THE CHRISTMAS COWBOY HERO – Donna Grant
Heart of Texas Series, Book 1
St. Martin's Paperbacks
Clearview Texas, three weeks before Christmas
Clayton East's mother calls him home from South Africa where he took a job guarding animals after retiring from the Navy SEALS. His father has had a near stroke and the family ranch, a large, generations old—and usually prosperous—holding seriously in debt. Besides that, someone has stolen their prize bull and close to 100 cows soon to bear calves . . . together worth $275,000.
Shortly after Abby Harper's father died, her mother took off with one of her lovers. Abby, at 18, was left as legal guardian to her young brothers, Brice (now 16) and Caleb (14). They haven't much; it isn't easy to make ends meet. Abby works hard at a Certified Public Accountant firm while trying to get her own CPA license. Brice recently fell in with a bad group of boys and has been arrested for cattle rustling. He's the only one caught and refuses to talk.
When Abby goes to the jail, she meets Clayton East, the son and heir of the East Ranch. There is no way that Abby will ever be able to pay for the lost cattle, and Brice seems like an otherwise nice boy. Clayton makes him a deal. Brice will work for nothing at the ranch while Clayton hopes he will sometime help find the bull and herd.
While having a captivating plot, THE CHRISTMAS COWBOY HERO is labeled a romance. So where is the love story? Clayton and Abby are drawn to each other, but his time as a SEAL has changed Clayton; he's not the man he was when he left home. Abby also has issues; she fears abandonment and has never believed herself capable of holding onto a relationship. She's devoted herself entirely to her brothers. See how they turn out.
I have to mention Clayton's mother as a major player in the drama; she is both wise and caring—and she loves to feed people.
Treat yourselves to this highly enjoyable tale and join me in hoping more from this new series.