The Christmas Cowboy Hero

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 04 Nov 2017

Member Reviews

I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. 

This book sounded like it would be a cute read for around the holidays, which is when I had originally planned to read it but unfortunately work got in the way last year. So I read it this year while I was on vacation! The premise behind this book was a romance trope cliche, millionaire cowboy rescues poor nice woman in a Texas town. And while it was completely unrealistic, it was still romantic. Clayton as a character was everything you'd want from a romance novel hero: dark, brooding, completely devoted, utterly sexy. Abby was nice enough, and honestly I loved that she was an accountant studying to be a CPA, but she was a little too shy for my tastes in a romance heroine. Their whole relationship moved pretty quickly too, I mean within a week of Brice getting arrested Abby's whole family was staying to weekend with Clayton's family, and within 6 weeks they were engaged. This was a sweet romance though with an ok Christmas theme and some serious sparks between the hero and heroine. I enjoyed it and would recommend it!
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This was a good book but not something I found myself enjoying. I did not finish this book.
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A sweet Christmas story with a cowboy/ former Navy Seal? That's a double whammy right there. 
Fantastic main characters, aswell as secondary characters. I was thrilled that it was a true romance. The drama was from outside sources, not anything to do with their relationship. No ow/om situations for the sake of drama. 

- no cheating
- no ow/om drama 
- no violence of a sexual nature
-a few steamy scenes (could have used a bit more)
- safe
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Another winner by Donna Grant. Clayton and Abby were amazing together. I read this book in one day.
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Reviewed by Jen
Book provided by Netgalley 
Review originally posted at Romancing the Book 

Oddly enough, I read this story right on the heels of another book that was eerily similar.  I mean, they were two books where there was a “wounded” cowboy recently returned to the home ranch.  There there was the heroine who is taking care of her younger brother (as in legal guardian).  And said cowboy steps in as a role model to the troubled young man.  OK.. that’s where the similarities end.  But I have to admit that I kept comparing the two books as I read.  In the end, The Christmas Cowboy Hero did come out the “winner” as it was a more well-rounded story with a little suspense and it tugged at my heartstrings.

Clayton is a recently retired Navy SEAL who was avoiding home due to a childhood tragedy.  But his parents need him on the ranch and so he returns home to help out.  He never really dealt with the tragedy and now he has some PTSD issues from his time with the military.  To top it off, he’s home dealing with financial troubles and cattle rustling.

And then there’s Abby.  She’s been taking care of her younger brothers since their mother abandoned the family when Abby was 18.  They’re barely making ends meet.  Throw in the fact that Abby’s younger brother gets arrested for being part of the cattle rustling at Clayton’s family ranch.  And this is how these two are brought together.

There were two plot lines in this story.  First was the romance between Abby and Clayton.  The second had to do with the trouble plaguing the ranch.  Obviously the two are intertwined.  Both were developed well enough that I kept turning the pages… in fact reading the book in one sitting.  I could have used a little more discord or perhaps some external force that threatened the romance.  It just seemed… too easy.  The ranch plot line wasn’t terribly complicated, but this book isn’t marketed as romantic suspense, so it didn’t need to be.  It was at the right level of suspense and action to keep it interesting.  It might have been a little too easy of a solve and there was no way the reader could solve the mystery… but again, it wasn’t meant to be.

Really, this book was all about relationships.  Whether it was Clayton and Abby or Clayton and his parents.  Or Abby and her brothers or even the boys and Clayton…  These strangers became a family.  I laughed and I even shed a couple tears as these people found each other and surrendered to the magic of Christmas.

