Friday, January 1, 2010

One Cowboy, One Christmas

Title: One Cowboy, One
Christmas
Author: Kathleen Eagle
Genre: Contemporary
Western romance
My rating (10 max) : 8.5


I stumbled on Kathleen Eagle quite by accident while hunting for books about Christmas romances in the Kindle store. This book had received five stars from the reviewers, so I gave it a try.

As is my usual mistake, this is the second of two books about the Beaudry clan. The first is In Care of Sam Beaudry. Of course, I have not read that book, but I will do so immediately.

One Cowboy, One Christmas takes place on the Double D Ranch, owned and run by the two Drexler sisters. Their ranch is a sanctuary for wild horses that would otherwise be slaughtered. Their only helper, as the book begins, is Hoolie, an elderly cowboy who has worked the ranch since their dad bought it.

The story starts shortly before Christmas during a particularly frigid South Dakota winter. A bull riding rodeo cowboy named Zach Beaudry is driving to catch up with the next venue on the rodeo circuit when his pickup dies. He walks the long distance to the closest residence, the Double D, where, suffering from hypothermia, he collapses on the ranch's porch. Ann and her older sister, Sally, who suffers from MS, take the unconscious cowboy in and nurse him back to health. Once recovered, Zach begins working for the Double D as a way to pay Hoolie back for fixing and gassing up his truck.

When Ann first sees the unconscious Zach, she is shocked, remembering him from a romantic encounter they had eight years before. Zach senses something familiar about Ann, but he doesn't recall their interlude. Ann eventually reminds Zach about their meeting when she was a college student and he was at the height of his career.

As the relationship between Zach and Ann develops, Ann, who is also a high school teacher, takes on Kevin, a Lakota fourteen-year-old trouble-maker who was ordered by juvenile court to do community service work at the Drexler ranch.
Hoolie takes Zach under his wing, trying to train him
to become a true cowboy, while Zach takes Kevin under his wing, trying to teach him the cowboy code.

The list of characters is relatively short. The heroine is an everyday kind of woman, not the ├╝ber perfect type, but just above average. The hero is a hunky cowboy in search of his identity outside the rodeo circuit.

The secondary characters are flawed, but good-hearted people who care deeply for the ranch and its occupants, both two- and four-legged varieties, and enrich the story with their insights and repartee.

The dialogue is crisp, spirited and realistic. The relationships between all the characters build at an honest pace and in realistic ways.
There is no great suspense, no intense drama in the book. It has the reader rooting for a happily ever after ending for all the folks at the Double D.

A completely enjoyable book that will make you laugh, cry, and just plain feel good, I highly recommend One Cowboy, One Christmas.



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