CHRISTMAS BELLS AND WEDDING VOWS by Jody Hedlund, Lacy Williams, and Misty M. Beller
SERIES: Colorado Cowgirls, Brothers of Sapphire Ranch
GENRE: Historical Romance Collection (Christian)
PUBLISHER: Misty M. Beller Books
RELEASE DATE: September 23, 2023
From bestselling and award winning authors, experience Christmas on the rugged western frontier with three novellas filled with unforgettable adventures, enduring romance, and the timeless message of hope found in the Savior’s birth.
Claiming the Cowgirl by Jody Hedlund
Serena Taylor is hiding in Colorado’s high country to keep her son safe, and she knows the best way to protect him is by marrying again and giving him a father. Weston Oakley needs a wife by Christmas to placate his meddling family, but after being spurned one too many times in love, he’s reluctant to give his heart away again. When they agree on a marriage of convenience, both of them get much more than they bargained for.
Doctor’s Snowflake Bride by Lacy Williams
Minnie steps off the train ready to become a mail-order bride, but she finds the well-dressed man waiting for her isn’t her intended husband. The protective oath Jed took when he became a doctor doesn’t cover stranded women, but he can’t leave the beautiful stranger alone in a building blizzard two days before Christmas. When circumstances force them into close proximity, Jed and Minnie find that their growing feelings aren’t convenient at all.
Marrying the Mountain Man’s Best Friend by Misty M. Beller
Two Stones, a Salish warrior accustomed to navigating between tribes and miners, unexpectedly finds himself summoned to the side of a dying friend in Virginia City. Sworn to honor the miner’s last wish, Two Stones agrees to marry his daughter, Heidi, but plans to take her to live with his parents. He’ll provide all her needs, make sure she’s safe, and visit her on occasion when his path leads him that direction. As they set out on the journey, their path is fraught with challenges that defy Two Stones’ plans and reveal a surprising depth to Heidi’s character. As they near the end of their trail and join the Christmas festivities at the Coulter Ranch, Two Stones begins to realize this inconvenient marriage might really be a Christmas gift he’ll always treasure.
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Three talented authors. Three entertaining Christmas novellas. Three swoony romances. Christmas Bells and Wedding Vows highlights the storytelling skills of Jody Hedlund, Lacy Williams, and Misty M. Beller, with some breath-stealing kissing scenes to boot!
In Hedlund’s Claiming the Cowgirl, young widow Serena Taylor needs the protection of marriage to keep her adorable son out of the clutches of her former father-in-law. Weston Oakley would love to avoid the teasing that’s sure to come from his overly-involved family if he shows up to Christmas with no wife to show for his previous assurances. When a mistaken identification (that I’m still not sure wasn’t on purpose lol) precipitates a speedy marriage arrangement, the little trio form a tentative family. I loved watching Weston be a ‘pa’ to Serena’s two-year-old – he took to it so naturally, and who doesn’t swoon a little over a sweet cowboy daddy? While Serena and Weston are taking things slowly when it comes to – ahem – acting on their marriage vows, the chemistry between them becomes more sizzling by the day and their first kisses are STICK-YOUR-HEAD-IN-THE-FREEZER swoonilicious. I’m still recovering, to be honest. This is such a layered story with well-developed characters despite the shorter word count, and a Hedlund romance is always the perfect way to warm yourself up as the weather begins to cool. (Note: This story is related to Hedlund’s Colorado Cowgirls series but can read fine as a standalone.)
Williams’ Doctor’s Snowflake Bride is what I would call ‘marriage of convenience adjacent’ lol. Yes, the heroine has traveled to this Wyoming town with the purpose of being a mail order bride, but not for the story’s hero. This clever plot twist keeps the suspense high in the story, along with a tragic and unique accident early on that results in some touch-and-go situations. I loved how almost-effortlessly Minnie fits in & finds her place in the town – and in the lives of Dr. Jed and his 12-year-old son. She facilitates more than one kind of healing while she’s stuck there, and these themes give the story a poignant tone that will resonate in readers’ hearts. In fact, I could easily see this becoming a sweet Hallmarkesque Christmas film at some point. The forced close proximity between Minnie and Jed acts somewhat like a marriage-of-convenience when it comes to accelerating their feelings for one another, so expect some instalove but also expect to be cheering it on. (Note: I believe this is a standalone story, not connected to one of the author’s series, but I could be wrong.)
In Beller’s Marrying the Mountain Man’s Best Friend, I was delighted to see that Two Stones is the story’s hero. I loved his character in Healing the Mountain Man’s Heart and loved him again in this tender romance. After a deathbed promise to a close friend, Two Stones marries the man’s newly-arrived (and widowed) daughter Heidi to keep her safe from the rough-and-rowdy men of the area. Their journey to Two Stones’ village – where he promises to deposit his reluctant bride safely with his parents and leave her alone – is fraught with various dangers, and you will be holding your breath until they make it to the Coulter brothers’ ranch (yay!) for refuge. Beller is so skilled at making the Montana territory and its elements come alive in her stories, and Marrying the Mountain Man’s Best Friend is no exception. She also excels at creating layered characters, and she has done so again with Two Stones and Heidi. I enjoyed watching them bond over their faith in God and how their differences make them the perfect fit for each other. I thought their gradually-building romance was written so sweetly, and I melted more than once as their feelings grew. (Note: This story is part of Beller’s Brothers of Sapphire Ranch series but can be read as a standalone.)
Bottom Line: What do you get when you combine my fave holiday (Christmas), one of my fave tropes (marriage-of-convenience), and three fabulous authors of historical/western romance (Jody Hedlund, Lacy Williams, and Misty M. Beller)? You get total reading enjoyment, and Christmas Bells and Wedding Vows gives you exactly that. Sweet & swoony romance, layered & engaging characters, and three distinct writing voices keep you engrossed in each story. Whether you’re a longtime fan of these authors or are reading one (or more) for the first time, this novella collection is a must-read for the Christmas season!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the authors. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4.5 stars / loved it!
KissingBook Level: ranging from 3 to 4+ stars / will forget to breathe, will need a fan
Jody Hedlund is the best-selling author of over forty books and is the winner of numerous awards. She writes sweet historical romances with plenty of sizzle. Find out more at jodyhedlund.com.
USA TODAY bestselling author Lacy Williams is devoted to bringing her readers heartwarming love stories about cowboys and the women that tame them. She is the author of over forty books, including the acclaimed Wyoming Legacy and Snowbound in Sawyer Creek series. Her books have been nominated for the RT Book Reviews’ Seal of Excellence as well as finaled in RT’s Reviewers’ Choice Awards. She has been a puppy parent almost her whole life and often writes with one of her dogs snuggled in her lap. She is a mom of four and spends her non-writing time buried under piles of laundry and dishes. Find exclusive reader bonuses by visiting her website www.lacywilliams.net.
Misty M. Beller is a USA Today bestselling author of romantic mountain stories, set on the 1800s frontier and woven with the truth of God’s love. Raised on a farm and surrounded by family, Misty developed her love for horses, history, and adventure. These days, her husband and children provide fresh adventure every day, keeping her both grounded and crazy. Sharing her stories with readers is a dream come true for Misty. She writes from her country home in South Carolina and escapes to the mountains any chance she gets. Learn more at www.MistyMBeller.com.
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