I knew I shouldn't have started to read this book late in the evening. Something told me I made a huge mistake. By the time I was done in the wee hours of the morning, I had cried, gotten angry and smiled. Well I couldn't put the book down until I could smile!
Since her father died from cancer, Lacey Carroll has taken up the responsibility of taking care of her step-sister Emma. Lacey leaves her life behind and moves into her father's home so Emma won;t have so much upheaval in her life. Losing both mother and father in her short life was quite enough. Lacey does all she can, except cook well. Almost everyday the smoke detector blares, an effect of her cooking. Still mourning for her loss, but determined to give her sister a good life she puts on a good face, except when she sees the sadness in her next door neighbor.
In another life, Gabe Garrison was a successful lawyer, but since the tragic death of his young son in a four wheeler accident, he has thrown his life away, left his wife and returned to the hometown where he grew up. Gabe barely survives. He doesn't eat regularly, he doesn't sleep and her barely showers. He mopes and attempts to keep himself busy by doing things around the house and take care of the ailing dog his son loved.
When Emma constantly disobeys Lacey and runs into Gabe's yard to comfort the dog, Gabe calls Lacey out for the trespassing on his property, leaving Lacey thinking Gabe rude and angry aside from his apparent sadness. When little Emma goes into his yard one time too many, he nails the gate between the properties closed bringing Lacey to her boiling point. She goes over to Gabe's house and has it out with him, spewing some things that may have been uncalled for, but in the process making Gabe finally think.
Little by little, Gabe begins to emerge from the haze of his sadness. When thanks to Lacey, he finally comes to the understanding that his son's beloved pet is suffering, he accepts her assistance in helping put the dog to sleep. Oh yes, you will cry, for this entire book is filled with so much emotion, there is no way not to feel.
While Lacey helps Gabe overcome his sadness and mourning, she helps herself at the same time. When their new-found friendship evolves into a romance, both Lacey and Gabe are able to finally be themselves and open up, but there are things that threaten to tear the two apart and those things might be just too much for Lacey to take.
Well can you tell I loved this book? A Texas Holiday Miracle by Linda Warren is a virtual fount of emotion that will have you hugging your loved ones and your pets a little more than the usual. Lacey is one of the strongest characters I have ever come across, taking the weight of the world on her shoulders but still holding her head up high. At first, when we meet Gabe, I couldn't come to terms with him being the hero. He seemed beyond help, but with Lacey's overbearing push he changes into the man worth cheering for. I love how he calls Lacey the Crazy Lady next door. I love his interaction with Emma and his hard working personality. This story could have been set at any time of year and it would still be exceptional, but making it happen over the holidays just gave it an extra bit of magic. For those who love a well written holiday romance, A Texas Holiday Miracle by Linda is a keeper, even if it has you sobbing first, the end is worth the tears.