After an accident leaves her injured, Daisy Richards stays secluded at her family's Wyoming ranch to avoid the town's gawking stares. Yet handsome cowboy newcomer Ricky White insists she can do anything she dreamsride a horse, decorate a Christmas tree even steal a man's heart.
Once a reckless cad, Ricky is to blame for what happened to Daisy. Now reformed, he wants to make amends by setting things right for his boss's beautiful daughter in time for the holidays. But Daisy doesn't know Ricky's responsible for her predicament. When the truth is revealed, will he lose the greatest gift he's ever receivedher trust?
Wyoming Legacy: United by family, destined for love
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Northeast Wyoming, early December 1900
A wedding was supposed to be a joyful occasion.
But Daisy Richards felt only emptiness as she watched her father and his bride, Audra, stand before the minister in the parlor of the family's ranch house. Audra had her hair pulled back in a simple bun and wore a dark green dress; Papa wore his Sunday suit, and his auburn hair had been slicked back.
They both looked fine and happy as they smiled secretive little smiles at each other.
But Daisy was not fine.
A draft coming in the window beside her ruffled the wisps of curls at her temples and cooled her burning cheeks. She hadn't been around this many folks in monthsnot since before the accident. And she was as jumpy as a deer during hunting season.
Her father had agreed to have the wedding here on the ranch, but only after a tearful conversation on Daisy's part. It was a second marriage for both her father and his bride. Both of their spouses had passed away years before.
If they'd had a town wedding as they'd initially planned, no doubt they would have had many more guests. As it was, Daisy felt overwhelmed by the small group crowded into the parlor. She could barely breathe.
The ranch house had become her sanctuary. She hadn't ventured outdoors in months, seen her friends or been to church.
She was conscious of too many eyes on her. Au-dra's twelve-year-old sons kept sneaking glances at her from their position standing on the opposite side of the room. She wanted to duck behind her younger sister, Belinda, at her right side but thought that might draw more attention.
And behind her, back where Daisy couldn't see them without turning her head, were Uncle Ned and the two hired cowboys.
Two young men who had come to work for her father during the late summer. She had never met either of them, had only seen them from afar when looking out her second-story window.
She felt them watching her, their curious gazes like hundreds of tiny needles pricking the back of her neck.
Whether she imagined their curiosity or not, she still felt empty and conspicuous. Exposed.
Daisy wished she hadn't let Belinda pull her hair into the simple bun at the nape of her neck. If her red curls had been down, she might've been able to shield her face and the mottled pink she felt burning her cheeks.
She could only hope that as she stood half hidden behind her sister, the young men couldn't get a glimpse of the empty, pinned-up sleeve on her right side. The dress was slightly out of style. The calico material wasn't really suitable for this winter wedding. And it didn't fit quite right after the weight she'd lost during her recovery and those long summer days she'd spent grieving and found it hard to eat.
Maybe the two men weren't looking at Daisy. Maybe they were looking at Belinda. Daisy's seventeen-year-old sister was beautiful. Her strawberry-blond hair was lighter than Daisy's, and her blue eyes always danced with life. She was trim and petite and had been practicing her charms at every social event since she'd had her birthday earlier in the summer.
Before the accident, Daisy would have been just like her sisterwould have welcomed the attention from two cowboys. Worried about the fit and style of her dress.
Been just that shallow.
Now she just wanted to hide in her room until they all went away.
Someone moved behind her with a rustle of clothing, the movement drawing her eyes over her shoulder. One of the cowboys. The man shifted his broad shoulders beneath his worn, pressed white shirt. His head turned slightly toward her, and she had a glimpse of unusual steel-gray eyes and dark blond curls that were wet, as if he'd just washed up.
He'd been there, that night. He was one of the men who had pulled her out of the wreckage. Why had Papa hired him on?
She lowered her eyes before their gazes connected.
Had he seen the pinned-up sleeve on her right side?
Her cheeks burned hotter. Her lungs constricted.
Suddenly, she felt as if the walls closed in on her. As if she was pinned beneath the wagon again. Unable to move, to escape. Acrid smoke choked her.
She couldn't catch her breath.
She must've made some noise of distress, because her father glanced over his shoulder, right at her.
Meeting Papa's eyes brought her fully back into the present. This was her father's wedding day, not that terrible night. She was safe in her family's home.
She tried to summon a smile for him but couldn't.
It wasn't that she begrudged her father happiness. Her mother had passed away when she was thirteen. Seven years ago now. It was high time her father married and found happiness again.
It was more the knowledge that she could never be happy again.
Her momentary lapse into memories had caused her to miss the vows. The small crowd clapped as her father kissed his new bride. She started to join in, hoping no one noticed her inattention and delay.
And then realized all she could do was slap her thigh.
No clapping for her.
A rush of moisture filled her eyes, and she turned away, pretending to gaze out the window until she could steady her breathing and push away the tears.