This is the first of Ms Grant’s books that I’ve read outside of her Druid Glen series, which were written about 10 years ago.  I’m glad that I found this author again and I am interested to see where this series is going to go.
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Donna Grant, one of my favorite paranormal authors, has taken another shot at a contemporary series, set in the steamy and sexy landscape of a Texas cattle ranch and this time she scores big.  Her last foray into contemporary was not my favorite series, but I really liked this book and can say for sure that I am removing her from the typecasting of “paranormal author”.  This series is set on the East Ranch and revolves around the East family, focusing on the sexy oldest son Clayton, a former Navy SEAL who has returned home to help his family when some strange goings on leave his family in dire straits.  Being home for only a short time Clayton soon uncovers a cattle rustling operation has been eating into his family profits and when he catches one of the rustlers red-handed is determined to see him brought to justice, despite him being just a kid.  But when the kid’s older sister and guardian comes to bail her brother out Clayton finds himself too intrigued to press charges, instead proposing an alternate solution for punishment.  Soon Abby and her brothers are both pulled into the Clayton family and becoming more and more integrated as members of the family, including the passion that is becoming more impossible to deny between Abby and Clayton.  Abby never imagined a man like Clayton would give her the time of day, so when he pursues her, convincing her to not only join the ranch but to give him a chance to steal her heart, how can she say no?  But then the awful truth comes out, putting all the East family including the newest additions of Abby and her brothers in serious danger.  This story grabbed my heart right away reminding me why I love Donna’s writing so much, pulling me into the story and making it hard to come out to live my life in the real world.  I loved seeing Clayton come to terms with his past with Abby’s help as well as accepting that having Abby in his life would make staying on the family ranch forever as easy as breathing.  His skills from the navy came in handy too,  which made the story that much more fun and interesting and his protective nature came out more than once with that sexy alpha behavior so many of us love.  Abby on the other hand was so sweetly in denial at times that I wondered if she would ever accept that she would be welcomed into the East family along with her brothers simply because of the woman she was, not just because of what she could do for them.  While it is definitely a departure from her paranormal writing, this book gives us the heat, imagination, and sense of familiarity in her heroes that makes Grant’s writing so enjoyable and I was thrilled to have that back even without the sexy dragon shifters.  I am looking forward to the next story in this series and truly cannot wait for who might find love next as well as hoping to see some of these characters again soon.
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The Christmas Cowboy Hero is the first book in Donna Grant’s new Heart of Texas series.  Clayton East took a job as a game warden in South Africa after he had resigned his commission as a SEAL.  He knew that his experiences had changed him in a way he wasn’t eager for his parents to see.  But when he gets a call from his mom telling him his dad has had a mini stroke and she needs him home.

When he gets home he finds things are even worse than he thought with the ranch.  Their accountant has embezzled a great sum, a seventy head cattle herd has been stolen, as well as their top stud bull. These events appear to have led to his dad’s illness.

Abby Harper has spent the last eight years raising her younger brothers. Their mother abandoned them but left completed paperwork making Abby guardian of Brice and Caleb, then just eight and six. Abby has worked so hard to keep things together and raise her brothers, but Brice has gotten in with the wrong crowd and now she finds herself called to the police station when Brice is arrested for his role in the cattle rustling at the East Ranch.

Rather than press charges against the kid, Clayton formulates a plan whereby Brice will work off his debt after school and on weekends.  His offering of a second chance to Brice also brings a second chance to both himself and the ranch. And Abby has the opportunity to be part of all these chances.

A lovely tale of family, losses, and recovery with the beautiful backdrop of Christmas. I did enjoy this book and do recommend it.
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for me this was not a great read.  
I didn't find this story believable. Also in the age of #MeToo I felt uncomfortable reading about a romance developing where a man offers the woman a job then hits on her.

I have voluntarily posted a review consisting of my honest opinions.
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I found it very difficult to engage myself in the story line or characters. I found the writing to be flat. I was 30 percent into the book and couldn't find myself to finish it. I rated it here, but found it unfair to rate it on goodreads or amazon as I didn't finish the book. Not fair in my opinion. 

