Hope Nichols has never felt as if she belonged anywhere, except her hometown of Pine Gulch. So, when she hears that her family's property, Christmas Ranch, is set to be shut down forever, a determined Hope heads home. She refuses to let the Grinch steal her holidaythis will be the most memorable ranch Christmas ever! And, thanks to hunky former navy SEAL Rafe Santiago and his adorable nephew, she might just pull off that miracle.
Rafe is undeniably drawn to Hope and her passion for rebuilding her family home. But he knows more about Hope's tragic past than even she herself could imagine. And though she doesn't know it, she owes him her life. And all he wants in return is for her to spend it with him
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Though Thanksgiving was still a week and a half away, Christmas apparently had already rolled into Pine Gulch, Idaho, in all its snowy glory.
Hope Nichols looked through the windshield of the crappy old Ford pickup truck she had picked up for a cool thousand dollars at the edge of a Walmart parking lot in Salt Lake City. On a late afternoon in November the storefronts of the small but vibrant downtown area were alive with Christmas displaystrees, lights, toy soldiers, the occasional Nativity scene.
As she drove through more residential areas on her way to Cold Creek Canyon, she saw the holiday spirit extended here. Nearly every house had decorations of some sort, from inflatable snowmen to a full-fledged Santa and reindeer display.
She didn't mind even the kitschiest of decorations, even though to some it might seem early in the season. Considering she hadn't spent the holidays at home for the past five yearsor even in the countryshe couldn't wait to embrace the whole Christmas thing this year.
She supposed that was a good thing, since her family's Ranch was the holiday epicenter around here.
This area of eastern Idaho already had a few inches of snownot much, but enough to cover everything in a lovely blanket of white and add a bit of seasonal charm to the town she remembered with such warmth and affection.
While Pine Gulch wasn't exactly her hometown, it was close enough. Hope and her sisters had lived here through most of their formative teen years, and she loved every inch of it, from the distant view of the west slope of the Tetons to the unassuming storefronts to the kind people who waved at her even now, though they couldn't possibly recognize her or the old blue pickup truck with the primer on the side.
She had come to be pretty fond of the old Ford. It didn't exactly drive like a dream, but it had four-wheel drive and all its working parts. Buying it had been an impulsive decisionshe had intended to rent a car in Salt Lake City to drive home after she flew in from northern Africa, but had suddenly realized she would need transportation permanently now. This truck would get her through the gnarly winter season until she figured out what she would do next. After a decade of wandering, she was ready to stay put for a while.
Nerves in her stomach danced a little, as they had been doing throughout the five-hour drive from Salt Lake, while she tried to anticipate the reaction she would find at the Star N Ranch when she showed up out of the blue with her duffel bag.
Aunt Mary would probably cry, her older sister, Faith, would be shocked and her younger sister, Celeste, would smile in that quiet way of hers.
The children would at least be happy to see her, though she knew Louisa and Barrettand everyone else, for that matterwere still reeling from the death of their father. Travis, Faith's husband and childhood sweetheart, had died four months earlier in a tragic accident. Hope had come back for his funeral, of course, but her correspondence and video chats with her family since then had mostly been superficial.
It was time to come home. Past time. Since Travis's death, she couldn't shake the feeling that her family needed her, despite their protests that all was fine. The holiday season was insane at The Christmas Ranch and all hands were necessary, even when those hands belonged to the wanderer in the fam
With a noise as loud as a gunshot, something hit the passenger-side window of her truck, jerking her thoughts back to the present. In the space of a heartbeat, the window shattered as Hope slammed on the brakes, ducked and instinctively yelled a curse word her mostly Berber students taught her.
What the ?
Who would be shooting at her? For a crazy moment, she was a terrified, desperate thirteen-year-old girl again, heart pounding, adrenaline pulsing. She didn't have flashbacks very often, but when she did, they could roll over her like a bulldozer.
She drew in a breath, forcing away the panic. This was Pine Gulch. There were no snipers here, no rebel factions. Nobody would be shooting at her. She glanced at the window. Because the truck was older, it didn't have tempered glass and the entire window had shattered. All she found was a melting pile of snow amid the shattered glassand a healthy-sized rock.
