A Virgin River Christmas by Robyn Carr
Last Christmas Marcie Sullivan said a final goodbye to her husband, Bobby. This Christmas she's come to Virgin River to find the man who saved his life and gave her three more years to love him. Fellow marine Ian Buchanan dragged Bobby's shattered body onto a medical transport in Fallujah four years ago, then disappeared as soon as their unit arrived stateside. Since then, Marcie's letters to Ian have gone unanswered.
Marcie tracks Ian to the tiny mountain town of Virgin River and finds a man as wounded emotionally as Bobby was physically. But she is not easily scared off. As Marcie pushes her way into his rugged and reclusive life, she discovers a sweet but damaged soul beneath a rough exterior.
Ian doesn't know what to make of the determined young wide who forces him to look into the painful past and, what's worse, the uncertain future. But it is, after all, a season of miracles and maybe, just maybe, it's time to banish the ghosts and open his heart.
Best one yet!! I really loved this story of Marcie and Ian...it was tightly focused on their story rather than being a collection of stories from Virgin River and I must admit I liked it. It really helped to underscore Marcie and Ian's isolation in his mountain top cabin to not have the story pulled to other characters. Marcie is one stubborn woman, and for reasons that she can't totally clarify, even to herself, she has to find out what happened to Ian, the man who allowed her to have four more years with her husband when he should have, by all rights, died in Iraq after an explosion and two gunshots tore through his body. Ian was Bobby's friend and through letters, both from Bobby and to Ian from Marcie, Ian began to feel like Marcie's friend too. It has been almost a year since her husband finally passed and Marcie needs...something to act as closure. She is sure if she can just find Ian she will find the closure she needs.
Ian may be my favorite Virgin River hero yet. He was one sexy mountain man, with a gnarly beard and no indoor plumbing. He roars, he whistles and he sings. He is way more complicated than Marcie could ever have figured and yet, had far fewer issues than she expected. He is gruff and sweet, has carved out a satisfying life (or at least an existence) for himself but fully admits that for a while he might have reveled a bit at first in the restrictions of his new lifestyle. Watching him open himself up to Marcie, and then slowly to others in and around Virgin River was a lot of fun. He really made this book for me. Marcie was also awesome, but the two of them together were great to read about. This book is shorter than some of the others but I highly recommend it. I can only hope I like the next book as well...