AT CARDWELL RANCH, THE HOLIDAYS CAN BE BRUTAL
It had been years since Tanner "Tag" Cardwell's boots touched Montana soil. This Christmas he was determined to change that. Until a run-in with local Lily McCabe revealed dark secrets from his past and deep trouble for his future.
Cowboys came and went in these parts. But Tag Cardwell caught Lily off guard in more ways than one when the two became entwined in a murder mystery. What was it about Tag? The dreamy eyes The rugged physique The protection she felt in his strong arms
But before they could lose themselves in each other they had to trace a killer. Or risk finding a crime scene under the Christmas tree.
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Huge snowflakes drifted down out of a midnight-blue winter sky. Tanner "Tag" Cardwell stopped to turn his face up to the falling snow. It had been so long since he'd been anywhere that it snowed like this.
Christmas lights twinkled in all the windows of the businesses of Big Sky's Meadow Village, and he could hear "White Christmas" playing in one of the ski shops.
But it was a different kind of music that called to him tonight as he walked through the snow to the Canyon Bar.
Shoving open the door, he felt a wave of warmth hit him, along with the smell of beer and the familiar sound of country music.
He smiled as the band broke into an old country-and-western song, one he'd learned at his father's knee. Tag let the door close behind him on the winter night and shook snow from his new ski jacket as he looked around. He'd had to buy the coat because for the past twenty-one years, he'd been living down South.
Friday night just days from Christmas in Big Sky, Montana, the bar was packed with a mix of locals, skiers, snowmobilers and cowboys. There'd be a fight for sure before the night was over. He planned to be long gone before then, though.
His gaze returned to the raised platform where the band, Canyon Cowboys, was playing. He played a little guitar himself, but he'd never been as good as his father, he thought as he watched Harlan Cardwell pick and strum to the music. His uncle, Angus Cardwell, was no slouch, either.
Tag had always loved listening to them play together when he was a kid. Music was in their blood. That and bars. As a kid, he'd fallen asleep many weekend nights in a bar in this canyon listening to his father play guitar. It was one of the reasons his mother had gathered up her five sons, divorced Harlan and taken her brood off to Texas to be raised in the Lone Star State.
Tag and his brothers had been angry with their dad for not fighting for them. As they'd gotten older, they'd realized their mother had done them a favor. Harlan knew nothing about raising kids. He was an easygoing cowboy who only came alive when you handed him a guitaror a beer.
Still, as Tag watched his father launch into another song, he realized how much he'd missed himand Montana. Had Harlan missed him, as well? Doubtful, Tag thought, remembering the reception he'd gotten when he'd knocked at his father's cabin door this morning.
"What are you doing here?" his father had asked, moving a little to block his view of the interior of the cabin.
"It's Christmas. I wanted to spend it with you." Harlan couldn't have looked any more shocked by thator upset.
Tag realized that surprising his father had been a mistake. "If this is a bad time "
His father quickly shook his head, still blocking the door, though. "No, it's just that well, you know, the cabin is a mess. If you give me a little while "
Tag peered past him and lowered his voice. "If you have someone staying here"
"No, no, it's nothing like that."
But behind his father, Tag had spotted a leather jacket, female size, on the arm of the couch. "No problem. I thought I'd go see my cousin Dana. I'll come back later. Actually, if you want, I could get a motel"
"No. Stay here. Bring your stuff back later. I'll have the spare room made up for you. Your uncle and I are playing tonight at the Canyon."
"Great. I'll stop by. I haven't heard you play in a long time. It'll be nice."
Tag had left, but he was still curious about his father's female visitor. He knew nothing about his father's life. Harlan could have a girlfriend. It wasn't that unusual for a good-looking man in his fifties.
Tag tried not to let Harlan's reaction to him showing up unexpectedly bother him. Determined to enjoy the holiday here, he had made plans tomorrow to go Christmas tree hunting with his Montana cousin Dana Cardwell. He'd missed his cousins and had fond memories of winter in Montana, sledding, skiing, ice-skating, starting snowball fights and cutting their own Christmas trees. He looked forward to seeing his cousins Jordan and Stacy, as well. Clay was still in California helping make movies last he'd heard, but Dana had said he was flying in Christmas Eve.