Not a gunshot, then. A dirty trick. Tentatively, she raised her head to look around. At first, she didn't see anything, until a flurry of movement on that side of the vehicle caught her gaze.
A young boy stood just off the road looking shocked and not a little guilty.
Hope pulled over to the side of the road then jumped out of the driver's side and headed for him.
The kid stared at her, eyes wide. He froze for only a moment as she approached, then whirled around and took off at top speed across the snow-covered lawn just as a man walked around the side of the house with a couple of snow shovels in hand.
"You're in luck, kid," he called. "I found shovels for each of us."
The man's voice trailed off as the boy raced behind him, using what were quite impressive muscles as a shield, as if he thought Hope was going to start hurling snowball-covered rocks right back at him.
"Hey. Come back here. Where do you think you're going, young man?" she demanded sternly in her best don't-mess-with-me teacher's voice.
The big man frowned and set the snow shovels blade-down on the sidewalk. "Excuse me, lady. What the heer, heck is your problem?"
She told herself her heart was racing only from adrenaline at her window suddenly shattering. It had nothing to do with this large, muscled, gorgeous man with short dark hair and remarkable hazel eyes. Somehow he seemed even bigger as he bristled at her, overpowering and male.
She, however, had gone against bullies far worse than some small-town cowboy with a juvenile delinquent and an attitude.
She pointed to the pickup truck, engine still running, and the shattered passenger window.
"Your son here is the problemor more accurately, the rock he just tossed through my window. I could have been seriously hurt. It's a miracle I didn't run off the road."
"I'm not his son," the kid snapped. He looked angry and belligerent at the very idea.
She supposed it was only natural her mind immediately went to kidnapping, especially after the sudden flashback.
"I'm his uncle," Sexy Dude said, with a frustrated look at the boy. "Did you see him throw it? I'm sure you must be mistaken. Joey is not the kind of kid who would throw a rock at a moving vehicleespecially a stranger's moving vehicle."
Was he trying to convince her or himself? His words rang a little hollow, making her wonder if Joey was exactly the kind of kid who would vandalize a vehicle, whether he knew the owners or not.
"Then explain to me why my window is shattered and why he took off the moment I stopped my truck to talk to him about it."
The guy frowned. "Joe. Tell the nice lady you didn't throw a rock at her window."
The boy lifted his chin obstinately but after meeting her gaze for just a moment, he looked down at his snowboots. "I didn't throw a rock," he insisted, then added in a muffled sort of aside, "It was a snowball."
"A snowball with a rock inside it," she retorted.
He looked up and gave his uncle an imploring look. "It was a accident. I didn't mean to, Uncle Rafe. I swear."
"Joey." The uncle said the single name with a defeated kind of frustration, making her wonder what the situation was between the two of them. Where were the boy's parents?
"It was a accident," he repeated. Whether it was genuine or an act, Joey now sounded like he was going to cry.
"An accident," she corrected.
"Whatever," the boy said.
"Using proper English is important when you wish to convey your point." Yes, she sounded prim but six years of combined experience in the Peace Corps and teaching English across the globe had ingrained habits that were probably going to be tough to break.
"Okay. It was an accident," he spoke with such dramatic exaggeration that she almost smiled, until she remembered the crisis at hand.
"That's better, but I'm still not sure I believe you. I think you were aiming right at my truck."
"I didn't mean to break the window. I wasn't even trying to hit the window, I was trying to hit the hubcap. My friend Samantha and me are playing a game and we get five points for every hubcap."
"My friend Samantha and I," she said. She couldn't seem to help herself, even though she noticed the correction only made the uncle glower harder, making him look big and rough-edged and even more dangerous.
She suddenly felt small and not nearly as tough as she liked to think.
"Can we deep six the English lessons, lady, and focus on your window?"
She was nervous, she suddenly realized. Was it because of his military haircut or the muscles or because he was so great-looking? She pushed away the uneasiness and forced herself to concentrate on the real issue.
