After fleeing her beloved small town five years ago, Julia Bailey is back to spend Christmas with her family. Returning is hard, but keeping the devastating secret about her late husband is even harder. Her place isn’t in Big Sky Country any longer…but the more time she spends with the irresistible Sheriff who saved her once before, and his adorable little daughter, the more Julia starts wishing she could let go of the past and start a new life.
Single dad and county Sheriff Chase Donovan had been secretly in love with his best friend’s wife for years. But after her traumatic loss he knew Julia needed to get away from Shadow Creek, even though helping her leave was the last thing he wanted to do. Now she’s home and he doesn’t intend to lose her a second time. Chase is going to prove to Julia just how good they can be together this Christmas…and forever.
4 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.
Well that started off with some crying! Or maybe, more like bawling. 😉 It was an emotional prologue, that’s for sure. And there was definitely a sorrowful thread throughout the story, but there was also lots of great romance and laughs.
I was drawn to both of our MCs right from the beginning. My heart broke for Chase knowing he had this unrequited love, and seeing him want desperately to make a try for a romance with Julia. He was just so sweet and caring and GOOD. Definitely book boyfriend material. I just wanted to hug him. And I kind of loved how he knew when to step things up and call Julia out on what he wanted for them near the end. My only problem with Chase was with his past…I loved that he had this past, but I didn’t understand it. If he left his parents, where did he go? I got the impression this happened in high school, so how did he meet Michael, Jack and Julia? How did they not know of this past? It kind of felt like maybe it was added in afterwards, but the author didn’t think it all through and provide continuity.
Julia was pretty fabulous too, with a good mix of sass and sweetness. Unfortunately her indecisiveness started to wear on me. She was so back and forth, and I didn’t really get to see the growth I was hoping for with her. It was like I thought she was deciding things were worth it, and then she would revert to fear. And quite frankly, I don’t understand what was so different at the end…*shrugs* So that kind of sucked. Almost had me thinking 3.5 instead of 4, but I really did enjoy the sweet romance otherwise so whatever…I’ll do what I want. 🙂
I’m not always huge on kids in stories, and occasionally I couldn’t help but feel a bit disbelieving of the age of Maggie, but despite that she was pretty adorable and incorrigible all at the same time…even if she didn’t seem 7 most of the time. 😛
The other aspect that makes me convinced of a full 4 stars is the secondary characters. I really loved the in-laws, from Edward and Cassy to Gwen. And I enjoyed seeing glimpses of future stories in this series — maybe Jack and Lily? Gwen? I will probably be keeping my eyes peeled for them, I enjoyed this author’s writing style and am intrigued by the different personalities.
So all in all this was a great book to finish off my Holiday Read-a-Thon. It had some good Christmas magic, some heart, some laughs, and delicious romance.