Tag planned to do all the things he had done as a boy this Christmas. Not that he could ever bring back those family holidays he remembered. For starters, his four brothers were all still in Texas. The five of them had started a barbecue joint, which had grown into a chain called Texas Boys Barbecue.
He would miss his brothers and mother this Christmas, but he was glad to have this time with his cousins and his dad. As the band wound up one song and quickly broke into another, he finished his beer. He'd see his father back at the cabin. Earlier, he'd returned to find the woman's leather jacket he'd seen on the couch long gone.
Harlan had been getting ready for his gig tonight, so they hadn't had much time to visit. But the spare room had been made up, so Tag had settled in. He hoped to spend some time with his father, though. Maybe tomorrow after he came back from Christmas tree hunting.
As he started to turn to leave, a blonde smelling of alcohol stumbled into him. Tag caught her as she clung to his ski jacket for support. She was dressed in jeans and a T-shirt. Not one of the skiers or snowmobilers who were duded out in the latest high-tech, cold-weather gear.
"Sorry," she said, slurring her speech.
"Are you all right?" he asked as she clung to his jacket for a moment before gathering her feet under her.
"Fine." She didn't look fine at all. Clearly, she'd had way too much to drink. "You look like him."
Tag laughed. Clearly, the woman also didn't know what she was saying.
She lurched away from him and out the back door.
He couldn't believe with it snowing so hard that she'd gone outside without a coat. Hesitating only a moment, he went out after her. He was afraid she might be planning to drive herself home. Or that she had been hurrying outside because she was going to be sick. He didn't want her passing out in a snowdrift and dying of hypothermia.
Montana was nothing like where he lived in Texas. Winter in Montana could be dangerous. With this winter storm, the temperatures had dropped. There were already a couple of feet of snow out the back door of the bar before this latest snowfall. He could see that a good six inches of new snow had fallen since he'd arrived in town.
He spotted the woman's tracks in the snow just outside the door. As he stepped out to look for her, he saw her through the falling snow. A man wearing a cowboy hat was helping her into his pickup. She appeared to be arguing with him as he poured her into the passenger seat and slammed the door. The man glanced in Tag's direction for a moment before he climbed behind the wheel and the two drove off.
"Where did she go?"
He turned to find a slim brunette behind him. "Where did who go?"
"Mia." At his blank expression, she added, "The blonde woman wearing a T-shirt like the one I have on."
He glanced at her T-shirt and doubted any woman could wear it quite the way this one did. The letters THE CANYON were printed across her full breasts with the word bar in smaller print beneath it. He realized belatedly that the woman who'd bumped into him had been wearing the same T-shirtlike the other servers here in the bar.
"I did see her," he said. "She stumbled into me, then went rushing out this door."
"Unbelievable," the brunette said with a shake of her head. Her hair was chin length, thick and dark. It framed a face that could only be described as adorable. "She didn't finish her shift again tonight."
"She wasn't in any shape to continue her shift," he said. "She could barely stand up she was so drunk."
For the first time, the brunette met his gaze. "Mia might have had one drink because a customer insisted, but there is no way she was drunk. I saw her ten minutes ago and she was fine."
He shrugged. "I saw her two minutes ago and she was falling-down drunk. She didn't even bother with her coat."
"And you let her leave like that?"
"Apparently her boyfriend or husband was waiting for her. The cowboy poured her into the passenger seat of his pickup and they left."
"She doesn't have a boyfriend or a husband."
"Well, she left with some man wearing a Western hat. That's all I can tell you." He remembered that the blonde had been arguing with the man and felt a sliver of unease embed itself under his skin. Still, he told himself, he'd had the distinct feeling that she'd known the man. Nor had the cowboy acted odd when he'd looked in Tag's direction before leaving.
"Lily!" the male bartender called. The brunette gave another disgusted shake of her head, this one directed at Tag, before she took off back into the bar.
He watched her, enjoying the angry swing of her hips. Then he headed for his father's cabin, tired after flying all the way from Texas today. But he couldn't help thinking of the brunette and smiling to himself. He'd always been a sucker for a woman with an attitude.