"Sorry. Reflex. I'll stop now. I've been teaching English in northern Africa the past few years and was in the Peace Corps before that. I'm just returning to Pine Gulch to visit my family. They live in Cold Creek Canyon and."
Her voice trailed off. He didn't care about that. She cleared her throat. "Right. My window. It was a very dangerous thing you did, young man. Tell your friend Samantha it's a bad idea to throw snowballs at cars, whether the snowballs have rocks in them or not. You could distract the driver and someone could easily get hurtmaybe even you."
The boy gave her a pugnacious sort of look but said nothing until his uncle nudged him.
"Tell the nice lady you're sorry."
"I don't think she's very nice," he grumbled.
Again, Hope almost smiled, until she met the man's gaze and found him looking extremely una-mused by the entire situation.
"Too bad." The boy's uncleRafe, was it?frowned at him. "Tell her you're sorry anyway."
Joey looked down at the snow-covered ground again and then finally met her gaze. "I'm sorry I hit your window and not your hubcap. We don't get any points for hitting windows."
As apologies went, it was a little weak but she would still take it. She was suddenly weary of the whole situation and wanted to continue on toward the Star N and her family.
"In your defense, that window had a crack in it anyway. It probably wouldn't have shattered if it hadn't been for that."
"You're not going to be throwing any snowballs at cars again," the boy's uncle said sternly. "And you're going to tell Samantha not to do it either, right?"
"But I was winning the contest! She was gonna give me her new Darth Vader LEGO minifig if I won and I was gonna give her my Green Ninja minifig if she won."
"Too bad. The lady is right. It's dangerous. Look at the trouble you've already caused!"
The boy didn't look happy about it but he finally shrugged. "Fine."
"We'll pay for the window replacement, of course. If you get an estimate, you can have them send the bill to me here. Rafe Santiago. I'll warn you that I'm only going to be in town for another few weeks, though."
The name seemed to strike a chord deep in her subconscious. Had they met before? Something about his hazel eyesstriking against his burnished skinreminded her of someone but she couldn't seem to pin down who or where.
She didn't remember any Santiagos living in this little house before. From what she remembered of Hope's Crossing, this had always been a rental house, often used short-term for seasonal workers and such.
"I will do that." She held out her hand, deciding there was no reason they couldn't leave on good terms. "I'm Hope Nichols. You can find me at The Christmas Ranch, in Cold Creek Canyon."
At her words, something sparked in those hazel eyes but she couldn't identify it.
"Nichols?" he said sharply.
Perhaps he knew her sisters, though Faith went by her married name now, Dustin, and she couldn't imagine quiet, introverted Celeste having much to do with a rough and tumble man like him. Maybe Joey had caused trouble at the library where Celeste worked. She could believe thatthough, okay, that might be a snap judgment.
"Can I go inside?" Joey asked. "Snow got in my boots and now my feet are freezing. I need to dump it out."
"Yeah. Go ahead. Dump the snow off on the porch, not inside."
Joey raced off and after a moment, Rafe Santiagowhy was that name so familiar?turned back to her.
"I'm sorry about my nephew," he said, rather stiffly. "He's had a rough time of it the past few weeks."
She wondered what had happened, but when he didn't volunteer any further details, she accepted it was none of her business. "I'm sorry if I came down too hard."
"I didn't say you did. Whatever he's been through isn't an excuse anyway. I'll talk to him about this stupid contest and make sure he and his friend both realize it's not a good idea."
He gave her another searching look and she had the strangest feeling he wanted to say something else. When the silence stretched between them, a little too long to be comfortable, she decided she couldn't wait around for him to speak.
"I should go. My family is waiting for me. I'll be in touch, Mr. Santiago."
"Rafe," he said gruffly. Was that his normal speaking voice or did she just bring out the rough edges? she wondered.
"Rafe. Nice to meet you, even under the circumstances."
