A HAPPY REUNION?
Way back when, Hunter Boone thought he and Josie Stephens had something that would last forever. Then she got her ticket out of town and took off—alone. The hurt nearly tore him apart. By the time Josie realized she’d made a mistake, Hunter had already married.
Now Josie’s back in Stonewall Crossing, and while instant fire flares between them, she can’t come between the now single dad and his son. As the whole town gets ready for Christmas, Josie finds it hard to avoid Hunter. No matter how much he tempts her with the promise of a future together, she has to tell herself—for her own survival—that relationships just aren’t her thing…
Dear Ms. Summers,
I’ve liked your SF romance and I’ve loved one of your fantasy historicals. When I saw this book at the Harlequin website, I decided to see what I thought about a plain, vanilla contemporary with cowboys. The answer is it’s “okay” but not as good IMO as those other genres.
“A Cowboy’s Christmas Reunion” takes a lot of romance tropes and mixes them together in the story batter. Small town America, a character who fled from there years ago thus breaking the heart of the other main character but who is now drawn back by family obligations, a bakery (thus the batter allusion), well meaning but meddlesome family, Christmas (tis getting near the Season) and cowboys in Texas. It also tosses in a senior romance subplot as a bonus.
Josie is the one who hightailed it out of Stonewell Crossing leaving Hunter behind. Now her invalid father needs help in his bakery – though why Josie has to be the one as half the town seems to show up during the story and make gingerbread batter for it – and she’s come back. Though not for long, she vows.
Hunter stayed and got married to a Harlequin “no good tramp” who only appears to break her son’s heart and cause grief. Hunter also became a veterinarian and along with his three brothers (future sequel bait) has developed the family ranch into a thriving enterprise. For all his obligations, Hunter has an abundance of time on his hands to help Josie, her father and the family dog when needed.
Misunderstandings abound. Josie and Hunter do-si-do up to the point of getting everything straightened out only to swing away right before clearing things up. Rinse, repeat. Then when that gets squared away, past feelings and insecurities pop up and send the romance skidding around some more. Meanwhile helpful, or manipulative – take your pick, people and family members attempt to get our lovebirds back on the road to their HEA.
There’s nothing awful or bad here. But also not much that’s new at all. I could see everything coming like road signs up ahead along the way. I did like Hunter’s determination – managed without him coming across as scary possessive – to not let Josie get away again. His relationship with his son Eli was well done too and shows how hard it is to strike a balance in child raising.
All in all this is a nice book, an easy way to spend an afternoon or evening. It has nice people – except for the trampy first wife – slowly working out long held issues and finally taking a chance on long term happy. But for long time romance readers there’s nothing new here either. C