Lily McCabe closed the front door of the Canyon Bar behind the last customer, locked it and leaned against the solid wood for a moment. What a night.
"Nice job," Ace said as he began cleaning behind the bar. "Where the devil did Mia take off to?"
Lily shook her head. It was the second night in a row that Mia had disappeared. What made it odd was that she'd been so reliable for the three weeks she'd been employed at the Canyon. It was hard to get good help. Mia Duncan was one of the good ones.
"It's weird," Lily said as she grabbed a tray to clear off the tables. In the far back, the other two servers were already at work doing the same thing. "The man who saw her take off out the back door? He claimed she was drunk.''''
James "Ace" McCabe stopped what he was doing to stare at her. "Mia, drunk?"
Lily shrugged as she thought of the dark-haired cowboy with the Texas accent. Men like him were too good-looking to start with. Add a Southern drawl "That's what he said. I believe his exact words were 'falling-down drunk,'" she mimicked in his Texas accent. "Doesn't sound like Mia, does it? Plus, I talked to her not ten minutes before. She was fine. He must have been mistaken."
Admittedly, she knew Mia hardly at all. The young woman wasn't from Big Sky. But then most people in the Gallatin Canyon right now weren't locals. Ski season brought in people from all over the world. Mia had shown up one day looking for a job. One of the servers had just quit and another had broken her leg skiing, so James had hired Mia on the spot. That was over three weeks ago. Mia had been great. Until last night when she'd left before her shift was overand again tonight.
"Well, tonight was a real zoo," Reggie Olson said as she brought in a tray full of dirty glasses from a table in the back. "The closer it gets to the holidays, the crazier it gets."
Lily couldn't have agreed more. She couldn't wait for Christmas and New Year's to be over so she could get back to her real life.
"Did Mia say anything to either of you?" she asked.
Reggie shook her head.
Teresa Evans didn't seem to hear.
"Teresa," Lily called to the back of the bar. "Did Mia say anything to you tonight before she left?"
Teresa glanced up in surprise at the sound of her name, her mind clearly elsewhere. "Sorry?"
"Someone's tired," Ace said with a laugh.
"More likely she's thinking about her boyfriend waiting for her outside in his pickup," Reggie joked.
Teresa looked flustered. "I guess I am tired," she said. "Mia?" She shook her head. "She didn't say anything to me."
That, too, was odd since Teresa was as close to a friend as Mia had made in the weeks she'd worked at the bar. Lily noticed how distracted the server was and wanted to ask her if everything was all right. But her brother was their boss, not she. His approach during her short-term employment here was not to get involved in his employees' dramas. Probably wise since once the holiday was over, she would be going back to what she considered her "real" life.
"Maybe you should give Mia a call," Lily suggested.
Her brother gave her one of his patient smiles, looked up Mia's number and dialed it. "She's not home," he said after he listened for a few moments. "And I don't have a cell phone number for her."
"If she left with some cowboy, she must have a boyfriend we haven't heard about," Reggie said. "He's probably the reason she was drinking, too," she added with a laugh. "Men. Can't live with them. Can't shoot them."
Ace laughed. "Reggie's right. Go ahead and go on home, sis," he said when she brought up a tray of dirty glasses. "The three of us can finish up here. And thanks again for helping out."
She'd agreed to help her brother over Christmas and New Year's, and had done so for the past few. Since it was just the two of them, their parents gone, it was as close as they got to a family holiday together. The bar was her brother's only source of income, and with this being his busiest time of the year, he had to have all the help he could get.
Ace had learned a long time ago that if he didn't work his own place, he lost money. With Lily helping, he didn't have to hire another server. She didn't need the money since her "day" job paid very well and working at the Canyon gave her a chance to spend time with the brother she adored.
"I am going to call it a night," Lily said, dumping her tips into the communal tip jar at the bar. Her Big Sky home was a house she'd purchased back up the mountain tucked in the pines about five miles from the barand civilization. The house had been an investment. Not that she could have stayed with her brother since he lived in the very small apartment over the bar. Christmas would be spent at her house, as it was every year.