She hurried back to her pickup truck and continued on toward home, though she couldn't shake the odd feeling that something momentous had just happened.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I received an ARC copy of The Christmas Ranch from the author in exchange for an honest unbiased review. This was the first story of RaeAnne's that I have read that is not part of a series. The reason I bring this up is that some authors that I have read can not do stand alone novels well and do better sas series. For RaeAnne this was not a problem. I thought she did a great job with this novel giving you enough backstory on the characters that I felt comfortable with this just being one book if she meant it to be. In addition, I really love in all RaeAnne's books that she does a great job of knowing what she is writing. What I mean by that is that you could tell that she did research because she went more in depth on certain situations that some other writers might refrain from. I can't say there was any negatives in this book for me. I felt again that it was well written and that the characters were very well developed. If I had to say one negative it would be that if this isn't a series it should be because I would love to know more about Hope's sisters as I feel there is a lot more to know about them. I would recommend this book to romance, fiction and holiday readers as I think all would enjoy it.
Oh man, another winner from RaeAnne Thayne. Such a great Christmas story. Hope arrives home to discover that the family Christmas Ranch is closed for the season. All of her hopes for a Christmas like she remembered from her youth seem to be dashed, but she decides to dig in and make it happen, even if her family wants nothing to do with it. Hope might have bit off a little more than she can chew, but Rafe Santiago comes along to help get things rolling. I love the ranch setting and the close knit family feel of the story. Each of the characters have their own obstacles that they must overcome in the course of the story. I pretty much love anything that RaeAnne writes and The Christmas Ranch is no different. Her story telling is fantastic and characters all believable. I have yet to be disappointed when I grab a book by RaeAnne Thayne. *I received a free ecopy of this book in order to provide my honest opinion
Hope Nichols is on her way home to Pine Gulch, Idaho, after years away, when her windshield is broken by a snowball with a rock in it. The rock thrower is 7-year old Joey, who is living with his uncle while waiting for his mom’s sentencing on drug charges. To pay for the damages, Joey agrees to help Hope restore The Christmas Ranch in time to open for the upcoming holiday season. Hope’s family had decided not to open the attraction this year following the death of Hope’s brother-in-law, but Hope is determined to carry on the family tradition of opening the ranch for the holidays. Joey’s uncle, Rafe Santiago, decides to help. He knows that his life has been tangled with Hope’s for years, since he was part of a rescue team that saved Hope’s missionary family years ago. Unfortunately, it was Rafe’s first SEAL mission and Hope’s dad died during the rescue. Rafe blames himself, so doesn’t tell Hope about the connection, at least not right away. Over the course of bringing back the Christmas Ranch (which is the main theme in the book), Hope and Rafe fall in love. The story is sweet and the backdrop of the ranch is inviting. Ms. Thayne has a way of developing characters that makes you want to love them, even the incorrigible ones. The Christmas Ranch is another winner for Raeanne Thayne. If you like Christmas stories and you enjoy happily-ever-afters, you will like this book! --- I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for my review, and I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion expressed here is my own. --
As some of you may know I adore RaeAnne Thayne's work. So when Ms. Thayne has a new release I get really excited and I can not wait to read it. When it's a Christmas story oh my goodness, I'm in my glory! The Christmas Ranch is an awesome Christmas story that has a lot of emotions and Christmas spirit. I would LOVE to visit a place like the Christmas Ranch. Hope Nichols has spent years traveling the world because she is not quite sure where she belongs in the world. She suffered a traumatic event when she was a young girl that has an effect on her life. She has been through a lot and her family has recently suffered another tragedy. So she goes home to The Christmas Ranch to spend some time with her family. Her first interaction in town is an interesting one. Her second surprise isn't a pleasant one either. Her family plans to close The Christmas Ranch and not open for the holiday season. Hope takes on the challenge and gets the ranch ready for the holiday. She receives some unexpected help from Rafe Santiago and his nephew. Rafe has some things in his past to deal with as well. He has been through so much and now has his nephew to parent for a while. There are so many things I loved about this story. The first being The Christmas Ranch and the Christmas spirit that goes with it. The second is I love a story when the family is included. Both Hope and Rafe's families play a huge role in this storyline. The third thing is the little kids in this story. Oh my goodness they are all just adorable and certainly add a nice addition to the story. The fourth thing is the emotions of both Hope, Rafe, and Hope's whole family. They have so many emotions and drama to deal with. There is so much going on in this book that I could not flip the pages quick enough to see what was going to happen next. Overall I just loved this book. I felt like I really did get a chance to visit The Christmas Ranch. RaeAnne Thayne has done a fabulous job of describing such a beautiful Christmas location. I always enjoy Ms. Thayne's stories and I am anxiously awaiting the release of more of this series. I can't wait to see what she has in store for Hope's sisters. If you enjoy small town romance stories as much as I do then you are going to love this story. If you enjoy RaeAnne Thayne's work hurry, go grab your copy now because you will adore her latest release. If you enjoy a wonderful Christmas story then give this one a try. See you just can't lose there are so many things to love about this book. I was given the wonderful opportunity to read this great story so that I may share my thoughts with you. As always it has been my great pleasure to share my thoughts with you on The Christmas Ranch.
