After fleeing her beloved small town five years ago, Julia Bailey is back to spend Christmas with her family. Returning is hard, but keeping the devastating secret about her late husband is even harder. Her place isn’t in Big Sky Country any longer…but the more time she spends with the irresistible Sheriff who saved her once before, and his adorable little daughter, the more Julia starts wishing she could let go of the past and start a new life.
Single dad and county Sheriff Chase Donovan had been secretly in love with his best friend’s wife for years. But after her traumatic loss, he knew Julia needed to get away from Shadow Creek, even though helping her leave was the last thing he wanted to do. Now she’s home and he doesn’t intend to lose her a second time. Chase is going to prove to Julia just how good they can be together this Christmas…and forever.
Series – Shadow Creek, Montana = 1. Christmas with the Sheriff – 2. The Baby Bombshell – 3. The Doctor’s Redemption – 4. Baby on the Bad Boy’s Doorstep – 5. The Firefighter’s Pretend Fiancee – 6. A Christmas Miracle for the Doctor – 7. Snowed In with the Firefighter –
Title: Christmas With The Sheriff
Series: Shadow Creek, Montana #1
Author: Victoria James
Published: November 7, 2016
My Rating: 4.5 stars
The Shadow Creek, Montana series by Victoria James begins a new weekly feature here at Happily Ever After Romance — our Series Revisit weekly look at a series that has withstood the test of time, is continuing on with delightful stories… and has been reviewed by me across several blogs that I’ve owned over the years. (some were badly hacked and couldn’t safely be restored so all were lost 🙁 this is a way to bring some of those classics back)
Christmas with The Sheriff is a strikingly emotional story of loss, fears, family, and second chances. This is also the kickoff story in Victoria James’ new series, Shadow Creek, Montana. I will be keeping a sharp eye out for the rest of this series for I am now invested in the friends and family of Chase and Julia.
The story opens with an absolutely devastating loss for Julia. No, I won’t be going into more details on that part of the story. You need to experience the impacts for yourself – for it sets the tone for the woman Julia has become, and the fears that she is facing daily.
Julia ran from Shadow Creek five years ago. She had never intended to return, but she knew that she had loved ones here that she needed to face once again. She could do this, she’d set aside three weeks of vacation to spend the holidays with her in-laws and friends Somehow she would get through this visit, it was time. She knew she was loved, she simply didn’t know how to face being home again.
Chase had been a good friend to her and her late husband. He’d been her rock in the days after. Now here he was with his warm welcoming hug as if no time at all had passed since they last saw each other. And Maggie, his sweet daughter. How that child both lifted and broke her heart with one adorable smile.
It was a solid fact which Chase kept well hidden that he’d loved this woman for years, probably close to when they first met. All through high school, he knew he wasn’t good enough for her and had watched his best friend win her for himself. Now she was here, and he would do everything in his power to show her that she belonged back home with him and Maggie. The past was just that, but they could build a future – yet she had to be willing because he’d never let a woman into their lives who would hurt his daughter again by leaving.
Julia has been wrapped in the past for the last five years. Being with Chase and Maggie is changing her, but it’s also increasing her fears. She cannot lose another person she loves again, and Chase is the Sheriff with a dangerous job. Her fears may well cost her the love of a lifetime.
I cannot begin to tell you how emotional Christmas With The Sheriff truly is. It will tear your heart out and eventually give it back to you whole. But you’ll have to go along on this journey of discovery for Julia and Chase. Julia’s fears are well-founded. In order to love Chase and Maggie, she needs to let go of them and trust in the love of this man and child for her happiness. It will not be easy. There will be obstacles, issues, and situations that will send Julia running both emotionally and physically. She has to believe in herself before she can believe in anyone else again. It’s not impossible, but it hurts so badly.
I have read Victoria James for years now – and I firmly believe that this story is her best yet. I do not say that lightly. This is a Christmas gift you’ll want to give to yourself. I loved this story, the characters are true and believable, and so very realistic. You can easily imagine yourself in their place or see them as friends you already know. The secondary characters add just the right touches of humor, concern, and issues to be dealt with another day. I’m so looking forward to reading their stories.
**This review originally appeared on my Heart Full of Christmas blog which no longer exists thanks to hackers. It’s time for this series to shine once again, so enjoy.**
Available in paperback and for your favorite e-reader, mine is the Kindle