For years Callan Carrigan has been her father’s right hand man, so when her dad’s will names city slicker Court McAllister the new owner of The Circle C Ranch, Callan feels betrayed on every level.
Then she and her sisters find their mother’s diaries, hidden from them by their father since their mother’s accidental death 18 years ago, and the shocking revelations explain a lot. Reeling, Callan seeks refuge in the local saloon, where it seems no one can reach her, until Court offers her a challenge.
If she agrees to be foreman at the Circle C for one year, he’ll deed the ranch back to her and her sisters. The deal seems too sweet at first—until Callan realizes Court has his eyes on something she protects even more than her family’s land—her heart.
Right from the start, I had tears in my eyes when the patriarch of the Carrigan family dies. But it also shocked me when he uttered the swear word “bastard” in front of her daughter before he met his demise. This immediately peaked my interest and had me reading A Cowgirl’s Christmas until the end.
Luckily, I was able to read two of CJ Carmichael’s Carrigans of the Circle C series, so I already had an idea about the Carrigan sisters. But this latest book takes the cake, because it further explains Callan’s and her sister’s true identity. It shocked me, really, to learn about their mother and respective fathers. Yes, you read it right, there is something much deeper and intriguing about the lives of the Carrigan sisters, but somehow, Callan’s true parentage was the biggest revelation in the story. Callan spent all her life with a father who barely acknowledged or showed affection and love to her. Hawksley dying was bad enough to her, learning that he didn’t bequeath the ranch to any of his daughters just rubbed salt into Callan’s wound. Meeting Court McAllister, her father’s distant relative from St. Paul, inherited Circle C ranch instead, and now, he is offering half of the ranch to her, provided that she stay with him for at least a year. This is an offer that made Callan even more furious. How could she ever accept that deal and how could she ever live with him?
A Cowgirl’s Christmas is an entertaining and emotional read. Callan was the most affected among the Carrigan brood, having had to witness her father’s death. That itself was tear-jerker to me. Coming to terms with the truth also made me realize that life isn’t really fair. That life is full of surprises and the truth actually hurts. But above all these, Callan learned that finding one’s self and moving forward with love and acceptance helps. This is truly a wonderful read 🙂
Rita Award nominated author C.J. Carmichael has published more than 30 books with Harlequin. Right now she’s loving cowboys and Montana–those are the themes of the books she’s writing for Harlequin American.
CJ likes to write stories about romance and intrigue with a strong sense of community and family. If you enjoy her Harlequin books, you might want to check out her self-published titles. The Gift is a short novella Christmas story and A Buried Tale is a puzzler of a mystery that will keep you guessing and shock you with the surprise ending.
You’ll find both on Amazon, kobo and her website.