I was given an advanced copy of The Christmas Ranch by RaeAnne Thayne in exchange for an honest review. As I am a huge [go ahead, read that "rabid"] fan of Ms. Thayne's writing, the fact that I loved this book is of no surprise. TCR is a wonderful, heartwarming, thoroughly enjoyable holiday story but what I want to say in this review is there is a major piece of this book that brings my love of all Ms. Thayne's books to the forefront: she found a "plot" for this story that is so true-to-life, so current, so today, that you will be drawn in from the very beginning. What happened to our hero and heroine oh so long ago affects them both but of course, they don't realize it until they meet years later. While reading this book, it struck me that Rafe's & Hope's back story could be about two people out in the world today -- living their lives and getting into situations that we who live our own lives safe and relatively sound have no idea (it) happens all the time. But of course, it does. And Ms. Thayne takes one of those real-life stories and turns it into The Christmas Ranch; it will touch your soul. It made me think of all the people in this world who are out there "protecting" me while I sit at home and read wonderful novels. And I get my HEA! I highly recommend this book. No worries, it is a fairly quick read, but so worth it and I am looking forward to the next two books of the trilogy.
The Christmas Ranch is a beautiful Christmas story of two people, Hope and Rafe, who has experienced loss and grief, but they survived to find love and happiness. I loved how the author intertwined their lives from the past to the present and the way she brought them together. The novel setting is in a small town and that's one of my favorite places. For me, The Christmas Ranch has a great plot and RaeAnne Thayne is a fabulous author. I believe this is a wonderful book to read for the Christmas Season. The novel shows the hope, peace and joy, we all wish for at this time of the year. I truly enjoyed reading The Christmas Ranch. I received a complimentary copy from the author in exchange for my honest review. This review is one hundred percent my opinion.
The Christmas Ranch by RaeAnne Thayne Who says you can't go home again? Hope Nichols had high expectations of home being, well home. Even though sorrow had hit the homeplace in recent months, a Hope assumed all would be sparkly and bright. What she finds is just the opposite. Can she fix what needs to be fixed? Will Christmas come to The Christmas Ranch this year? Will Hope find roots and purpose in her life? Read RayAnne Thayne's The Christmas Ranch for another story of family, hope, and all things Christmas!
5 STARS I was sad to see the end. I wanted to spend more time at Christmas Ranch. The characters were real. I want to read more Sparkle books. Really magical. This is fun clean Christmas story. Hope Nichols decides to come home from teaching school abroad. She finds Christmas Ranch is closed for good and wants to reopen it with only a short time to get things fixed up and ready. Her sisters do not want too. Faith has two children. She lost her husband just months ago and has enough just to keep the ranch going with help. Celeste is a librarian who has wrote a children's book just for her niece and nephew. Aunt Mary Nichols helped raise the three girls in their teen years after they lost both parents. She has slowed down a lot now though. Rafe Santiago has come to the small town of Pine Gulch to take care of his nephew after his sister is in jail. Rafe retired from being a Seal. He is going to take his nephew back to California after his sister is sentenced. Rafe feels guilty about the mission in his past when he first met the Nichols sisters. He wants to help Hope fix up the ranch while he is in town. Christmas Ranch has reindeer petting zoo, Christmas lights scenes, tow rope for sledding, Santa Claus. It has been a tradition for years. It leaves you feeling good when your reading The Christmas Ranch. I want to read the next two books now not wanting to wait. I was given this ebook to read by Net Galley and Harlequin. In return I agreed to give honest review of The Christmas Ranch.
