Merry Christmas Cowboy
by Maisey Yates
Release Date: October 25, 2022
Publisher: HQN books
Book #2 in the Four Corners Ranch series
Number of Pages: 352
Source: ARC from NetGalley
Ages 15 and up
CW: unexpected pregnancy,
mention of drowning
As the snow falls on Four Corners Ranch, all this untamed cowboy wants for Christmas is the family he’s never had…
Cowboy Wolf Garrett is delighted his brother is happily married—really, he is. But time can never heal Wolf’s own wounds, so being surrounded by such marital joy is a bit…much. A trip to his extended family’s ranch in Copper Ridge seems the ideal change of scenery. Until he meets local innkeeper Violet Donnelly and realizes he’s exchanged one form of torture for another—trying, and spectacularly failing, to resist their instant, wildly hot chemistry.
Violet knew Wolf was trouble the moment he walked into her inn. But it’s a whole new level of trouble when she discovers that their secret nights have left her pregnant! Especially when she has six feet of gorgeous, furious cowboy demanding that she come home with him for the holidays and marry him. Wolf has lost more than she could ever imagine, but Violet believes in the power of love to heal, and she’ll do anything to give their future family a chance. Wolf has already given her so many firsts—dare she hope he’s about to become her first Christmas miracle too?
Wolf and Violet are both sympathetic characters and often gave me butterflies when on the page together, but I wanted more. This story still kept me reading, but once again I felt as though this author is putting me in the head of the individual characters too much. While there is a sense of realism in how the character’s internal dialogues play out, I don’t want or need every detail. Or at least not more than once or twice.
My rating of this story may come as a surprise. But like I said, it kept me engaged. I did care about how Violet and Wolf would work things out. I was rooting for them. I wasn’t crazy about this family having yet another unexpected pregnancy, but that’s a whole other issue with current books and how they have to (in my opinion) adjust to the times. Yet the abandonment issues both characters have to deal with were handled well. Especially with Violet. She grew up loved and cherished by her family that stuck around while Wolf didn’t have that same unconditional love. It was interesting to see how they both struggled with their self-worth even though their circumstances were different in the end.
As much as the concept of the Four Corners Ranch is interesting, in some ways I feel as though it’s isolating the characters a bit too much at times. There are not a lot of interactions so we can get to know the other people in the cooperative type of community. One of the things that bring richness to small-town romance is the quirky shop owners or nosy senior citizens. Sometimes it works to have the characters limit those interactions, but when they aren’t really interacting with one another either it gets a bit stale.
So far, it seems to me as if the novellas in this series are coming out way ahead of the actual full-length books. I’d love to see more interaction among the characters and less introspection in future stories. I’d rather have a lower page count full of content (such as with the novellas, come to think of it) than these longer books that seem as though there is a lot of unnecessary filler.
**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**
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