been friends forever and were even engaged to people who were good friends themselves. A little too good of friends, which brings us to a year later when Emmy and Calen are the subjects of pitying looks and gossip on the anniversary of the day their engagements imploded.

This couple is very believable. I was rooting for them to give in to their desires. Of course, there was a lot of them not wanting to ruin their friendship, but chemistry eventually wins out. On top of them trying to figure out their relationship with each other, there are bags of old undelivered mail discovered in Emmy’s attic and some of the letters could have huge ramifications for the senders and/or recipients. Including Calen and Emmy.

If this is the start of a series, I would love to see how these letters end up affecting the other townspeople. I’m a huge fan of the Christmas season, so a whole town named after things to do with the holiday seems like fun to me. The only thing I wasn’t crazy about was the intimate scenes. It almost seemed as though the author was not comfortable writing them? Seems odd since she has such a vast library of published work. But since I haven’t read her other books I don’t know if she usually does behind closed doors stories. I ended up thinking this story would have been better off leaving those scenes off the page.

~ 4 stars
Ages 13 and up
CW: cheating, death of parents

Coming Home for Christmas
by Kate Pearce

How can you go wrong with this story? Snowed in, brother’s best friend, unrequited lifelong crush, grumpy/sunshine. This story was just what I want in a Christmas romance.

Caleb’s truck breaks down just as he rolls into town, but before he can make it to his father’s ranch. Nobody is around as they are smack dab in the middle of a blizzard so he makes his way over to the local B&B, the establishment his best friend’s grandmother owned. Only Caleb is not aware that his best friend’s little sister Lucy now runs the place. Poor Lucy, the year has been full of bad weather leading to canceled bookings. Her first year as the proprietor of her grandmother’s beloved B&B and she is afraid she’s not going to be able to keep the doors open much longer if her luck doesn’t change.

Lucy and Caleb are so great together, at least once Caleb thaws out. Lucy is always wanting to help others and makes a point to show a brave face to the world when it comes to her own troubles. Caleb can see through that tough exterior and makes sure to show Lucy that she is worth the time and effort that so many seem to not give her. At the same time, Lucy helps Caleb to navigate the tough relationship he has with his father so both Caleb and his father can learn to show the love and respect they have for one another.

This is a sweet holiday romance with some fire and butterflies thrown into the mix. The perfect short story for the upcoming season.

~5 stars
Ages 14 and up
CW: death of parent

4.5 stars

**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**

About Cheri

I'm the mom of two boys and wife to my high school sweetheart. Our oldest, Josh, is living at home while working and paying off student loans. Our youngest, Griffin recently left his active duty Army job and is now National Guard here at home. He moved back to Michigan with his wife Kirsten and our beautiful granddaughter Hazel. I work part time and try to fit as much reading into my life as possible.
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2 Responses to Christmas Eve Cowboy – ARC review

  1. Louise H says:

    I’m so glad you not only enjoyed the book by Kate but that you also enjoyed the other story in the anthology – I’d call that a win.

    • Cheri says:

      Very true. I’m still not good at DNF, so not reading one of the three stories is always hard for me. Even when I already know it’s not worth my time. I’m getting better, but still not great.

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