I love everything RaeAnne writes! I was given this book in exchange for an honest review but it would have been strange if I didn't love it! I adore the Cold Creek Cowboys series. Although this is loosely associated with that series, it is set in the same small town in Idaho. There are a couple characters that "visit" this book from the other books in that series but they don't have much of an impact to the overall story. The Christmas Ranch is the name of the ranch where Hope Nichols lived with her aunt & uncle after her parents died. She, along with 2 sisters and the aunt & uncle always had a big attraction for the area every holiday season. Hope hasn't been home for several years because she's been overseas teaching English & such but her brother-in-law recently died so she feels she should come home and help out the family. She's shocked when she finds out no one in the family wants to run the Christmas Ranch attraction that year. She decides she's going to do it by herself, even though it's a huge job. Enter, Rafe Santiago! He's only in town for a short time to take care of his nephew because his sister is in jail. He has a connection with Hope but he's not going to remind her what it is at the moment! He'll just help her get the Christmas Ranch up and running to help with all the guilt he feels! As with all books, the "secret" comes out and Rafe has to deal with the fallout. The characters have to learn forgiveness, letting go of the past, looking towards the future and deciding what will make them happy. This book got me in the mood for the holidays and I really enjoyed the characters and the storyline. I recommend!
I received an advance copy to read and give a review. The Christmas Ranch transported me to Pine Gulch where the story unfolds with Hope Nichols. After completing a teaching assignment in Morocco, Hope returns to the families Christmas Ranch to find it has been closed. She convinces her recently widowed sister Faith to give her a chance to turn things around this Christmas season. Hope has a purpose and is determined to see it through while reconnecting with her family. Sexy former Navy Seal,Rafe, and his wayward nephew Joey become a big part of the story. Does Rafe have a secret? Will Hope remember him and the role he played in her life and the life of her sisters years ago? Will Hope succeed with the Christmas Ranch? Opening night has dismal attendance. Will they have their own Christmas miracle? Many emotions are at play. Love, forgiveness and holiday joy. I am a huge fan of RaeAnne Thaynes books. The Christmas Ranch is another winner!
Wonderful heartfelt Christmas romance! Being a true fan of Christmas stories and romance, I just loved this story written by RaeAnne Thayne. It is part of the Cold Creek series but can be read as a stand alone. Since this is a book review and not a book report, I will give you a brief synopsis only. Hope NIchols comes home to Pine Gulch Idaho to be with her family (aunt and unlce and 2 sisters) after (another) family tragedy, her sister has lost her husband in an accident and after being away for years teaching English in Africa, Hope decides that it is time to go back to the only place she has ever considered "home". The three sisters were raised by their aunt and uncle after losing both parents during their teenage years. One of her favorite times of the year, the Christmas holidays, the family used to run the Christmas Ranch, which was a big holiday attraction for the area. When Hope comes home, she finds the Christmas Ranch to be "closed" and no one in her family is interested in putting in the work to open this holiday season. Hope of course feels that she MUST get the ranch fixed up and open in a short time. Along the way she meets up with a retired Navy Seal, Rafe, who is only in the area for a short time to take care of his nephew Joey while his sister is sentenced to go to jail. He does not intend on staying, but as he is taught the life lessons of love and forgiveness and the magic of family and Christmas, Rafe may change his mind. He and Hope and their families learn the true meaning of Christmas and love and forgiveness (we find out they have tragically met before many years ago). Loved the characters and the story. I am looking forward to RaeAnne writing a story for the sisters Faith and Celeste as well. Enjoyed the happy ever after and did not want it to end....
Home for the Holidays. Hope Nichols comes back home to her family's ranch that is open every Christmas season to find it closed forever. She decides to not let it ruin her Christmas spirit and wants to reopen the ranch. Read the book today to see if she can reopen the ranch. A great book for the Christmas season. It is full of hope and the Christmas spirit.