Her father was living his life, unafraid to remarry even though he'd lost his beloved first wife. Belinda was already caught up in socializing, and no doubt young men would come courting soon.
It was Daisy who was stuck in the mire. Who couldn't move on from the accident that had taken her arm and changed everything.
Daisy ducked into the kitchen, praying for a reprieve, but everyone seemed to follow her. A sugary-sweet smell wafted into her consciousness.
The cake. She'd forgotten that Audra had asked her to help serve.
Frantic for escape, even if it meant she wouldn't fulfill her promise to her new stepmother, Daisy glanced up to see if she could sneak through the parlor to the stairs in the hall.
Belinda, oblivious, snagged Daisy's good arm and tugged her behind the long preparation counter, where the cake had already been cut and plated. A punch bowl and several cups had been set out to complete the spread. She was thankful Belinda had been tasked with filling the cups.
With the cake already cut, Daisy wasn't needed. Not really.
Belinda blocked her from passing behind the counter in the center of the large kitchen. She could go around the other way
She felt dizzy, overly hot. As if she might faint.
"Did you see the new cowboy?" Belinda asked in a low voice.
Her question drew Daisy out of the moment, out of herself enough that she could grip the counter with her good hand until her knuckles turned white.
Did she really want to disappoint her stepmother? The woman who would be a fixture in their lives from now on?
All Daisy had to do was shove each piece of cake across the counter to whoever came for them. She didn't even have to speak.
All she had to do was make it through the next few minutes, and then she could escape.
The preacher's approach kept Belinda from saying more, but Daisy supposed her silence wouldn't last long. Her sister was more than interested in the opposite sex. Daisy might've been the same at Belinda's age, but not anymore.
"You look well, Miss Richards," said the preacher.
Daisy startled when her sister jabbed an elbow into her side. Oh. He had apparently been talking to her.
No doubt she looked better than the last time he'd seen her. Her father had summoned him. They'd all thought she'd been on her deathbed until she'd finally fought through the infection that had set in to her arm. And she hadn't been back to town since she'd been brought out here to the ranch to recuperate.
"I hope we'll see you in services soon."
She gave no answer.
Her cheeks burned as she attempted to smile at the man. Several feet behind him, she glimpsed the blond-haired cowboy in conversation with Uncle Ned, her father's right-hand man. Uncle Ned had been on the ranch for nearly as long as she'd been alive. The second cowboy had disappeared. Had he ducked outside instead of staying for cake?
The younger man glanced away from Ned, his slate-gray eyes turning toward Daisy, but she averted her gaze again.
The preacher shifted in front of her. Belinda helped cover the awkward silence by jumping in to talk about the upcoming Christmas program, and Audra approached with her elbows linked to her two towheaded terrors, twelve-year-old twins. Now Daisy's stepbrothers.
Before her convalescence, they'd followed her around like twin puppies, asking questions about the ranch and jostling and shoving each other whenever they could.
Since the accident, they had seemed unnaturally focused on her missing arm on the few prior occasions she'd seen them.
Daisy shoved three pieces of cake across the counter, the plates scraping loudly against the worn wood. She hoped they would take the cake and leave her alone.
But of course they didn't.
"I'm glad you decided to join us downstairs today, dear," Audra said.
As if she'd been given any choice.
She had overheard Audra and her father arguing several days ago. Audra insisted that Daisy was well enough to begin attending social events again. Her father had cited her improvement since the accident and wanted to give Daisy more time. Audra had accused him of coddling her.
Daisy shivered just thinking about being seen in town, as she was now.
Then yesterday, when she'd been considering whether she could feign an illness as she had done in her younger years to get out of going to school, her father had sat down with her after supper and told her how proud he was of her.
Guilted her into coming to his wedding.
Beneath her calico dress, her legs trembled with the desire to escape.
One of the Twin Terrors nudged the other behind Audra's back. Audra said something to Belinda, her attention flitting to the younger sister.
And Daisy heard Terrance whisper, "Do you think it still hurts?"
Her face flamed. The way both twins' eyes were glued to her, he must be talking about her injury.
Todd whispered right back, "Ask her."
She couldn't do this. She tensed, all her muscles coiling in preparation to run away.
But Audra turned back to the boys, who pushed large bites of cake into their mouths at the same moment, acting as if the whispered conversation hadn't happened.
A selfish part of Daisy wished Papa and Audra had cancelled their honeymoon trip. But they hadn't. She wished for a quiet couple of weeks but didn't hold out much hope. With the twins underfoot and everyone adjusting to the new family, there would be some inevitable growing pains.
And once her father and Audra returned no doubt her new stepmother would harangue her about leaving the ranch and attending social events that no longer held any appeal.
Daisy would do well to escape the ranch, even though it had been her home for the entirety of her life.
But where would she go when she barely had the gumption to come downstairs?
She was trapped.
Audra and the boys moved back into the parlor, leaving Daisy and Belinda alone, though they could probably still be heard through the open parlor door.
