Stand Alone Title: yes
Author: Barbara Ankrum
Genre: Romance, Holiday
Blurb: After nine, lonely years as a military wife, Holly McGuire has returned to her late husband’s home town of Marietta, Montana, to finally close that chapter of her life and begin again. She’s spent the last year rediscovering herself and she’s sworn off military men. All she wants is a child of on her own—no strings attached. But her plans are threatened when old, unwanted sparks ignite between her and her husband’s one-time best friend.
Buttoning up the past isn’t what Trey Reyes has in mind when he welcomes Holly to town. Secretly in love with her since day one, his old vow to his friend to watch over her, come what may, doesn’t include enabling a terrible idea. As the men of their old unit—the Band of Brothers—gather to honor her husband, Trey must take one last stand to win her heart and prove Holly wrong about him. Christmas in Marietta, with all the trimmings, may be just the ticket.
Favorite quote(s)/excerpt(s): “Really?” she said to the sky. “Really? That’s your message? Bird poop?”
“See, she’s a widow now. And suddenly free. Something I never expected would happen.”
Holly blinked. Then blanched. What?
“Never in a thousand years would I have made a move on he, because her husband was my best friend. For years.”
“I don’t even think she knew how I felt about her. All those years. All the times I thought about her, wondered about if things had been different. If her husband weren’t so careless with her heart. If she ever would have considered falling for another ex-soldier after the one she married.”
She sat her wineglass down. Oh my God.
“I wouldn’t blame her if she didn’,” he went on. “Even though I knew she loved him, she had a rough time. She may even be off relationships entirely.”
Holly swallowed past the lump in her throat. “Okay, before I jump to any stupid conclusion here about who ‘she’ is-“
He turned towards her, making her feel small with his size. “Go ahead. Jump. It’s you.”
Thoughts: I love the raw emotion and angst of a forbidden romance – particularly when one of the characters has been eating their heart out over the other for years. Even better if the other character was completely clueless to that fact. Holly was also loyal to a fault, which made her an amazingly likeable character. The author managed to thrown in a unique situation to complicate things a little further and to throw these two lovebirds together – Holly wants a baby. After trying to convince her husband for years to have a baby – and finally resigning herself to a life of not having one and spending a year fulfilling her husband’s last dying wishes – she decides to take matters into her own hands. She picks one of the men her husband trusted with his life – and the kicker is that it’s not Trey. Rather she picks the one most likely to leave her to the role of single mother without becoming invested himself. Trey’s not about to let that happen – not when he’s been in love with Holly for years. Will a Christmas miracle bring them together?
The book was a little dry in the beginning, but the emotions slowly started seeping in and before you know it your caught up in their story.
The perfect read for this holiday season!