The Christmas Cookie Chronicles: Raylene by Lori Wilde
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers – Avon Impulse
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (90 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Kennedia
Come join a meeting of the First Love Cookie Club!
“On Christmas Eve, if you sleep with kismet cookies under your pillow and dream of your own true love, he will be your destiny.”
It’s Christmas time at the Horny Toad Tavern, located in the heart of Twilight, TX. Elvis is on the jukebox, the lights twinkle outside…and inside, Raylene Pringle is wondering if it’s going to be another “Blue Christmas” without her true love, Earl.
But things are about to change—because ‘tis the season for unexpected romance and a surprise mother/daughter reunion…reminding Raylene that you should never disbelieve the legend of the kismet cookies!
Christmas in Twilight, Texas is filled with magic, love and hokey holiday traditions that make a reader want to keep coming back to this wonderful town with its spectacular cast of characters. This is a short holiday read that will have you captivated by not one but two emotional love stories, one old and one new.
It's nearly Christmas in Twilight and Raylene Pringle has a major case of the holiday blues. She's had no word from Earl since last Christmas, needs to hire a cocktail waitress for the Horny Toad Tavern and harbors feelings of regret for the daughter she gave up so long ago. Raylene's story is a carry-over from Wilde's First Love Cookie Club however it is only a secondary plot in this story.
The main love story here is for Shannon Dugan, a polished New York socialite who has come to Twilight to confront the mother who gave her up at birth and never looked back. Shannon is struggling to get her life back together. Her life was turned upside down last Christmas with the passing of her grandfather, discovering her husband was a con man who cleaned out her bank accounts and then the visit from Earl Pringle with the shocking news that her birth mother was alive and well in Twilight, Texas. Shannon has come to Twilight to get some answers and gets more than she bargained for, a man who wants her and maybe a new start on life.
Nate Deavers, the hero of this story is a retired Navy SEAL now a gas rig worker who is trying to forget his memories of the war in Afghanistan. Nate is a regular of the Horny Toad Tavern, who drops in for one drink and a little company. Then one fateful day he catches sight of a gorgeous pair of legs and then the profile of the owner of those spectacular legs and Nate knows he is a goner. He wants nothing more than to get to know Shannon and comes on strong and yet so sweetly. He is one of those brooding, strong and silent types who is looking for that one person who is his other half and isn't afraid to wait for her to come along. He believes Shannon is that one.
Lori Wilde never ceases to amaze me with her talent for creating a story that grabs a reader's emotions and won't let go. This story made me feel a gamut of emotions from sadness for Raylene, sympathy for Shannon and made me want to cheer for Nate. Wilde gives her readers true insight into her characters' minds with vivid descriptions and imagery and a romantic story that pulls on our heartstrings. Although it may not be necessary to read the other stories in Wilde's Twilight series, I would recommend that readers at least read The First Love Cookie Club before reading this particular short story, only because this story is really a continuation from there and I think readers will be able to understand this story better and like it that much more.
The Christmas Cookie Chronicles: Raylene was another great addition to Wilde's Twilight series which is a favorite of this reader and I recommend picking this up if you like one of those feel good holiday stories with a little laughter, a little tears and a really happy ending.