Cowboy Christmas Homecoming follows Zach Garrett; a war veteran who recently separated from active duty and is back home in Texas, taking it day by day, haunted by his PTSD. Stephanie Gayle is a local fire fighter who has her life completely under control, until the day she locks eyes with Zach. Stephanie has already been in a bit of danger, but whoa..the danger she finds herself in, now that she can’t get Zach from her mind.
Cowboy Christmas Homecoming is the fourth book in the Dark Horse series, which I tend to take a leap of faith when jumping into a series out of order; that leap being me, hoping each book can be read as a standalone. I will say, I do think I should have read the previous three books prior to this one-so if interested in this story for yourself, keep that in mind.
Things do feel a bit rushed between Zach and Stephanie. They meet–there is this instant attraction-and then things are getting steamy (a lot steamier than I’d expected, honestly) followed by them basically moving in together. There is a suspense twist in this story, and the way the author weaves the story together, it is the obvious decision that needed to be made, but it was still a little weirdly fast.
This book also has an addition to the story at the end, that through my holiday romance reading, I noticed is this common *thing* authors like to do, and I honestly can’t wrap my head around why..I get it, it’s a romance and we want our happy ever after, but I just don’t think it always has to end in a certain way. Again, in this story it is kind of the obvious decision with one of the specific story arcs within the pages, but it is also another element that just felt and looks really rushed..*spoils*
It’s a proposal. There is a wedding. I am not one to hate on someone’s I-do’s, but I want it to feel right and I think with this story, the author attempts to make it feel right because of other elements to the story, which while you’re reading- this is the thing that needs to happen but relationship between Zach and Stephanie wise-I didn’t feel to my core that these two people were ready for that step. Smitten with each other? Check! Head over heels? Check. I wasn’t sold though, on these two being at that level however.
With all of that aside though, this book does do something really wonderful. I tend to avoid military romances. It is a goal of mine to do better, especially now that I am no longer in the military. What June Faver does in this book with Zach and his PTSD is wonderful. More than that however, she really captures what it’s like to be a veteran or a military member who is home. I don’t think people understand the feeling of out place, we feel when we return home. Family is family, and they are happy to have you home, but it is this sad, weird realization for us, that life has continued on while we were gone and no matter the amount of phone calls, you have missed out on so much. While you’re still part of something, at the same time, you feel so out of touch. The author did an amazing job of depicting this with Zach.
What you’ll get with Cowboy Christmas Homecoming is a bit of a fish out of water, war hero who is getting acclimated to civilian life and trying to figure out where in the picture he fits in. A heroine who rescued two kids from a terrible situation and is being hunted by those who are ticked off about it all and the love story between the two. Don’t be fooled by the cute cowboy on the cover with the snow scene in the back; this book is steamier than you’d expect and while I’m not the biggest suspense fan, the suspense element had me on the edge of my seat.
I rated it 4/5 stars on Goodreads.