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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Texan's Christmas by Linda Warren

The Texan's Christmas by Linda Warren
Publisher: Harlequin Super Romance
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (283 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 books
Revieweed by Camellia

Asking for a favor from a woman scorned isn't Cisco "Kid" Hardin's smartest move. But he needs Lucinda "Lucky" Littlefield's land for his oil company. Surely enough time has passed since he left her—and his promises—behind?

Apparently not, because Lucky still holds a lot of resentment.

Then Kid learns of the baby Lucky lost—their baby—and he's determined to right his wrongs. He needs to prove he's a man worthy of her love and trust. And he plans to do it by transforming his sins of the past into the most glorious holiday season she has ever seen.

Mercy, how actions and decisions of teenage years impact adult life!

Linda Warren takes the reader to High Cotton, Texas, to revisit the Hardin boys. Cisco “Kid” Hardin and Lucinda “Lucky” Littlefield’s reunion after twenty years sweeps the reader into a maelstrom of memories and emotions that flood back in. Even though each of them have moved on to be successful in their own way, the hurts and misdeeds of their youth, long tamped down, resurface causing heart-wrenching conflicts.

Kid Hardin, now in his late thirties, is emotionally stuck in his teens and acts accordingly. A charmer, he is accepted by family and friends as a chip-off-the-old-block who loves women, loves to party and have fun. Few see his teasing and making jokes as a cover-up to hide his real feelings and insecurities. Seeing his brothers, Cadde and Chance married with children, has Kid wishing for a family of his own. But he seems to have no clue as to how he can get his life on track. Even though he is a success in the family oil business, his personal life suffers from things that happened when he was at a vulnerable age. Even with the support of family and friends, he ends up with a rough row to hoe before he truly grows up. The reader gets to vicariously share some of the heartbreaking, world-shaking, and adrenalin-pumping happenings that bring him to a clear self-awareness.

Lucky lives with bitter hurt, sadness and a hard knot of unforgiveness in her heart. She functions with a controlled determination in a job that gives her self-confidence, a sense of self-worth, and makes her feel good about helping others. She runs “The Beer Joint” her dad use to run, but she does it for a secret reason. She copes with the gossipers in High Cotton where everyone has known her all her life. But when Kid returns and wants something from her, she balks, and anger rather than good judgment rules her actions. Life gets complicated.

Kid and Lucky must face old facts and happenings, and then sort them out, each in his or her own way. The conflicts, hurts, and lack of trust make it hard to accept that the past cannot be changed, but must be acknowledged and laid to rest.

How love, strong and enduring, rises like a Phoenix from the ashes makes The Texan's Christmas compelling.

Linda Warren gives the reader another visit with the indomitable Hardin boys, who have become men of note in business, family, and solidarity. Cadde and Chance’s stories of how they found and married their wives are in the previous Hardin Boys books—good reading. The protective, accepting love the Hardin men have for their women and children reaches right in and squeezes the heart.

The secondary characters rev up the tension, stirs up trouble, and bring more than their share of conflict to the mix. Many of these characters have their own agendas, creating sib-plots that add even more excitement to the action. Bubba Joe and his mother add a unique touch to the story.

The humor that crops up from time to time gives comic relief, while wild train rides, getting shot at, chasing rustlers, and sizzling love pump up the adrenaline. Best of all, through sadness and hurt, love overrides all else allowing the hero and heroine to find their way back to each other in a grownup relationship.

Linda Warren is an amazing storyteller. She captures the reader’s attention and carries it along on a journey full of twists and turn as Kid and Lucky start making happy memories rather than sad ones. After twenty years, Lucky’s Christmas sparkles with happiness and love—true, grownup love. Kid makes it happen. They will have their hard-won happy-ever-after.