Book Recommendation – The Cowboy’s Christmas Reunion by Valerie Comer

Book Description:

Cowboy Santa: helping his ex-fiancée have a merry little Christmas…

When Kade Delgado joins his buddies in a Cowboy Santa program to shower Christmas blessings on old folks and single moms, he doesn’t expect his former fiancée to return to Saddle Springs, in need and with a child in tow. Does God really expect him to treat Cheri the same as the others on his new Christmas list?

Cheri Mackenzie has never forgiven herself for the pain she caused Kade by fleeing a week before their wedding, but undoing the past is impossible. Circumstances force her back to her aging grandparents’ Montana ranch, where Kade, now a widower with a toddler, is making himself cheerfully indispensable. When she receives kindness instead of the hostility she surely deserves, she can’t help but pray for a Christmas reunion with the cowboy she’s never stopped loving.Is there any hope for a second chance at love?

Narelle’s Thoughts:

The Cowboy’s Christmas Reunion is set in small town Montana. I’ve enjoyed Valerie’s rural romance series and I’m excited to see her writing a cowboy series.

Cheri made a poor decision six and a half years ago that led to a string of unintended and disastrous consequences. She has always regretted running away from Kade and disappearing from Saddle Springs a week before their wedding day.

Kade has never gotten over how Cheri, the woman he’d loved, had left him. Years later Kade is working on the family ranch with his brothers, and he’s now a widower with an adorable two-year-old son, Jericho.

Cheri is hiding secrets and her primary goal is to keep her sweet six-year-old daughter, Harmony, safe. Cheri’s return to Saddle Springs has Kade doing the math and coming up with an answer that’s not palatable. Cheri is only staying in Saddle Springs for a short time to help out her elderly grandparents who live on their rundown family ranch.

A snowstorm unexpectedly throws Kade and Cheri together, and starts them on an emotional roller coaster journey to forgiveness and healing and restored love. This story has many layers and will pull at your heartstrings. I loved how the kids, Harmony and Jericho, bonded with each other.

During the story we meet James and Lauren who will feature in the next book in the series, The Cowboy’s Mixed-Up Matchmaker (Montana Ranches Christian Romance, Book 2).

If you’ve read Valerie’s Arcadia Valley books, you’ll know Cheri. She’s Alaina’s best friend and worked as Alaina’s assistant at Grace Greenhouse Children’s Center.

The Cowboy’s Christmas Reunion is an emotion-charged reunion romance story with a strong faith and forgiveness theme.

USA trip: The Great Train Adventure

Last Friday I shared the highlights from watching my first live American baseball game in Seattle. Suzie is a big fan of train travel and we decided to travel together to the ACFW writing conference in Indianapolis on the train. The Amtrak Empire Builder train travels along the main northern train line from Seattle to Chicago. Our plan was to catch a connecting train in Chicago to Indianapolis. Below is a photo of the Empire Builder train at King Street Station, Seattle.

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Suzie and I shared a roomette. During the day we had two seats facing each other, with a fold up table between us. At night the seats converted into a lower bed and an overhead shelf was pulled down to create an upper bunk bed. The sleeper carriages have an attendant who looks after you, and all your meals are provided in the dining car.

Amtrak have recently announced their new Writer in Residency program. They are offering free trips for writers, and I can understand why many writers are interested in applying. Suzie and I spent most of our time on the train writing and brainstorming new book proposals while we enjoyed the scenery. I started brainstorming and outlining three new book proposals that I hope to sell to my publisher.

There is something inherently relaxing about train travel. I didn’t get a lot of writing done on my current work in progress (The Doctor’s Return, August 2014 release) despite having a deadline less than three months later. My problem (if you can call it a problem, lol) was that I was entranced by the view outside the window. I’m used to seeing gum trees in Australia. The Pacific North West, for example, was a big distraction with miles of fir trees in the gorgeous Cascade Mountains.

We spent two nights on the train. The sun set on our first night while we travelling in Washington toward Spokane. We travelled overnight through the northern part of Idaho and woke up in Montana. The photo below was taken from the train in Montana.

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The Canadian Rockies were on the far northern horizon as we continued our journey through Montana toward North Dakota. The Amtrak staff were super-helpful and the servers quickly learned how I like my English-style cups of hot tea with two percent milk instead of cream. I also tasted grits for the first time, courtesy of another passenger who shared our breakfast table. We met some interesting people during our meal times, and I was delighted to meet a group of Aussies who were travelling to Minnesota.

I’ve always wanted to see prairies, since I was a little girl who loved Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books and the Little House on the Prairie tv series. We travelled through hundreds of miles of flat prairie and beautiful mountain scenery in Montana.

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The sun set in Montana on our second night and we woke in the morning in North Dakota, not far from Fargo. We were supposed to be in Minnesota by morning and stopping for 45 minutes in St. Paul. Suzie and I had arranged to meet our other writing critique partner, Stacy Monson, at St. Paul station. We ended up seeing Stacy for ten minutes on the train station platform. Those precious minutes were a highlight of my trip.

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I was thrilled to see the Mississippi River for the first time in Minnesota. At one stage we stopped beside the river for half an hour while we waited for a freight train to pass us. The stops along the river provided great photo opportunities and another distraction from writing.

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By lunch time on our second day in Minnesota, we knew for certain that we were going to miss our train connection in Chicago to Indianapolis. The Amtrak staff were helpful, and kept us updated on our options during the afternoon and early evening as we travelled into Wisconsin. The sun set before we reached Milwaukee and travelled along Lake Michigan to Chicago, Illinois.

Stop by next Friday to learn about our unexpected overnight stop in Chicago and impromptu road trip to Indianapolis.