I am a huge fan of RaeAnne Thayne and this is another book that does not disappoint. Sparkle the reindeer my goodness! I want a reindeer! This was such a wonderful, emotional read, and that is what she does best. It gives a great picture of family, holidays, trying to start over again and the pain of losing family both by death and by the choices they make. Buy this book today! This is another keeper for your shelf!
Great story! Loved it!
loved this second in a trilogy. can't wait for the third story!!
Good story - only 144 pages, could have been longer.
My only complaint about this newest book by RaeAnne Thayne was that it was too short! After years of traveling the world teaching in foreign countries Hope Nichols is at a crossroads in her life. She comes back to Idaho to be with her family and looking forward to their Christmas Ranch celebration . But the family wants nothing to do with celebrating this year due to recent tragedies. Hope decides to take on the Christmas Ranch celebration by herself but receives help along the way from Rafe Santiago, a former SEAL who is a part of her family's past but Hope doesn't remember him. This was an enjoyable read and it was easy to get swept up in the story of Hope and Rafes developing romance and seeing holiday cheer return to her family. As a Christmas romance junkie I loved it!
I admit it! I am a Holiday Romance Junkie! Who knew? When I can get my hands on one of those warm-your-heart romances and it just happens to have a holiday theme and two people who need all the magic of the season, just stick me with pin and call me done! The Christmas Ranch by RaeAnne Thayne is pure feel-good magic! Two troubled people, each with pasts that formed them into the adults they are today, one magical holiday, and a family tradition to restore and I’m ready to grab my hammer and help! Hope has finally come home for the holidays, after years of avoiding pain, only to have her visions of the warmth of the family ranch sucked right out of her heart. There will be no holiday magic unless she takes it upon herself to turn the tired ranch into the Christmas Fantasy world that is an annual town event. Rafe, a trained soldier has seen his share of the ugly side of life and has come to town to take over the care of his young nephew as his sister is facing prison time. He becomes the muscle Hope needs, but can they pull the ranch together in time for the holidays? There is more than hope, love and the magic of season at work here as the hearts and lives of these people are drawn together. RaeAnne Thayne has taken her magic wand to this tale and created something beautiful, contemporary and so filled with the holiday spirit, even Scrooge will love it! Grab a cozy chair, and get ready to feel the sparkle of romance in The Christmas Ranch.
A wonderful Christmas tale! I have enjoyed all of the Cold Creek books and The Christmas Ranch was a wonderful story!
Charming is the best word for this book. The characters were both at a crossroads in their lives. They are drawn to each other as they work on getting the ranch ready for Christmas. Love Hope and her enduring spirit. She brings the holiday spirit by just being in the room. Determined to help her family and tireless in her efforts, she had me cheering for her. Rafe has beat himself up for something that wasn't his fault. But the weight of it has stayed with him for too long. When he has a chance to help Hope, he sees it as his chance to make-up for that wrong. But the longer he spends with her, the more he falls for her. A great guy who stepped in to help his sister and her son out, he needs exactly what this small town and Hope has to give him. But they are both a little stubborn. So a charming story unfolds and it's perfect for getting that holiday spirit going. Sweet and happy, this one is perfect for the romance reader who enjoys the joy or romance.
This is an enchanting Christmas story full of the essential family-ness of the season, and oh so much more. Thayne brings her characters’ pasts and present together in a big way to create an intimate yet shocking story for those who enjoy romance with a little bit more. Her seamless writing allows you to flow through this story and enjoy it. This is definitely a very character driven story. The main characters are such phenomenal individuals, so well developed and approachable, that you can’t help but love them. At the same time, it is their thoughts and decisions that propel this story into the realm of loveable. I also love the way that children and their wellbeing play a prominent role in this story. This isn’t just about 2 adults falling in love. Their families and friends are taken into account throughout. As a whole this was a very enjoyable Christmas read. It was definitely unlike any other I’ve read. Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this work in exchange for an honest review.