With that I would like to also say the tone of the book seemed almost monotone. But will try the is author again.
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Ex-Navy Seal Clayton East had to come home to his family’s ranch after his father’s health declines. Abby Harper has been taking care of her younger brothers since her mother left them. When her brother’s rebellion goes too far, she’s grateful that Clayton believes in second chances. Maybe this bad event is exactly what her family needed.
This was a very sweet book. I loved both of the main characters. They are exactly what the other needs. I loved how he and his parents were able to embrace Abby and her brothers. I highly recommend.
 **I voluntarily read and reviewed this book
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A warm-hearted Christmas story with a sexy edge. I thought the mash-up of rugged western cowboy and steely military man was extremely well-done. The characters were well-rounded and fully-fleshed, and the plot was action-packed. With off-the-charts chemistry and the beloved HEA, this was an excellent introduction to Donna Grant for me, and I can't wait to check out the rest of her books!
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How sweet is it to have 2 people who are struggling to find themselves and be there for the people they love at the same time to find happiness together. Though she has worked hard to raise her brothers she has also struggled to do the right thing and find happiness for herself. And though he thought he was better off away from his family as to not have the painful reminders of the past it is wonderful for him to come home and help his family and find his place in the world again. Such hope and happiness to be brought during the holiday season. And a little bit of action and mystery to add to it is a great combination.
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This was another great book to read. I love Christmas reads. Nancy is a great author to read!!
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I loved this story about a cowboy and a young woman taking care of her brothers falling in love. Abby is learning to let her brothers be and focus on herself a little more. She realises she needs to take care of herself too and, more importantly, she needs to get over her abandonment issues and learn to trust that people won’t always leave. Clayton, for his part, needs to adjust to being home again around people he knows and loves and vice verso. He needs to stop being a loner, put his bad experiences behind him and deal with his brother’s death from years before that he never really got over. They slowly develop their feelings for each other, denying them at first but eventually giving in to them. On top of that, there’s the great family dynamics. On the one hand, there’s Abby and her brothers. Their little family of three is all either of them have in the world and they are fiercely loyal and protective of one another. Abby sacrifices everything for her brothers and they, in turn, love her to bits. When they arrive at the ranch, they are immediately embraced by Clayton’s family. His family is more traditional, a close-knit group that suffered the loss of one of the children and has learned to slowly move on. And bonus: Abby’s brothers really flourish thanks to the good role models that are Clayton and his father.

There’s some drama, a bit of danger and tension, bunches of laughter and excitement and a whole lot of love.Adding the holiday season to all of it makes this a perfect read for cold December evenings. What more can you ask for?
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The Christmas Cowboy Hero is the first book in the new Heart of Texas series. Set in Clearview, Texas, this book focuses on the cattle and ranching industry, a staple of Texas with some long-running, large family ranches. 

Clayton East is an ex-Navy SEAL now working in Africa protecting big game from poachers. After separating from the military, he purposefully did not return home to the East Ranch. Being there brings back reminders and is too painful. Shortly before Christmas, he gets a call he can't keep ignoring: his dad isn't doing well and the ranch is in trouble. 

Upon arriving home, Clayton discovers the East Ranch is a mess. Their accountant has disappeared with essentially all of the ranch's money. Additionally, someone has stolen a hundred head of cattle, most of which are cows ready to calve. Their prize bull was also stolen.  The total of the theft alone comes to $275,000.

One of the rustlers, a 16-year-old kid, is arrested. Going to the station, Clayton meets Brice Harper, who won't talk and is obviously scared of something. He also meets Brice's sister, Abby Harper, whom he instantly is drawn toward. After being informed Brice has never been in trouble before, Clayton has a moment of self-motivated kindness. Believing in second chances and hatching a plan to gain Brice's trust, Clayton offers Brice a job working at the ranch to work off his debt in lieu of going to jail. Hoping Brice will eventually open up and talk about the theft, it also gives Clayton opportunities to see Abby Harper again. 

