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Book CoverDinca’s review of Honky Tonk Christmas (Honky Tonk Series, Book 4) by Carolyn Brown
Contemporary Western Romance published by Sourcebooks Casablanca 1 Oct 10

Honky Tonk Christmas by Carolyn Brown is part of the Honky Tonk Series, a Contemporary Western romance. I have not had the opportunity to read I Love This Bar, Hell Yeah or My Give a Damn’s Busted. After reading Honky Tonk Christmas I don’t feel I need to read the previous books to make sense of the individual storylines. The heroine talks about what happens in the other books more than I feel is necessary and the characters show up quite a bit in this book. The hero and heroine are strong individuals and I really enjoyed getting acquainted with them through their personal stories. I especially like the fact that this book has very little whine in it, considering the hero has two small children.

Sharlene Waverley is a diverse character. She is an Army veteran sniper, which is a role not normal for a woman. She still has nightmares from her two tours in Iraq. She is also a romance writer who has her first book hitting the stands in November. From what I gather the romance novel is about the previous books in the series. She has inherited a bar and is determined to make a go of it. She has customers dancing in the parking lot, so she decides to expand the building to accommodate more customers at one time. She hires Holt Jackson, a building contractor who is raising his niece and nephew. Since Sharlene lives in the apartment attached to the bar, she rents them her house in town. The children come to the job site after school and Sharlene falls in love with them.

Holt Jackson did not plan on losing his sister and having to raise her two children, twins Judd and Waylon. With his job he has to relocate as the job site changes. Building the extension on the Honky Tonk turns out to be an ideal project since the owner has a house for him to rent and doesn’t mind the kids on the job site after school. He is really concerned about providing stability in the kids’ lives and setting a good example. He feels that his friendship with Sharlene can never turn into anything more regardless of the sexual tension between them because he doesn’t feel a bartender/honky-tonk owner is a good example for the kids.

When Sharlene is asked to return home to small town Corn, Oklahoma, she invites Holt and the children to come along to keep her matchmaking mama at bay. Sharlene swears she will never go back to living in Corn. Holt sees a lot of work available and stability for the children if he were to move there. A lot is riding on everyone’s decision. Sharlene has to decide what she loves more – Holt and the kids or the Honky Tonk. A lot is also riding on the kids’ first Christmas with Holt. Does he stay firm in his decision or does he try to give the kids the one thing they’ve asked Santa for?

Carolyn Brown has a great sense of humor and it shows up on a regular basis throughout the book. She’s come up with a bunch of great one-liners. Several times I had to go back and reread where the editors didn’t catch the discrepancies such as a spotter being called a shooter and so on. Her characters do get a little winded in the dialogue. I find that a bit irritating and just want the next character to butt in. I would have liked a little more one-on-one with Sharlene and Holt. For two people so hot for each other and having fallen asleep together three different times, you would think there would be a little more than a few sizzling kisses. I know I was looking for more sexual content between them. The humor and the strong characters put this book above average and I recommend it as a good read.

Grade: B

Read Sandy M’s Review

Summary: She Means business…

Sharlene Waverly is determined to have the “new and improved” Honky Tonk up and running before the holiday. For that, she’ll need Holt Jackson, the best darn carpenter in the state. But his warm, whisky-colored eyes make her insides melt, and before she knows it, she’s sharing her darkest secrets and talking about the nightmares…

He’s determined to keep things professional…

Holt Jackson needs the job at the Honky Tonk, but is completely unprepared to handle the beautiful new bar owner he’s working for.

Sharlene and Holt try like crazy to deny the sparks flying between them, but their love may just be the best Christmas present either one of them ever got.

Read an excerpt.

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