Thursday, October 23, 2014

Rocky Mountain Miracle by Christine Feehan

No Christmas will ever be the same after Cole and Maia meet on a snowy western ranch… Find out why in #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan’s romantic holiday e-novella!

When Cole Steele, a womanizer rumored to have killed his father, meets Maia Armstrong, a veterinarian rumored to practice magic, the sizzling romance could melt all the snow on his Wyoming ranch. And when an injured horse brings them together, Cole can’t help but believe that Maia casts spells on animals—and men. What else could explain the burning passion he feels for her and the thawing of his heart just in time for Christmas?

Publisher and Release Date: Simon and Schuster November 17, 2014

Time & Setting: Contemporary, Wyoming

Heat Level: 1

Rating: 3.5 Gold Crowns

Reviewed by Vikki

I received an Advanced Reader Copy from Net Galley for an honest review. I have read Ms. Feehan’s Carpathian series and love her vibrant writing style. While this story is vastly different from that series, I thoroughly enjoyed Rocky Mountain Miracle. While it’s not what I would call a “feel good” holiday story, it has an important message. Instead it deals with the serious issue of child abuse and how it can affect one’s life, wrapped up in a way to show how miracles really can and do happen at Christmas.

The story starts out with the two half-brothers coming together after their abusive father’s death, and Cole Steele finding out he has custody of his much younger fourteen year old brother. Cole did not even know he had a brother until after the sadistic father dies. Both are wary of each other as they struggle to get to know one another. One thing they find they do have in common is the hatred of anything to do with Christmas. Their father was particularly brutal at that time of year. Even though they were not aware of each other, their experiences with their father were the very much the same.

A cloud hangs over Cole with whisper and innuendoes following him everywhere he goes. At a diner in town, several men blatantly talk about him, not even bothering to lower their voices. Maia Armstrong, a traveling veterinarian, filling in for the local doctor, speaks up and defends him against the men in a startling way, catching Cole’s attention in a big way. An attraction stronger than a cold winter blast hits him, and he has to have this woman. He quickly finds out Maia is not interested in a one night stand, which is all he thinks he wants, no matter how drawn he is to her. However, he can’t leave her alone and goes to the local bar where Maia plays the drums for a small home-grown band. Every night, he watches her, trying to get her attention, but Maia keeps her distance, telling him to pick one of the much more willing women vying for his attention.

An injured horse and a fierce snow storm bring the pair together at Cole’s ranch for the duration. The rest of the story has them fighting their growing attraction for each other as unexplained accidents keep happening.

This is where the story line starts to lose a bit of its credibility in my estimation. The mystery and intrigue, while interesting, does not seem believable. I will not give any details, but I questioned the motive given for the villain in this tale. As the story unfolds and more is brought to light concerning the severity of the abuse the brothers suffered, I feel it is a tad overly dramatic. If the man did so many terrible things to them, it’s hard to imagine so many people turned a blind eye.

The romance between Maia and Cole develops slowly at first, as they fight the huge sexual attraction they have for each other. But then, in a matter of a few days, they fall madly in love. I do realize this is a novella, and the author could not give them much time to find their HEA. However, for me, it would have been a bit more acceptable if in the back story, they had known each other during the five months Cole has been back.

Nonetheless, even though I had a few issues with the story, I did enjoy it. The pacing is good and the story kept my interest. While I am not used to an author moving back and forth from one character’s point of view to the other, I did not find it confusing, and feel that it deepened my connection to the hero and heroine, since I did not have to wait for the next scene to find out what each of them were thinking and feeling.   

I thoroughly enjoyed the epilogue for it strengthens the love story by showing the couple several years later, and how their love has grown and become even stronger. I always enjoy epilogues because they usually tie up any last issues, or set up things for the next book in a series. If you are looking for a story of overcoming difficulties and moving beyond the pain of abuse to find a very satisfying HEA, and a nice sprinkling in of paranormal elements, which Ms. Feehan does so well, you will want to read this book. Happy reading!   

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