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Book Cover Dinca’s review of All a Cowboy Wants for Christmas by Stacy, Robinson & Cowan
Western Historical Romance Anthology published by Harlequin Historical 18 Sep 12

With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I find short stories are perfect. Harlequin Historical has combined three delightful short stories perfect for any Christmas season. These three authors complement each other in their works quite well.

Waiting for Christmas by Judith Stacy

Marlee Carrington steps off the train in Harmony, Texas. Even after receiving the invitation from her aunt and cousins, she is still not sure visiting is the right thing to do. Before she makes it off the platform, she’s making plans to leave. Compared to Philadelphia, the town is rough around the edges. The station is filled with rugged-looking men, all except for one who looks out of place. He’s watching her. Then and there she decides to go back to Philadelphia. Before she makes it to the ticket counter, she’s greeted by her cousin and at the warm welcome, all thought of leaving disappears.

Carson Tate doesn’t have time for anything but making money. He’s always in a hurry, moving from one task to another. All the commotion about the town’s Christmas Festival better not mess up his investment deal. The weaving mill will bring a lot of jobs to their town.

Because of her fundraising skills, Marlee is elected by the planning committee to raise the funds to pay the singers for the festival. The town expects her to get the hundred dollar fee from Carson Tate. They are so sure she can get the funds, they go ahead and hire singers. After he refuses to donate to the Christmas Festival, Marlee is devastated and after a good cry, she looks for other ways to raise the money.

When Carson realizes his refusal of a measly hundred dollar donation has made Marlee so miserable she makes plans to leave town, he tries to donate the money. When her pride gets in the way, he creates a job for her with the added benefit of getting to spend time with her.

Yes, there is a happily ever after and all ends well for the town of Harmony. You will just have to read the details for yourself. So light the fire, pour some hot cider, and settle in for a good read. Even if all the Christmas gifts have been opened and the decorations have been taken down.

Grade: A


Marlee Carrington has never had a place to call home.

Arriving in Harmony, Texas, she is thrown together with Scrooge-like Carson Tate. Amazingly, he reveals a seductive sense of fun—and Marlee begins to hope that Christmas has finally arrived!


His Christmas Wish  by Lauri Robinson

This is a Christmas journey of love. The trial and error of learning how to let go of the past and embrace the future that is before you with all the love that it can hold in store. A must-read for your holiday season or any time of year.

A very touching story about how hard it is for a woman alone on the plains. After Cora loses her husband she refuses to go back East. With winter setting in, Morgan Palmer asks her to marry him. It’s the only way he can think of to take care of her, even though he feels guilty over her husband’s death.

Cora and Morgan are living under the same roof and tiptoeing around each other in the fear of things getting too personal. What they would like to do and what they feel the other wants is making them both miserable. With a lot of willpower and effort from both of them, they learn how to be a couple.

This short story has the potential to be a full novel. I would have enjoyed learning more about the lives of Cora and Morgan. I have not had the opportunity to read any other works by Lauri Robinson, but she will definitely be on my to-read list for 2013.

Grade: A


Morgan and Cora Palmer are married on paper, but in reality they’re like strangers. Taciturn rancher Morgan’s demons have barricaded his heart against his wife’s love. Until a kiss ignites the fire between them….


Once Upon A Frontier Christmas by Debra Cowan

Caroline Curtis cannot believe her eyes when she sees her presumed dead fiancé, Smith Jennings, standing in front of her. When she comes to after fainting dead away, she is on her sofa in Smith’s arms. She feels this cannot be happening. After all, he has been gone for two years and she has moved on with her life.

The only thing that kept Smith Jennings alive was his thoughts of Caroline Curtis. After selling the cattle for his family ranch, Smith was accused of robbing a train and was thrown in prison. After the real culprits were caught, he was set free to return home to his beloved Caroline, only to find she is now engaged to someone else.

The pain and heartache of this short story brought tears to my eyes but also a warmth to my heart. A lot can happen in two years. No one knows this better than Caroline and Smith.

Caroline believes that love is not always enough and Smith believes you can do anything with love. With that combination, how can you not have a happily ever after. Debra Cowan has done a wonderful job with this holiday story. I have always enjoyed her stories.

Grade: A


Presumed dead, rancher Smith Jennings returns home and will do whatever it takes to claim the woman he loves. But Caroline Curtis isn’t the same woman he left behind…


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Overall grade: A