Colorado Christmas

The Sheriff & the Baby

Colorado Cowboy
by C.C. Coburn
(Harl. Amer. #1337, $4.99, G) ISBN 978-0373-75341-3
After reading the first two installments of the O’Malley men series, this reviewer suggested that author C. C. Coburn was an author to watch. After reading her next installment about the rancher Luke O’Malley, Coburn has moved to the must read list of authors.

Luke O’Malley has worked hard to build his ranch and a life for himself and his three daughters after his wife left him. Tori wanted Luke for a long time and even manipulated things to get him, lying about being pregnant to get a wedding band. But despite three children, their marriage was never strong and one day, shortly after Celeste was born, she left for a richer man. Luke and his daughters have made it with the help of his family and a housekeeper. Eleven year old Sasha assumed some of the roles of being in charge, Daisy grew into her tomboy eight year old self and five year old Celeste never knew anything about having a mother.

Just before Tori and Luke got married, Luke had a summer romance with a skier named Megan Montgomery. She was on a ski vacation and they had a wonderful romance; such a great romance that they made love multiple times. Luke even bought a ring and was going to propose. But Megan never showed up for their date. A few days later with a string of lies from Tori, he ended up married to her. Meanwhile, Megan found out she was pregnant.

After being unsuccessful in reaching Luke, Megan finally got his home number and spoke with his new wife. Megan, thinking the worst of Luke thanks to more lies from Tori, had the baby on her own. Her family basically disowned her and she struggled to raise her son Cody. Cody, now fourteen, has started to get into trouble with the law. With Megan working two jobs trying to make ends meet, Cody had lots of time to get into problems. He is now on the verge of going to juvenile detention. The judge in the case decided to contact Luke and get him involved, thinking that if Luke took Cody to Colorado, the influence of his New York friends would be lessened and he just might save a kid from the wrong path.

Cody throws everyone for a loop when he refuses to go unless Luke marries his mom. Megan and Luke are stuck and agree to what they assume will be a marriage of convenience. Now let me say here that this part of the plotline is extremely farfetched. However, if you can buy it, the romance that follows is worth the leap of faith.

The story follows Luke and Megan as they try to build a sense of family with three sisters and their half-brother – some of whom are less than thrilled with the situation. Cody is rebellious and takes time to warm to Luke and his new uncles. Sasha is resentful of Megan, since she still has a sliver of hope that her mother will return. The two youngest girls are thrilled – Celeste with having a mommy and Daisy with having a brother. Their innocent acceptance of the situation is a little unrealistic, but heartwarming none the less. The author makes the situation plausible. Her style of writing and her characters make the reader root for this family and enjoy their romance. For those fans of the series, Matt and Will and their wives make strong appearances and help generate the feeling of extended family to Megan and Cody.

There is some conflict in the end that push Megan and Luke to finally make the full commitment that their feelings dictate. It too could have proven to be a little over the top, but Coburn’s writing kept it within reason and believability.

Colorado Cowboy is one of the better categories I have read this year and comes awful close to a keeper for me. C. C. Coburn has earned a real fan with this one and I look forward to more of her O’Malley men series. Enjoy!

--Shirley Lyons

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