Title: Oklahoma Christmas Blues
Author: Maggie Shayne
Publisher: Thunderfoot Publishing Inc.
Release Date: November 2016
Length: 176 pages
Series?: The McIntyre Men .5
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Darryl is on a quest for peace. His chance at fatherhood was taken from him long ago, and an IED in Iraq ensured he’d never get another. In Big Falls, the McIntyre brothers hire him to keep an eye on their beautiful cousin Sophie in case her criminal ex shows up. He doesn’t expect to fall head over heels.
Sophie McIntyre’s life was blown apart by a drug dealing ex who cost her her job and nearly her medical license. She comes to Big Falls because she has nowhere else to go. And the minute she gets there, things start to get better.
Is it because of that letter to Santa her Aunt Vidalia convinced her to write? Within days she meets a beautiful man with a deeply wounded soul. And oddly, she finds herself giving him the same advice the town Santa gave to her—try believing again, and if it’s too much to believe, then just try hoping.
Love, magic, and miracles ensue. Because this is Big Falls, Oklahoma. Miracles are an everyday occurrence around here. Especially at Christmastime.
Sophie returns home to Big Falls, Oklahoma with her tail between her legs, licking her wounds from her prestigious medical life in New York. She’s not sure if she’ll survive the reach of her ex. Returning to tend bar at her uncle’s saloon, he three cousins anticipate her return and hire Secret Service man and PI Darryl Champlain.
While Sophie has a few run-ins with Santa around town, it’s her other run-ins with a much younger man Darryl is concerned about.
Sophie – a young doctor from a prestigious NY hospital; returning home from the shambles of her life
Darryl – former Secret Service agent and veteran; currently working as a PI hired by the McIntyres to watch out for Sophie
Jason, Joey and Rob – Sophie’s cousins that run the bar and hire Darryl; they verge on the edge of butting into Sophie’s life
Uncle Bobby Joe and Aunt Vidalia – Sophie’s uncle and his second wife; they now have a large and extended family in the area; both own their own businesses in Big Falls and Christmas and carols are on the menu
When the dance ended, she lifted her head and looked into his eyes and wondered what he was seeing in hers. “Let’s get some food now, before you faint or something.”
“I’m close, I gotta tell you. It might already be too late.”
The Highs and Lows
- Santa! There is a man who is known in the community as Santa, and Sophie firmly believes in the spirit and magic of Christmas – and yes, even still in Santa. Aunt Vidalia believes in writing a letter to Santa each year for the more memorable wants in life.
- The McIntyre men. Jason, Joey and Rob are Sophie’s overprotective, meddling, sweet, and kind cousins. They don’t pry, but they do protect. And after Sophie’s mad dash from New York after her ex nearly busted down her door, they aren’t taking any chances. They each have their distinctive personalities that are just brushed upon in this installment.
- Sophie’s Situation. It’s an understandable – and sadly, often recurring – situation. Running back home from an ex, and in this case a possibly dangerous one. Sophie was nearly brought up on criminal charges and on the verge of losing her medical license due to her ex, and she has come home to little town Big Falls to stay with her uncle Bobby Joe and aunt Vidalia.
- Darryl. He is an interesting mix of a character and actually feels more like the main character to me. There is a lot of history to his character, this one-time CMA songwriter. He has something eating away at him that he has never gotten over, and he has a thing against all things Christmas. Naturally, the Christmas spirit is alive and well in Big Falls. His life’s work is to assess and monitor situations and to protect, and that is what has brought him to Big Falls…unbeknownst to Sophie.
- The Hoodie Kid. Ever since arriving in town, Sophie and Darryl keep encountering this young kid in a blue hoodie around town. Big Falls doesn’t have homeless people…does it? Every time the kid is around, so is Sophie. Darryl is convinced it is someone sent by Sophie’s ex to exact revenge, but Sophie’s soft heart and nature lead her to keep extending a hand to the kid.
- Sweet Romance. Neither Darryl nor Sophie came to Big Falls looking or expecting anything. In face, just the opposite. They both want no complications, but they are both craving the same thing: love. It’s not instant, it’s not rushed. It’s slow and brewing and hesitant. Just the right kind of romance for the holidays.
I liked everything about this book. The premise of Sophie’s return, and what she returns to, and what comes of that due to Darryl’s presence.
Recommendation – Buy, Borrow or Skip?
Buy or borrow. Either way, it’s a good holiday read!
Maggie lives in the teeny, tiny town of Taylor, NY, a place where there are more cattle than people. When she looks out her window she sees rolling, green, thickly forested hills, wildflower laden meadows and wide open blue, blue skies. A road barely paved.
Following the loss of her mother to pancreatic cancer, an empty nest once filled with five daughters, and the dissolution of her marriage, her century-old farmhouse burned to the ground with her two beloved dogs. Since then she has rebuilt her beloved home, named Serenity.
The once empty farmhouse is now flooded with English Mastiffs, an English Bulldog, and three cats, along with Maggie’s fiancé, Lance.