When she'd bought the house, she'd thought Ace would move in since her real home and work was forty miles away in Bozeman. But her brother had only laughed and said he was much happier living over the bar in the apartment.
Lily loved the house because of its isolation at the end of a road with no close neighborsthe exact reason Ace would have hated living there. Her brother loved to be around people. He liked the noise and commotion that came with owning a bar in Big Sky, Montana.
But as much as she yearned to go to her quiet house, she couldn't yet. She wanted to make sure Mia made it home all right. Mia lived in an expensive condo her parents owned partway up the mountain toward Big Sky Resort.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Once again, B.J. Daniels took me on an exciting ride in Christmas at Cardwell Ranch. There is so much going on in this romantic thriller that I was happily turning pages all day. The love story is classic, but the angst is full fledged creepy. Well done.
By: B.J. Daniels Published By: Harlequin Intrigue Age Recommended: Adult Reviewed By: Arlena Dean Rating: 5 Series: Cardwell Ranch #4 Review: "Christmas At Cardwell Ranch" by B.J. Daniels was a wonderfully told story that you will want to read especially during the holidays. It is not a story of just Christmas but all in all it comes into play that you will soon see it as you read through the novel. I really liked the two main characters Lily and Tag that were drawn together in the very good intriguing story. Who knew that while Tag has come to visit his father for the holiday that he would met such a woman like Lily. From their meeting serious things start to happen...missing people and murders? There will be some evilness that will return to this small town of Big Sky, Montana from the pass that will put many of its residents in jeopardy. "Christmas At Cardwell Ranch" will be one of those reads that you will not be able to put down until the very end. The characters from Tag Cardwell, Lily McCabe, Hud Savage to only name a few where you will find they are all well developed and so very captivating. This author was able to present to its reader a story of intrigue, mystery, suspense and some even some romance. The reader will be quickly 'pulled into the lives and stories of these families'....the Cardwell's and their kin folk. Be ready for the twist and turns that will come into this plot. Also, if you are a cowboy lover you have definitely come to the right place. Oh, I will say there are three previous novels by this author that comes before this series and I would highly recommend you read those first, however this one I felt could be read as a stand alone read. So, if you are looking for a interesting Christmas holiday read I feel "Christmas at Cardwell Ranch" would be recommended to you as a good read.
I enjoyed the book very much. Could not put it down. Just had to see what would happen next..
4.5 STars Reviewed by Guest Reviewer/Kimberly & posted at Under the Covers Book Blog It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Big Sky, Montana until murder happens and not just one but several. When Tag Cardwell returns to Montana after a long sojourn, he finds he isn’t exactly welcomed home by his father, but cousin Dana insists that he stay for a Cardwell Christmas. She wants family together. Trying to get things back to normal after an insane woman posing as her cousin wreaked havoc in her home. Lily McCabe is filling in at her brother Ace McCabe’s bar for the holidays. The pretty young math genius enjoys her solitude though, especially after being jilted at the alter six months prior. When one of the waitresses winds up missing a whole lot of trouble starts to happen over a flash drive with gibberish on it that mysteriously winds up in Tag’s pocket. Is it gibberish or a mathematical code? When Tag and Lily find they may have to put their heads together to solve the mystery, a lot more may happen than finding answers. Maybe a little kissing under the mistletoe? When Lily’s proper ex-fiance appears on her doorstep she suddenly doesn’t know what direction to take her life. The safe and quiet one? Or the one that could lead to passion and excitement. Marshall Hud Savage has been second guessing himself since he allowed imposter Camilla Northland, who posed as Dana’s long lost cousin, into his home to terrorize his family. How could he have let someone that unstable near his precious family? How could he have been so blind? These thoughts go through his mind constantly nowadays and he worries that his days as Marshall are numbered. Even though she is apparently tucked away in prison, Camilla Northland plots her revenge on Hud and Dana. Is her arm long enough to reach Cardwell Ranch? It takes all of these people involved to try to solve the murder mystery plaguing Big Sky and the clock is ticking. The question is, can all be solved before time runs out? Lord, do I love picking up a B.J. Daniels book. I always know I am in for a good time. B.J. gets the reader’s mind a flutter with all the facts and the possible resolutions. She is a master at telling more than one story at a time with incredible ease and sucking in the reader until the very end. It is so nice to be back in Big Sky, Montana and with the Cardwell Clan and its extended family especially at Christmas time. Watching the evolution of these awesome characters is always part of the charm mixed in with all the mystery and suspense. I loved B.J. Daniels’ CHRISTMAS AT CARDWELL RANCH and I know you will as well.
