May Contain Spoilers
I really enjoy Donna Alward’s Harlequin Romances, so I was looking forward to reading A Cadence Creek Christmas. I love cowboys and small town romances, and most of Alward’s books have both. This is a winning combination for me, probably because, like most people crammed into a metro area, there is too much traffic, too much rushing around, and too much stress. Small town romances leave me feeling a little more relaxed, and I wonder if I would actually be able to live in a small town. I hate shopping, especially lately, and Amazon delivers everywhere, so as long as a cable modem was available, I think I’d get on famously. And cowboys? I just can’t resist a cowboy story. These guys actually ride horses and like doing it! My guy has been to the barn one time, and that’s when I was dropping something off – he wouldn’t even come look at my horses! Though as long as he doesn’t complain that I’m there so often, I guess I can’t complain too much about that…
Taylor Shepard is in Cadence Creek, organizing her brother’s wedding to Avery (the protagonists from Little Cowgirl on His Doorstep). She’s also going to stay in Cadence Creek over the Christmas holidays to decompress. The owner of successful event planning company, she’s been run ragged by her wealthy clients and their outrageous requests. While the money is good, she isn’t finding much satisfaction from her work, especially after meeting Rhys, the somber cowboy who is a friend of Callum’s and a member of the wedding party. As Taylor spends more time with Rhys and gets to know him better, she can no longer hide her attraction to him. She doesn’t want to get involved with him, though, because she’ll be leaving town soon and heading back to her life in the big city.
A Cadence Creek Christmas is a sweet read about two people searching for the happiness that’s lacking in their lives. Neither Taylor nor Rhys is miserable, but they both feel that something is lacking and keeping them from finding true happiness. Rhys has moved back to town after losing his own business, and now he’s wary about small businesses and small business owners. He feels that he let a lot of people down when he was forced to close up shop, and he never wants to feel like that again. Now he’s working a steady job for a steady paycheck, and he’s content with that. He’s also helping his mother run the local diner, and though he’s a silent partner, he doesn’t want anyone to know about his involvement. His father was a terrible businessman, and Rhys doesn’t want to follow in his footsteps anymore than he already has. He is now completely risk adverse, and when Taylor blows into town with the winter cold, he knows he’s in trouble. Taylor is trouble with a capital T!
Taylor can’t understand why a man as smart and capable as Rhys is content working for others. He could easily be his own boss, instead of punching a clock. Taylor’s family is filled with one success story after another, so she feels a lot of pressure to succeed as well. There is no other option for her. Her relationship with her father is strained because she feels that he looks down at her work. Her brothers are both very successful, and they are the apple of her father’s eye. She is struggling to gain his acceptance, and this need to strive to be the best all hinges around her father’s less than stellar opinion of her. She just wants the same approval that he lavishes on her brothers, but she despairs that she will never receive it.
Because Taylor is so driven, and also so outspoken, she and Rhys hit it off at first as well as oil and water. There is no middle ground for them, but because they are so different, they aren’t willing to look for any, either. As she gets to know him, Taylor begins to see his strengths; his loyalty, his truthfulness, his steadiness. This is what I loved about this book – even though Rhys and Taylor are so very different, they both begin to see the other as the anchor that’s been missing from their lives. They both need a rock to lean on, to be what the other needs. They are a natural fit; it just takes them a long time to figure it out. I was worried that I wouldn’t like the resolution to their greatest conflict, but I needn’t have. Everything works out neatly, and neither character is forced to change who they are to make the other happy. Rhys can continue to be the calming influence that Taylor needs, while she is free to hustle for her business, but in a new, more meaningful way for her. Perfect!
A Cadence Creek Christmas will fill your need for a sweet holiday romance.
Review copy provided by author – Thank you!
It’s Christmas in Donna Alward’s Cadence Creek…
Taylor Shepard has come to Cadence Creek to organize her brother’s Christmas wedding. Organizing such a special event might be a little bit stressful—but she can’t deny she’s swept away by the town’s holiday charm…and by brooding rancher Rhys Bullock.
Loner Rhys has been burned far too many times in the past. He’s sure he has city girl Taylor all figured out—she’ll be hightailing it straight back to the city in a few days! But as the snow starts to fall, Rhys and Taylor embark on a tentative winter romance. Could Taylor be the Christmas present Rhys never even knew he wanted?