First, let me tell you about Tanya Hanson's book, Right to Bragg. This is her latest installment in the award winning Hearts Crossing Ranch series:
Disowned by her family, Tiffany Vickers faces a lonely Christmas and takes great comfort in the baby boy in her care. Her faith is in tatters, and she guards her heart against the baby's uncle, handsome cowboy, Bragg Martin.
It's the season for forgiveness, and while Bragg longs to open his heart and family to the lovely nanny, he doesn't understand her interest in his arch enemy. Saving a man's life and saving Tiffany's faith bring the couple together...and home to Hearts Crossing Ranch.
A storm might be brewing, but all Bragg Martin had left to do on this Friday afternoon was chuck off his boots and settle in for a long winter’s nap. Horses ridden, cattle tended, chores done and year-end accounts worked on, and he’d even gotten the dreaded Christmas shopping over and done with.
After he threw on a load of logs, he sprawled happily on the couch in the ranch house’s big front room. The phone rang. Not a muscle moved. With the giant family he had, there was always somebody else to do things he didn’t really want to.
Like get up and answer it.
But the ugly thing didn’t shut up, and with a groan, he hauled his bones to the land line in Pa’s office. Well, it was his big brother’s office now, but Hooper and his new fiancée Mallie were off decorating her aunt and uncle’s Christmas tree. He sprawled all over this couch and mumbled into the receiver.
“Who is this? Bragg?” His sister Rachel came over the line, amped up, which wasn’t one whit like her. Her mannerisms were always cool, logical attorney.
“Yep. You OK?” For a flash, some alarm tweaked him.
“Yeah, I just need a favor.”
“All righty.” It was the season of giving, after all.
Relief rattled her voice. “Thank God. Ma and Mrs. Densmore are off on that one-horse-open-sleigh caroling thing with Ella’s kindergarten class.”
Bragg smiled at mention of his little niece.
“And I can’t find Scott.”
“Off shopping.” Bragg sniffed at the poor sap.
“Then it’s you. I need you to go babysit Matty.”
“What?” Babysit Matty? His five-month old nephew? Sure Bragg had been raised by equal-opportunity parents, but babysitting an infant wasn’t exactly stuff for a single guy.
“I’m stuck in Rustic Canyon at a deposition. We’re running late. Chelsea’s with him now, but she’s got a date.”
Their other sister Kelley wasn’t due back in town until Christmas Eve, but he had one more brother to ramrod into the task since the newlywed Pike was still on his honeymoon.
“You got the wrong dude, sis. Get Kenn. He and Christy’ll be having kids of their own someday.”
“No. They’ve got Kenn’s faculty Christmas party. It’s you. You’re the only one left. Please? It’s just until Tiffany gets back.”
He grunted. Last week Rachel’s new paralegal slash au-pair had flirted with him with great enthusiasm at Pike and Daisy’s wedding reception, but downright snubbed him when he asked her out. Not number one on his favorite person list, because things like that just didn’t happen to Bragg Martin.
“So where’s she now?”
“Tiffany asked for a personal day.”
A personal day already? What, after two weeks? He tried hard to wiggle out. “Can’t you find somebody from church? I don’t know how to change a diaper.”
Rachel laughed, so he reckoned she believed he’d caved, and she started her closing arguments. “Now, now. You put the little cloth tee-pee over his you-know-what so he doesn’t shower you. If it’s the other, there’s plenty of wet wipes. Then you tape up the sides of the dy-dee. It’s not rocket science.”
“And there’s plenty of breast milk in little bottles in the fridge…”
That did it. “Raaaaaache…” he wailed.
Rachel ignored him “…to put in the microwave for thirty seconds.”
He groaned. Nothing against nature, but…
His big sister went all attorney, now. “Grow up, Bragg. It looks and works like any other milk. Now, hurry. Chelsea can show you where everything is before she leaves. And sweetie, thanks. I owe you.”
“That you do.” Then he recalled where she was. The icy road from Rustic Canyon could be a hard one in rough weather. “Rache, be careful out there. I think we’ve got a storm coming in.”
He could hear her smile over the line. All his brothers protected their womenfolk no matter how loud the gals roared. “I will, little brother. Nick’s got me the best snow tires there are. And I’ve driven in these parts longer than you. Now, Tiffany should be there by six. You can handle it.”
Or not. Hanging up, spirits dark, he climbed back into his boots. Not that he didn’t just love the little guy to death. But what a time for all his siblings to have their own agendas.Nobody locked doors around here, but he did switch on the Christmas lights, even though it wasn’t exactly dark yet. Just to welcome everybody when they finally made their way back. Plus, Hearts Crossing looked pretty, all lit up. Climbing into a thick wool jacket with fleece lining, he tossed on his Stetson and set off for Mountain Cove, about eight miles away. Driving his big truck under the post gate hung with its brand –two interlocking hearts with intersecting cross— always calmed him down. Today was even better, all strung with lights. This ranch was home, and he was blessed to live here.