"Christmas at Cardwell Ranch" It’s like coming home! I have read all of the Cardwell ranch stories and "Christmas at Cardwell Ranch" was just as entertaining as the first "Crime Scene at Cardwell Ranch". I felt like I was coming home right along with Tag Cardwell. I don't know where BJ Daniels comes up with some of these plot twists but she keeps them coming. Love her style!
I read anything that BJ writes. I know that it is going to be a suspenseful ride! This book was no exception! We have Tag who hasn't seen his father for a number of years so he returns to Montana to spend the holidays with him but immediately, things don't turn out the way he expected. His father doesn't have time for him and he even seems to be involved in something ---- illegal maybe? Tag meets Lily at the very beginning and they are thrust into a crime situation! They don't know what is going on but suddenly people are turning up dead and they can't even trust the sheriff at first. BJ weaves a couple of storylines into her books so we get to meet several characters that are good at being evil but we don't always know until the end! I had a hard time going to sleep until I finished this book so I usually just give up and finish the book, no matter how late it is! I recommend you read this book!
Christmas Intrigue and Romance in Big Sky Country! I know when I see a book by B.J. Daniels, that I'm going to be treated to an engaging story of mysterious intrigue in Big Sky country. Christmas at Cardwell Ranch adds a touch of Christmas to that mix. Tag and Lily are our two main characters in this tale. Tanner "Tag" Cardwell hadn't seen his father or Montana since he was a little boy and, this year, he'd had a grand idea of catching up with him over Christmas. However, it appears that his grand idea of surprising his father by showing up at his door unexpectedly had been a mistake as his father hadn't exactly greeted him with open arms. As Tag is pondering what-to-do over a drink at the bar in Big Sky, one of the bar maids drunkenly stumbles into him and then disappears outside into the numbing cold. He follows her, worried for her safety in the cold, just in time to see her arguing with and getting into a truck with a man wearing a Western hat... Lily is in Big Sky, Montana helping her brother, Ace, with his bar there as it's always super busy at Christmas-time. When a co-worker takes off from her job early without an explanation, Lily questions Tag who had seen her leave... When bodies start piling up around Big Sky, Tag and Lily must decipher the clues before they both become victims. While this is not the 1st B.J. Daniels book I've read, this was the first Cardwell Ranch novel I've read. Christmas at Cardwell Ranch is the fourth story in the series but it can be easily read alone. I don't feel that my enjoyment of the book was affected by not having read any of the first three books. (I plan to read the previous 3 books soon!) This book grabbed my attention from the very beginning and never let go. As with all B.J.'s books, I loved the story and the setting in Big Sky country, Montana, was awesome. B.J.'s writing always makes me feel like I'm right there. The holiday theme was wonderful... perfect to read around the holidays or anytime you crave a bit of Christmas spirit. I'd highly recommend Christmas at Cardwell Ranch as a quick enjoyable holiday read. 4 Stars!