"The new cowboy's good-looking, isn't he?" Belinda asked, as if the interim conversations hadn't happened.
"Shh," Daisy hissed, half afraid he was still within hearing distance. She didn't dare glance up to see. "I hadn't noticed."
Her sister hummed a muffled laugh and twirled away to join their father, leaving Daisy alone with several slices of cake on plates and only her nerves for company.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a great read. Inspirational.
This is book five of the Wyoming Legacy series. I have not read the previous four and had no problem keeping up with what was going on in this novel, however I think I missed the history of the family and there would have been a deeper understanding if I had. Plus if the first four are as good as this one, then read them all. Daisy Richards can't imagine anyone looking at her as a whole person again, even herself. When Ricky White starts helping her is it pity or something else she sees in him. Daisy must overcome many difficulties from physical to emotional. When feelings start to develop can something bloom or will the past be more than she can handle? Ricky White is struggling with forgiving himself and realizing others can too. While trying to become a new person, can he deal with his past? Will Daisy ever see he does not pity her, he only wants to help her and maybe find forgiveness. When feelings develop what, if anything, can come from that.
Boy, Daisy and Ricky sure have it rough in this story! In the beginning Daisy has a very "woe is me" attitude (can't really blame her...) but her tentative friendship with Ricky gets her looking beyond her trials and forward to the future with hope. Her character arc was well done and realistic for the challenges she faced. Ricky is so full of guilt and remorse, and I admired his fortitude in relying on Jesus to carry the burden of his sins. Of course, throughout the story I was waiting for the ball to drop- for Daisy to discover that Ricky had a part in her tragic circumstances, and wondered how she would manage to handle it and forgive him. You'll have to read the book to find out! ;) (Thank you to Harlequin and Love Inspired books for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)
“A Cowboy for Christmas” by Lacy Williams is the latest book in her 'Wyoming Legacy' series, and though it is part of a series it is a perfect stand alone book. This is Ricky White's story and though in the other books we see a troubled boy/man, we see this throughout this story so that no one will feel as if they are not missing anything. I have to say that I was touched by this story and not just because of Ricky. So often it seems as if we look at the visible scars a person carries as if that is the only damage that can be done to a person, we often overlook the internal scars that can actually hold back a person far more than the visible scars. This story is a perfect example of overcoming those scars and how hard it can be sometimes. One has the internal scars that while the other has the external scars. Both Daisy and Ricky are facing some pretty tough challenges themselves for apparently different reasons. It is these challenges that make this story so touching. I could understand one of their struggles of facing their challenge, for sometimes facing that kind of challenge is not easy. I am not saying that I have faced the same challenge but I can understand the change from what was known to figuring out something new. The other is facing their own challenge of which way to go now, and it is interesting to see their choices. I wish I could go into more about Daisy and Ricky like I usually try to do but in this case, with the challenges that they face, the changes that happen if I do then I risk ruining their changes to the other readers. I found that the challenges and the overcoming to be what made these two characters so brave and so human. There times when they each seem so weak because of what they are facing, yet other times they seem as if they are getting their feet under them, and then they seem to stand tall on their own feet. Through the whole story I found myself unable to put the book down, and when I forced myself to put it down to get some sleep I was so frustrated for I really just wanted to see what happened next. I found the person who was giving the second chance to be a bit surprising but I was happy to see it for it showed a deeper character trait for a character that is not a main character. I am looking forward to Davy's story when it comes out. This time I will keep a better eye out so that I am not missing a book or two like I did with “The Wrangler's Inconvenient Wife” and this book, “A Cowboy for Christmas”. I hope all who are looking for a light, but touching story picks up this book and enjoys it as much as I have.
A Cowboy for Christmas by Lacy Williams 4 stars I was drawn right into the story. I love the characters, the drama, setting and action. It was also a clean read. I wanted Daisy to prosper and gain confidence in what she could do. It is frustrating when your life changes in an instant what you can do. Daisy struggle was real. Before the accident she had two arms and now just one. She does not want to be seen by anyone else. Feels like they would stare at her. Ricky White realized what he had caused with his fight in the street. He has repented and wants to make amends somehow. He works for the Richards ranch. He sees what Daisy is struggling against and makes way for her to cope. His simple changes make things possible for Daisy to do. Daisy and Ricky are alone on the ranch one Sunday and Ricky gets her to help him in the barn deliver puppy. Then Daisy's whole family comes back the next day and are all sick. They have to take care of everything. It deals with forgiveness and making amends. I thought it was a good story that got it's message across in a real way. The way Daisy felt was true. The setting is Northeast Wyoming, early December 1900 on a ranch. A Cowboy for Christmas is a Wyoming Legacy book #5 I believe. I have enjoyed all the books in this series that I have read. I will read more from Lacy Williams again in the future. I was given this ebook to read by Net Galley and Harlequin. In return I agreed to give honest review of A Cowboy for Christmas.