Tanya Hanson is a fantastic author. Her stories are told with such a beautiful, engaging voice. She's great at creating a gripping storyline that both wins your heart, and keeps you turning pages. Beyond those skills, however, is Hanson’s ability to draw you into a scene by engaging each of the reader’s senses. That’s a tremendous skill that lends power to her writing, and story-telling.
Next, say a big hello to Tanya Stowe! Tanya's release is White Christmas, part of the White Rose Publishing Christmas Extravaganza!
After his very public break-up from his fiancé, Chad Fletcher is convinced that a healthy marriage and his rising political career won’t mix, and Christmas at his Aunt Nell’s home in White, Arizona is a great way to start fresh.
Political watch dog, Tessa Conway, plans to spend her vacation enjoying her grandparents’ ranch before they must sell it, so she is not pleased with Grandma Sophie and Aunt Nell’s efforts to throw her and Chad together.
Chad begins to believe Tessa may be the perfect antidote to his unhealthy relationships of the past, but when he decides to take support from a company with questionable ethics, his perfect bubble is burst.
Fearing Chad is not the Godly man she believed him to be, Tessa ends their budding romance. Will Chad find the strength and courage to do what’s right even if it costs him his career?
“I don’t know why you insist on wearing those ridiculous things. How can you see?” Aunt Nell asked, rubbing her hands against the cold evening air.
Chad Fletcher pulled his baseball cap lower and pushed the large, black-framed lenses further up his nose. “These were the biggest, ugliest, glasses I could find in the store,” he said, studying the nearby Christmas carolers dressed in scarves, mittens and matching earmuffs. “People usually don’t recognize me when I’m wearing them.”
Nell made a sound that, if Chad didn’t know his proper little white-haired great-aunt better, sounded almost like a snort. “If you spent more time focusing on your job as state assemblyman and less time in the social pages, you wouldn’t have to disguise yourself.”
“Ex-job, Aunt Nell, ex-job. My term has ended, remember? I’m a free man, here to rest, relax, and recuperate before I get back to real life.”
“Real life,” she said. “As if we don’t live real lives here in White.” She made the sound again and Chad smiled.
The small rural Arizona community was as far removed from the high profile life he lived in Phoenix as it could be. Even as a child, visiting his mother’s aunt had been his favorite way to spend the summer. Time with Aunt Nell and working as a teenager for the local ranchers had taught him more about life than all of his family’s country club years in Tucson.
His aunt knew how he felt, so when he took her arm and squeezed, she smiled and patted it back.
“Come on,” he said. “Tell me about the festivities. I’ve been hearing you talk about White’s Twelve Days of Christmas for so long, I can’t wait to see it.”
“Well, as you can see, this is the kick-off event. Main Street is blocked off. We’ve got carolers on this side, a brass combo over there, and Santa Claus right next door. He’ll be giving out bags of treats and hot chocolate. The line started forming to see him about five o’clock.”
“I don’t remember those Victorian light posts.”
“They weren’t here last time you were. At first, I thought they were an expense we didn’t need but when they put them up, well, I’ve grown quite fond of them. They remind me of my childhood.”
“Which wasn’t such a long time ago,” Chad said.
“Hush! It’s a wonder they let you talk at all on the chamber floor. You’re so full of nonsense.” This time she slapped playfully at his hand and he grabbed it.
“You’re freezing,” he said, worry for his seventy-year-old aunt filling him. “Why don’t you put on your gloves?”
“I left them in the car.”
“It’s cold enough to snow. I’ll go back and get them.”
“No, don’t worry about it. I don’t want you to miss the lighting ceremony. They turn everything on at the same time. The lamp posts, the giant snowflakes attached to them and those two huge Christmas trees over there. All the houses for blocks around Main Street turn on their lights, too. It’s my favorite part.”
He turned to see the two trees, situated in the large plaza called Pioneer Square. The trees were well over fifteen feet and decorated with lights and multi-colored bulbs. “You said they start at six? That’s ten minutes away. I’ll be gone and back before then.”
“You might miss it. Just wait a few more minutes.”
Chad studied his aunt’s face and realized she was searching the crowd for something…or someone.
“Aunt Nell, what are you up to?”
Suddenly, her face lit up and she smiled. “Look, there’s Sophie and Jim Conway. Their grand-daughter’s here for Christmas, you know.”
“Aunt Nell, you promised. No more matchmaking.”
“I didn’t promise. I know myself better than that. Besides, you need a good, small-town girl who will keep your feet firmly planted on the ground.”
“I’ve had enough romance to last a lifetime,” he said, his tone tight.She shook her head. “Your engagement wasn’t a romance. It was a circus complete with performing monkeys and paparazzi.”
Take two loving, and match-making relatives, throw in the spice of political intrigue and a dash of romantic Christmas magic and you’ve got all the makings of a heart-racing, and heart-warming holiday romance.
In the pages of White Christmas, Tanya Stowe creates a world of intrigue and enough romantic chemistry to warm even the chilliest winter nights. I fell in love with Chad and Tessa, and rooted for them from the very first page.
Christmas may have passed for 2011, but there’s still plenty of winter left to enjoy a curl-up romance by this wonderful author. Pick up a copy of White Christmas, and enjoy!!