Abby was only 18 when her mother abandoned her, leaving the guardianship of her two young brothers to her. It's been eight years and she's never come back, leaving Abby struggling just to manage and raise her 16 and 14 year old brothers. She works at an accounting firm being paid in the drudges. When she can scrape together enough funds, she attends school part-time to continue toward her accounting degree. They've only known hardship and struggle, but there is a lot of love in the Harper family. 

After Brice begins at the East Ranch, he is enamored of the work and the people and the animals. Soon, his younger brother Caleb is also tagging along to work at the ranch. While still paying off his debt, Brice is openly welcomed and supported and encouraged to be the best version of himself he can be. With her brothers being at the ranch so long, Abby also ends up spending time there and is introduced to the ranch's accounting books. After digging through them, she discovers many things about the AWOL accountant and the status of the ranch. Their mutual attraction slowly blossoms into a budding Christmas romance.

Both boys show great improvement under Clayton's direction. Abby also sees some reprieve in her future with the potential to work at the East ranch with a significant pay raise. Carrying all the burdens of the world on her shoulders, she has been the heart and soul of her family. The mother, father, and sister. Being shown she doesn't have to do it alone, that she can share her burden, is a glimpse of a life that appeals and frightens Abby. What if she is abandoned again? 

The suspense over the missing cattle is an angle Clayton still can't seem to work out. Brice won't budge. Abby begins digging around at her office and unearths a possible connection. The disappearance of the accountant is no longer such a mystery, but there is a growing danger as Abby tries to puzzle things out. 

For the first time in his life, Clayton opens up about the loss and pain and guilt he feels. This is why he never wanted to return to the East Ranch. That moment of vulnerability changes things between Abby and Clayton. 

The characters and down-home feel are what made the story for me. Clayton and Abby both have their flaws, and both come from families you can depend upon in a time of need. Even the cast of East Ranch characters were ones I could connect with. The Easts are the quintessential family. It seems the perfect place to be. Friendly and welcoming, the Texas way. 

The setting was familiar and the East family is heartwarming. The characters brought the story to life and kept the pace moving. This was one of my favorite holiday reads and I couldn't put it down. I definitely want to continue reading the Heart of Texas series.
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A warrior and a cowboy…”

The Christmas Cowboy Hero marks the debut of Donna Grant’s new contemporary adult western Heart of Texas series. Donna has posted that it is also her very first Christmas story. I’m a huge fan of Donna’s Dark Dragon Kings series – so it was a given that I’d pick up this new series from her. I mean… cowboys and Christmas – what’s not to love? This first installment is the story of ex-Navy SEAL and prodigal son Clayton East and accounting clerk Abby Harper. Their story is told from several third person perspectives – including those of Clayton and Abby.

Abby has had her hands full raising her two younger brothers and keeping a roof over their heads after their mother deserted them.  Now one of her brothers has been arrested for stealing cattle from The East Ranch...

Clayton has reluctantly come home to take over his family’s ranch after his father suffers a stroke. He quickly discovers that The East Ranch is in dire financial straits with both funds and cattle missing. A juvenile has been apprehended in connection with their rustled cattle. But, while coming face-to-face with the boy, Clayton didn’t expect to meet a woman who would take his breath away.

I connected from the get-go with our hero and heroine. They were each likable and realistically-drawn. I do admit to being a bit taken back at first by the insta-love between them, but, as the story progressed and I became engrossed in the familial relationships and the suspense build-up related to the ranch’s missing moneys and the cattle theft, I mostly forgot about their immediate attraction. By the last half of this book, I didn’t want to put it down. Clayton demonstrated what a hot catch he was by the way he took Abby’s brothers under his wings. I liked how his Navy SEAL training was incorporated as the story’s danger element increased. Supporting characters were well-written, too, including Abby’s adolescent brothers and Clayton’s mom.

