Dec 1 2014 1:45pm

First Look: Lacy Williams’s A Cowboy for Christmas (December 2, 2014)

A Cowboy for Christmas by Lacy WilliamsLacy Williams
A Cowboy for Christmas (Wyoming Legacy)
Harlequin / December 2, 2014 / $5.99 print, $4.99 digital

After an accident leaves her injured, Daisy Richards stays secluded at her family's Wyoming ranch to avoid the town's gawking stares. Yet handsome cowboy newcomer Ricky White insists she can do anything she dreams—ride a horse, decorate a Christmas tree…even steal a man's heart. 

Once a reckless cad, Ricky is to blame for what happened to Daisy. Now reformed, he wants to make amends by setting things right for his boss's beautiful daughter in time for the holidays. But Daisy doesn't know Ricky's responsible for her predicament. When the truth is revealed, will he lose the greatest gift he's ever received—her trust? 

A wedding reception is ordinarily a festive occasion, but Daisy is a reluctant participant. Why is she hiding at the party celebrating her father’s remarriage? What doesn’t red-haired Daisy want young men to see? Daisy is terribly self-conscious, and it feels as though time has stopped for her.

…the young men couldn’t get a glimpse of the empty, pinned-up sleeve on her right side. The dress was slightly out of style. The calico material wasn’t really suitable for this winter wedding. And it didn’t fit quite right after the weight she’d lost during her recovery and those long summer days she’d spent grieving and found it hard to eat.

While her younger sister has started to primp and flirt and her father has remarried, Daisy is trapped in self-pity and sadness. She no longer goes to church or attends socials. Her new stepmother’s young sons are full of beans and mischief but their energy makes Daisy uncomfortable.

It was Daisy who was stuck in the mire. Who couldn’t move on from the accident that had taken her arm and changed everything. Daisy ducked into the kitchen, praying for a reprieve, but everyone seemed to follow her.

We soon learn that Ricky White, the young man responsible for Daisy’s accident, also works for her father. Daisy has no memory of the horrific event that changed her life, but Ricky is still filled with guilt. He is desperate to make amends for his actions. 

She needed to reclaim her life; he intended to find a way to help her do so. But first he had to speak to her. He meandered up to the counter, taking in the scent of hot coffee and the warmth emanating from the stove.

Ricky isn’t the only person trying to cajole, encourage, tempt, and push Daisy back into an active life. What will force her out of her comfort zone—lonely, true, but safe and familiar? Before he leaves on his honeymoon, Daisy’s father tells her to take care of his new stepsons.

“I’m trusting you to take care of the boys while we’re gone.” Why? Daisy wanted to ask. But she didn’t dare. Her father was used to running his successful spread. Not used to disobedience. Daisy forced a faint smile for him. 

The crystalline beauty of a Wyoming winter beckons Daisy. A snowfall tempts her outside and she manages to take Ricky by surprise, knocking off his hat, and “pressing a handful of wet snow into his hair.” Is this the breakthrough Ricky needs?

He mock-glared up at her; her eyes popped bright against the blue sky behind her. She shrieked and darted behind the tree. He scrambled to get off the ground and chased her.

She’d forgotten about her tentativeness, forgotten to be careful as she darted between the trees, often ducking to scoop up more snow and lob it at him.
Her stepmother Audra is relentless in her mission to get Daisy to stop hiding from life. Daisy tells Ricky, “She wants me to attend a Christmas party,” she admitted in a whisper. “And I can’t go—I can’t face my friends.” Ricky tries to assure Daisy that Audra isn’t being malicious. He tells her that she’s “still beautiful. Strong.” But Daisy’s lack of competence in her day-to-day life discourages her on an hourly basis. When she and Ricky are surprised by a fast-rising storm, she needs Ricky’s help to make it from the barn back to the house.

Wind buffeted them and snow was already drifting, making traversing the yard between barn and house feel as if they were climbing a mountain instead of just crossing the yard. Her feet dragged against the drifts.

Daisy was very frightened by not just the weather, but by her inability to make it through the blizzard on her own. It takes a flu epidemic that fells everyone on the ranch to show Daisy—and her family—that she can rise to the occasion when it’s warranted. She and Ricky are the only two who don’t get sick. Who has time to feel self-pity while working around the clock to keep a sick family alive? She’s helped in her tasks by inveterate inventor Ricky, who creates a number of devices to make it easier for a one-armed woman to cut bread, pour milk, and even saddle her horse. Unsurprisingly, they’re attracted to each other but nothing happens. Daisy confronts Ricky: why doesn’t he want to kiss her? 

“You think I don’t want to kiss you?” He grated the words, as if it was hard to speak them.

“I know you don’t.”

“You don’t know anything.”

He reached for her, and before she could even think that she should push him away—that she didn’t want a pity kiss from him—he’d cupped her jaw, his calloused palm sliding along her cheek and sending sparks flying like a summer cowboy campfire.

And yet Ricky still can’t, won’t, isn’t able to close the distance between them. Courage manifests itself in small, imperceptible steps, like when Daisy closes the gap between them, even though she’s afraid of embarrassing herself.

She knew about fear. She’d been living it daily for these past lonely months. She exhaled, allowing the motion to carry her closer until their lips brushed together. It was like putting a match to tinder.

Their incendiary embrace paves the way for love to flourish, for Ricky to find the courage to tell Daisy about his role in her accident, and ultimately, for Daisy to forgive Ricky. She tells Ricky, speaking from her heart that no matter what anyone “thinks or says about you … I know the man you are now.” And Ricky knows the courageous, captivating, capable woman that Daisy is now. A Cowboy for Christmas is a sweet Western historical, where Daisy and Ricky transcend their difficulties and self-doubts to embrace a future filled with possibility. 

Learn more about or pre-order a copy of A Cowboy for Christmas by Lacy Williams, available December 2:

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Janet Webb aka @janetnorcal has unpredictable opinions on books. Season ticket holder of the Oakland Athletics baseball team. Social media devotee. Stories on royals and politics catch my eye. Ottawa born. Grew up on Georgette Heyer and Mary Stewart. When I rediscovered the world of romance, my spirit guide was All About Romance's Desert Island Keepers — I started with the “A” authors and never looked back.

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1 comment
Wendy the Super Librarian
1. SuperWendy
Lacy Williams has quickly become my go-to "comfort read." Her books give me that cozy feeling without too much saccaharine (praise the Lord and pass the potatoes!) or preachiness. My favorite of this series is probably Maxwell's book (Return of the Cowboy Doctor) but my favorite favorite of hers is still probably her debut - Marrying Miss Marshal.
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