Thanks for joining me on my stop of the
Published: 13 November 2020
Series: High Country Marshals Book 3
Warnings: Violence, sexual assault
Christmas promises to be anything but merry for Robin Matthews who is waging a losing battle to keep her ranch and her family together. So when rugged ex-Marshal Nathaniel Hollister grudgingly agrees to help her run the Rocking M temporarily, he appears to be the answer to her prayers. But with Christmas fast approaching, Robin is going to need a miracle to keep from losing everything, including her heart to this kind but bitter man.
Though his attraction to her is growing by the day, Nathaniel knows he is too world-weary for a decent young woman like Robin. Once the most infamous lawman in the West, he turned in his badge after a tragedy left him guilt stricken and disillusioned. And yet Nathaniel is about to discover that the magic of Christmas has a way of making the impossible possible… and turning wishes into simple gifts that can last a lifetime.
* Simple Gifts was originally published as A Cowboy for Christmas from Kensington (2000)
If you hadn’t been there, I could have handled things just fine on my own. I probably wouldn’t have even been shot,” Robin said defiantly. She was sitting upright in her bed now, the covers she had tucked so modestly under her arms long ago forgotten in the blaze of her anger. The well-worn fabric clung to the sweet swell of her breasts.
As he stared at her, his awareness of her as a woman came rushing back in a dangerous tide. Lord, Robin Matthews was pretty when she was in a temper. Her cheeks were flushed with color and her green eyes sparked fire. With that golden braid of hair falling over her shoulder, she looked soft and feminine and far too delectable for his peace of mind. He was painfully aware that he was alone with her in her bedroom, and that she was wearing just a nightgown and not much else. He remembered how good and soft she’d felt while he carried her home, and he could still remember clearly the way her hair had smelled of roses and lavender.
A part of him wanted to take her into his arms, sink back with her into that featherbed, and make her forget all about her precious ranch. He knew she wasn’t indifferent to him. He saw the small looks she slanted his way when she thought he wasn’t aware. It would be good between them. He’d help her turn some of that passion she felt for her ranch toward loving, and it would be better than good.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I read Simple Gifts in a few sittings and each time I picked it up to start reading, I felt like I was being transported back to the old west. The language used and descriptions weaved by Anna DeForest were all so appropriate to the mood of the setting that I felt like I was being carried off to another time.
In this story, our leading lady is Robin Matthews. She runs a cattle spread in the mountains of Colorado with her younger siblings. She took over the running of the place, along with raising the younger family members, after the death of her parents a few years ago. Robin is a strong woman, facing what seems to many to be insurmountable obstacles. But she holds strong to her belief that she can defeat the odds.
Nathaniel is a man with a past. He is ten years older than Robin and he feels that the experiences of his past, in addition to those extra ten years, have made him into a man who is not worthy of being with someone like Robin. But he is doing battle with himself, as she is everything he wants.
I loved the story between Robin and Nathaniel. The progression of their relationship was really sweet and I enjoyed the way it gently built. They both had struggles to overcome and they complemented each other as they faced their challenges.
I also really liked the other characters in this story. We really get to know Robin’s younger brothers and sisters, who all have important roles to play amongst the day to day running of things. I even enjoyed the dirty dudes in this story. There were some real bad boys that were making regular appearances, but each time they did, the responses of our main characters gave me another opportunity to find more things to like about Nathaniel and Robin.
Potential spoiler alert!
I don’t normally do spoilers and I’m going to try to keep it to a minimum this time too, but there is a part of this story that will matter to some readers, so I’m going to give it a moment of attention. (Look away now to skip the spoiler.) It is not a big part of Simple Gifts, but attempted sexual assault does come into it. And once it gets addressed, it has an ongoing effect to the undercurrent of the story from that point onwards. It’s not described with any particular detail nor is it given an inordinate amount of focus, but it is there.
Ok it’s safe to look again now.
I recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of old west romances, as Anna DeForest paints the time period so very well. And as an added bonus, I got totally sucked in by the excerpt at the end from the next title in the series, Golden Dreams. It sounds great! So now I have another title on my list to look forward to.
Thank you to the author, Anna DeForest, and Goddess Fish Promotions, for my copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Anna DeForest wrote her first book-length piece of fiction in fifth grade. She taught history at the Colorado Heritage Center and a Denver private school. She was thrilled when Leisure Books bought her first historical romance, Golden Dreams. She was actually watching Sesame Street with her four-year-old when she received the good news call from her agent, but she managed to tear herself away from Big Bird long enough to listen to the terms of her new contract.
Growing up in Colorado gave Anna a lifelong taste for outdoor activities such as hiking, riding and skiing. She also enjoys gardening, which is currently quite a challenge because armadillos keep rooting around in her garden in Dallas.
Anna has always tried to write the kind of romances she likes to read—stories about warm, caring people who pursue their lives and loves with passion. These days, Anna is excited about offering four of her previously published romances to her new readers, along with three romances that have never been published before. You can learn more about Anna and her books at http://www.annadeforest.com.
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