Read on October 25, 2013 Book Info Paperback, 224 pages Expected publication: October 22nd 2013 by Harlequin ISBN 0373697228 (ISBN13: 9780373697229) series Cardwell Ranch #4 Source:Netgalley EARC Book Buy Links AMAZON B&N BOOK SYNOPSIS AT CARDWELL RANCH, THE HOLIDAYS CAN BE BRUTAL It had been years since Tanner "Tag" Cardwell's boots touched Montana soil. This Christmas he was determined to change that. Until a run-in with local Lily McCabe revealed dark secrets from his past and deep trouble for his future. Cowboys came and went in these parts. But Tag Cardwell caught Lily off guard in more ways than one when the two became entwined in a murder mystery. What was it about Tag? The dreamy eyes… The rugged physique… The protection she felt in his strong arms… But before they could lose themselves in each other they had to trace a killer. Or risk finding a crime scene under the Christmas tree. My Thoughts I suddenly feel the need for eggnog and a fire! Big Sky Montana in winter close to Christmas can be a beautiful place however when a killer comes to town it can also be a dangerous setting to spend ones holidays! Taken from Big Sky at age 12 by his mother and raised in Texas Tag Cardwell has come back to spend Christmas with his father Harlan, a man he has rarely seen since his parents divorce and someone he feels a need to finally connect with now that his father is older and Tag is fully grown. Lily McCabe, a professor of mathematics, has her own safe and orderly life miles away in Bozeman Montana but she comes to Big Sky every year to help her brother James "Ace" McCabe through the Christmas/New Year rush at "The Canyon" bar that he owns. The pair meet on the first night Tag is in town, he was the last person to talk to one of the female servers at the Canyon bar as she stumbled into him on her way out the door and as he felt she was inebriated followed her outside where she was being helped into the front seat of a pickup truck. Lily had come outside right after him and confronted him about being in the alley back of the bar, after work she went to check on her coworker and found out the girl's apartment had been ransacked. Events begin to spiral after that with the finding of the girl's missing body, her friend at work Theresa also has gone missing and is also found dead later on. Tag begins to suspect the worse from his father and his father's brother Angus. Those same suspicions lead him to also suspect his cousin Dana's husband, who is the local sheriff of Big Sky, Hud of not being trustworthy either. When Lily ends up as the next missing person will those suspicions prove true or will she be found by Tag in time? Read the book to find out for yourself, soon. This is a modern day "white knight riding in on his charger" contemporary romantic suspense that you will gobble up delighting in the holiday setting, the intrigue and the terrific ending that just might prove to be an early Christmas present for fans of the author !
4 stars Christmas at Cardwell Ranch was full of surprises. It had some twists that I was surprised with and some I had guessed at. The name really fits the book too. I never paid attention to much about the Cardwell of Texas. The plot was good I had wondered why Tag did not go to cops but the reason was very well done. There is a lot of drama, suspenseful, some romance, lots of bad guys? Had to keep reading to see how it would all work out. I like Tag Cardwell. He is trying to figure what is going on. He does not know who to trust. His father is not very welcoming when he shows up at his cabin to surprise his dad with a Christmas visit. Tag goes to the Canyon bar to hear his father play. When he is leaving he sees bumps into a drunk lady and then sees her getting into a truck. Then he talks to Lily McCabe as she is looking for the other women. She is not to impressed with Tag. Lily is helping her brother over the holidays by working at his bar. This way they get to spend the holidays together while she is off from teaching college. Lily and Tag end up trying to figure out what is going on. After Tag finds something in his coat pocket that he did not put their. This is a pretty fast paced book. Lots of things going on. Tag is not sure who to trust after he is lied to a few times. I enjoyed it. The snow sounds good on these hot August days. I wonder if we will get to meet Tag's other four brothers or if Lily's brother Ace will get his own book? I will want to see if their story get told. I was given this ebook to read and asked to give honest review of it in exchange by NetGalley and Harlequin. 10/22/2013 PUB Harlequin Harlequin Intrigue ISBN 9780373697229
CI don't know how BJ Daniels does it; she drags the reader into her stories immediately. This book, the 4th in the Cardwell Ranch Series, was no exception; she immerses the reader into a winter wonderland filled with all the best ingredients: suspense, lust, love, murder...perfect combination for a heart racing read. I absolutely love how the characters from the previous books in the series are allowed to continue throughout the stories. Daniels gives her characters a vulnerability which makes loving them that much easier. I have grown attached to the Cardwell Family and hope only the best in future books! Speaking of books, I highly recommend reading the previous books in this series; it is possible to read this book on its own, but it will be much more gratifying to have the others read prior. I am also impressed with the complex plot and side stories Daniels introduces. The book would be quite bland if there weren't other things coming along to keep the characters on their toes. Daniels' creativity is amazing - I would never have guessed what Harlan and Angus did pre-retirement...did not see that one coming! My first reaction to this story was 'how awful to experience these things around Christmas'...but the ending made it worthwhile. And now I'm not sure I can wait for Christmas; this book has put me in the holiday spirit...I'm ready to decorate my tree now (and hope to find a warm hunky body under it by the name of Tag).
