Cowboy's Christmas Baby (Book 2, Cowboys and Brides Series)
by Carolyn Brown
Publication Date: September 24, 2013 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
My Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
'Tis the season for...
A pistol-totin' woman who's no angel
A tough rancher who doesn't believe in miracles
Love that warms the coldest nights
After a year in Kuwait, Lucas Allen can't wait to get back to his ranch for Christmas and meet his gorgeous Internet pal in person.
When he pulls in, there's Natalie Clark right in his front yard with a pink pistol in her hand and a dead coyote at her feet.
Lucas is unfazed. But wait...is that a BABY in her arms?
A recent email from Momma enclosed a reading assignment and a couple of romance books (NOT the reading assignment). Yes, boys and girls, Momma still gives out assignments. So like the good, obedient student I have always been, I started on something else. How could I resist a good cowboy romance over an assignment?
Carolyn Brown writes a mean romance. A Cowboy's Christmas Baby turns out to be the second of a series of four (first is Billion Dollar Cowboy) and makes a story all by itself. There is a short mention of the other three cowboys since they're all friends but this novel can easily stand alone.
Lucas is the entire sexy cowboy package - plus. This is a dedicated rancher who also volunteers to serve his country and does what he thinks would make a great Christmas surprise for his family. He comes home earlier than expected.
He finds a bigger surprise, though. The woman he'd been dating on the internet throughout his Kuwait tour stands on his porch, holding a baby and a smoking pink (Really? I'd prefer a blued Colt myself!) pistol. Natalie is a rancher too, working on her Dad's spread that's bigger than what Lucas owns. She loves cattle, cooking, and guns; not necessarily in that order.
Ms. Brown paints a real picture of Lucas. He's survived Kuwait, the death of a close friend (who is also Natalie's best friend), is painfully working through fitting into the normal world and getting over the nightmares that plague him every night. I'm glad that she acknowledged the difficulties the soldiers have, not only the stresses on their tour of duty but the very real adjustment problems many don't realize wait for them in their safe place - home.
It's people like his understanding family and strong characters like Natalie who help most in these situations. Natalie herself is wounded by the death of her best friend Drew who also happens to be the father of her child. Together, they deal with their grief and make a family for little Joshua while living up to the wild rumors of Lucas having a secret bride and baby.
When you throw in their Three Wise Men into this matchmaking mix, it becomes a really laugh-provoking, Merry Christmas. Are you confused yet? Good! Needless to say, I started immediately on the next (actually the first) book.