Following please find a few of my favorite quotes from The Christmas Cowboy Hero:

“You’re staring,” she said as she cut her eyes to him.
Clayton lifted one shoulder in a shrug. “I like what I see.”
--- 

  “Tell me he’s got a cute ass in Wranglers,” Gloria pleaded. “I’ve got a weakness for cowboys.”
 Abby grinned. “It’s not cute. His ass is magnificent.”
--- 

  “Let go.”
 “It’s not that easy.”
 He smoothed back her dark hair and looked into her beautiful, blue eyes. “It is when you have someone to catch you.”
 
Donna’s books are always well-written with plenty of sexy times and this book is no exception. It is an addictive story of love, loss, betrayals, family and romance. Readers can look forward to an extremely satisfying HEA ending with a touch of Christmas tidings. I look forward to reading where Donna will take this series next!
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RATING: 4 STARS
(I received an ARC from the PUBLISHER via NETGALLEY)
(Review Not on Blog)

As soon as I accepted this review, I kicked myself as I wasn't sure if this would really be my type of book.  Contemporary romance can be a hit or miss for me and I feel bad when it's a miss.  Phew, I really enjoyed this novel! There is a sweet romance, a small town and a bit of mystery - all of my favourite things in romances.  

Clayton, a former Navy-Seal, is back home trying to get the family ranch out of the red.  Their longtime accountant retired and left the business to his son.  His son took the ranch's money and ran.  Now Clayton is trying to find him and figure out how to keep the family ranch running.  Abby is raising her two teenage brothers and trying to get her college degree.  When her brother is arrested for stealing one of Clayton's cattle, Abby is unsure of what to do next for him.  Clayton decides to give him another chance and work off his debt.  And, Clayton is hoping he will give up his friends who also stole the cattle.  Clayton sees how much Abby is trying to raise her brothers, work and get her degree so invites her to dinner when she picks up her brother after his shifts.  Abby's degree is going towards accounting so she begins to help him figure out how their accountant embezzled money.  Soon, the two find themselves more than just physically attracted to each other.

I loved the story, the characters and the holiday theme.  It was a fun easy quick read and I cannot wait till the second book!
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This absolutely a fantastic book. It has suspense and adventure along with a love story. I could hardly put the book down. Well written.
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There is nothing better than a hot, sweet cowboy holiday read full of family drama and a touch of suspense.

Clayton East was an ex-Navy Seal who was not quite ready to take on the responsibility of running his family’s ranch. There are too many ghosts for Clayton, the biggest one being the death of his brother. Upon returning home after a frantic call Clayton finds there is some cattle rustling going on causing his family’s ranch to be in trouble.

Abby Harper is a s sweet as they come, having a hard life to start out on from the beginning, she finds her mother has run off and she was left with the task of raising her two brothers. Boys being boys Brice finds himself in over his head. Wanting to fix what she could Abby went toe to toe with the big bad rancher. When Clayton sees Abby’s true caring nature, he decides to help her out. No matter if she likes it or not, the boy needs to understand this is serious business.

Clayton and Abby were a good couple with plenty of passion between them. I found them very enjoyable. There was no shortage of passion between them in and out of the bedroom. What I enjoyed most was how Clayton showed Abby how special she was to all around her.

Most of the supporting characters were just as much a delight as the main couple. I just adore Brice and Caleb, Ms. Grant will these young men get their own stories? Brice is the deep thinker, Caleb is the lover. Clayton’s parents were lovely. The old Cowboy Sam I feel needs a happy ending.

The Christmas Cowboy Hero is the first book in the Heart of Texas series I for one can’t wait to see how she follows up in this series. A Sweet romance, very likeable characters. A steamy romance with a lot of heart. A wonderful solid romance story.

Rated 5 Stilettos and a Recommended Read by Deb!
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Sat and read this over the christmas period. It was light hearted and fun and i really enjoyed it. I love cowboy romances and this made me want to pack up and move to a remote ranch in montana.
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