If you love cowboys you will love this one. A romantic suspense that is packed with twist and turns on every page. First off thank you to B. J. Daniels for letting me be a part of the review team with an advanced copy of Forsaken. It never fails to amaze me how much she can pack into one book and Forsaken did not disappoint, I started this book just two days ago and hated to put it down. Beartooth Montana is by far my favorite place to visit and on this first chilly day of fall I guarantee it will warm you up too. Romance, twist, turns and suspense at ever corner. Especially loved the interaction between Detective Jamison and Maddie. On a side note I love the character named Maddie as that is my daughters name. If you are not familiar with B. J. Daniels other works I suggest you go grab the other two Beartooth Montana books, Unforgiven and Redemption and hold on. Grab your copy on bookshelves September 24th, you won't be disappointed.
This is another great book by BJ Daniels with lots of suspense. In fact it kept me awake past my bedtime because I just had to finish it before I could put it down. The hero Tanner and his brothers had been taken from Montana and moved to Texas by their mother and had not been back since. But this Christmas he decided to return to Montana and spend Christmas with his father and cousin only to find himself in the middle of a murder mystery. He was determined to not only solve the mystery but he was also determined to save Lilly McCabe from whoever was determined to kill her for some reason. If you like complicated mysteries where the ending is not clear until the end this is an excellent book to read. Just keep in mind that you are not going to be able to put the book down until the end.
Christmas at Cardwell Ranch was another great story from Daniels. She brings us back to Big Sky's Meadow Village, MT for a reunion between Tanner "Tag" Cardwell and his father, Harlan. From the beginning, Daniels drops you right into the scene and right into the start of the action. Mysterious women, mysterious men - the book is full of them. We also get to revisit with Dana and Hud - Tag's cousin and her husband and see how they have progressed since "Cardwell Ranch Trespasser" and the visit with Dana's crazy 'cousin'. Lily McCabe is a bit of a nerdy girl that gets under Tag's skin right from the beginning. They soon find themselves searching for the answers to mysteries and murders. And, of course, they find each other. We get to know Harlan and his brother, Angus, better and learn about why Tag's mother took all the boys south to Texas so many years before. As with all BJ Daniels' books - the author takes us on a trip to Montana with her descriptions that make you feel like you are right there in the Beartooth Mountains in the middle of a snow storm. I love her character development as well as the venue. Every time I read a book of hers, I want to pack my bags and move west (until I think about those long winters and all that snow!). If you are looking for a good read with lots of mystery and action, this is the book to pick up and read.
I loved this book - it started out just a little bit slow (for me anyway) but trust me and be patient - keep reading because by Chapter 2 I guarantee you'll be hooked. I LOVED the character of Lily! Maybe it's just that I can identify with the "nerdy girl" persona, but I loved how B.J. Daniels showed her insecurities and self-doubts. I don't know about you but I tire of reading books where the heroines are perfect, and have tons of self-confidence because, while that would be nice, I'm not sure in the real world it exists all that often. Add a hot cowboy from Texas into the mix and you've got the makings of a great romantic thriller. The last several chapters had me wanting to go back to biting my nails - it was just that edge-of-your-seat-suspenseful good! I highly recommend this one.
‘Tis the season to start lining up those easy to read, easy to cozy up with, Christmas Romance novels. Be sure to add Christmas at Cardwell Ranch by B. J. Daniels to your list! Looking to reconnect with his distant father, Tanner "Tag" Cardwell comes home to Montana only to find that the man he thought of as a poor father was far more than just a overgrown kid in a country band. Thrown into the middle of murder, high tech intrigue and falling for a strong-willed woman that he must save, even if it breaks his heart to do so, Tag gets a Christmas unlike any he could have imagined! B. J. Daniels is the master of romance as she creates another easy to follow, twisted plot in her latest Holiday Romance filled with cowboys, snow, love, and few surprises along the way. Can you say, where's the Mistletoe? An ARC edition was provided by NetGalley and Harlequin Intrigue in exchange for my honest review.