A Cowboy's Christmas Promise
Whisper Creek, #2
Genre: Contemporary Western Romance
Date of Publication: November 18th 2014
Number of pages: 293
Cover Artist: Carolyn Teagle
In a captivating novel spiced with holiday magic—perfect for fans of Rachel Gibson, Susan Mallery, and Molly O’Keefe—a rugged Montana man mends a Northeast girl’s jaded heart.Excerpt:
Boston veterinarian Hayley Scampini tends the city’s pampered pets but dreams of the rural life of a country vet. She’s single and determined to stay that way, convinced that love isn’t permanent enough to trust. Then a vacation to the Whisper Creek dude ranch introduces her to Daniel McKee, a sexy single dad who runs the kind of veterinary practice she aspires to—and rattles her conviction to keep men at a distance.
Managing a thriving practice, coping with the loss of his wife, and fighting a custody battle with his in-laws over his twin daughters, Daniel couldn’t be more overwhelmed. Hayley is a godsend, accompanying him in the field and winning over his girls. It doesn’t take Daniel long to realize he’s falling for this woman, hard and fast. So before Hayley returns to Boston, he extracts a promise: that she will return to Whisper Creek for Christmas. It’s the perfect time and place to show Hayley that the promise of a beautiful life together is something she can believe in.
“Oh, holy hotness.” Hayley flopped across her bed, looking up at the planked ceiling. The cabin was just as adorable as last year, with a big, stone fireplace and two couches in the living room; a tiny, efficient kitchenette; and three bedrooms furnished with queen beds, down comforters, and colorful patchwork quilts. The bathroom alone was as big as half of her Boston apartment, and she was going to have to make a trip into town for a bottle of bubble bath so she could properly enjoy the claw-foot tub.
The afternoon sun danced through the lacy curtains and wide windows, sending fingers of light bouncing against the walls and ceiling. Her blood pressure was continuing its slow slide toward total relaxation, and she hadn’t even been at Whisper Creek for two hours yet.
She sat up, glaring playfully at Kyla, who was fussing around with the tiny unicorn and doll Hayley had set on the bureau. “I can’t believe you said he was one of the sweetest guys you know!”
Kyla laughed. “He is!”
“You even said he had a great personality!”
“He does! What’s with the accusatory tone?”
“Those are things you say about someone who doesn’t actually have any redeeming physical qualities. And Daniel”—Hayley flopped back down—“has definitely got redeeming physical qualities.” She sat back up. “Why have you never mentioned him before now?”
Kyla shrugged. “I don’t know. Maybe I didn’t think he was your type when I first met him? And, you know, there is that whole you’re-in-Boston-he’s-in-Montana thing.”
“I suppose.” Hayley lay back down, sighing. “So tell me about him. He’s ridiculously gorgeous, obviously gainfully employed, and, apparently, sweet. Please tell me he’s not an ex-convict, a serial killer, or in witness protection.”
Kyla laughed. “None of the above.”
“And he’s not married? I find it hard to believe, given, you know—” She sighed dreamily. “Have you ever noticed his eyes?”
“Everyone notices his eyes. They’re crazy gorgeous.” Kyla paused just long enough to have Hayley tipping her head up from the bed. “There’s one thing you should know, though.”
“Dammit. I knew he was too good to be true.”
“No, he’s not. But he is widowed.”
“At his age? Oh, my God.” Hayley’s mind raced through the possibilities. “What happened?”
“Cancer. Two years ago.”
“That’s terrible.” She held her stomach, feeling a strangely intense pain when she thought about him losing his wife at such a young age. She stared at the ceiling for a long moment, trying to imagine what it would be like to lose a spouse.
But who was she kidding? She couldn’t imagine ever having one, let alone losing one.
“So,” Kyla said, adjusting the vase on the bureau, “I just thought you should know that. But he’s one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met, and you’re one of my two favorite friends, and I’d love it if you guys hit it off. Even if it’s just as friends, okay? Who knows what could happen?”
Translation: fling-a-liciously hot.
“Told you. And you never know. He could turn out to be the man of your dreams, right?”
Hayley turned her head so Kyla could fully appreciate her crossed eyes. “Oh, boy. Is this where you wave your crazy-fingers and say ‘Whisper Creek magic’?"
What is it about Cowboys? Is it the boots, the stetson, that rolling walk from too long spent on a horse? Or is it just something about the type of man who battles Mother Nature on a daily basis and manages to keep a 1/2 ton of animal in control with just his hands? I don't know, but I do appreciate them. And so did our girl Hayley in this book. I am kind of wishing that I had read Accidental Cowgirl before this book, since it sounds like there is a heck of a funny back story to her and her friends visiting Montana. But it wasn't anything that spoiled this story.
Hayley is back in Montana for the wedding of her best friend Kyla. She doesn't believe in love, lasting relationships or dating men with children. Of course, she hadn't met Daniel and his two adorable 7 year old daughters yet. Gracie and Bryn were adorable and were so easy to fall for. I liked that Hayley and Daniel were able to share a connection through their veterinary practices.
This story spans a period of about 6 months from the time they meet until the big climax. There is a sweet Epilogue taking place months later nicely wraps everything up and leaves us with a sense of closure and HEA of the characters. There were several scenes in the book that had me reaching for a kleenex, sad tears and happy tears. There was one scene that had me teared up while giggling. This was quite the emotional roller-coaster ride, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I gave this story 4 stars.
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Maggie McGinnis is the author of Accidental Cowgirl and Driving Without a License, which was a finalist for Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award. A former high school English teacher, an accomplished musician, and a certified black belt, she lives in New England with her family.
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