A Stone Creek Christmas by Linda Lael Miller
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We Love Short Shorts!
Stone Creek veterinarian Olivia O’Ballivan communicates easily with animals, but men are another story. Especially rugged architect-turned-rancher Tanner Quinn. Olivia’s uncanny bond with his daughter Sophie’s pony, Butterpie, has him questioning her sanity, while she wonders if he’s not just a drugstore cowboy. Then twelve-year-old Sophie conspires with Olivia to get Tanner into the spirit of Christmas with all the trimmings, including a tree-lighting ceremony and a man named Kris Kringle in a sleigh driven by seven reindeer…and a donkey. But will a holiday miracle transform the globe-trotting Tanner into a rancher—and family man—for all seasons?
My biggest thought when I finished this book was that while I enjoyed both of the main protagonists, I did not at all believe in their HEA. Olivia is a vet in the small town of Stone Creek and has an older brother, famous country singer Brad O’Ballivan and younger twin sisters, one a lawyer and one a bed and breakfast owner. She is close with all of them and they all interfere and help out in each other’s lives as a matter of course. Olivia is also able to communicate with animals…as in speak telepathically with them. This was a part of the story that I really enjoyed, mostly because of Olivia’s dog, Ginger who was a hoot. This ability is the device used to intro Olivia to Tanner when she goes to introduce herself to him as he is her new neighbor. While there, she “meets” Butterpie, a sad pony who misses her owner, Tanner’s daughter Sophie.
Tanner is in Stone Creek to build a new state-of-the-art animal shelter and has left his daughter Sophie back east in a maximum security boarding school. Tanner’s wife was gunned down while he was working on a project in a country that wasn’t always welcoming of westerners and he is fanatical about Sophie’s protection as a result. Between being neighbors and both being involved in the animal shelter enterprise, Olivia and Tanner are in each other’s company quite often. However, I never really bought into their relationship. It really seemed to me that there was an attraction, they had sex and voila…insta-love. Add in the other characters, a side story involving a Rudolph named Rodney and a Kris Kringle who may or may not be that Kris Kringle and there is a lot going on that further distracts the reader from Olivia, Tanner, and their relationship.
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I purchased this book with my own funds