Publication Date: October 15th 2019 by Berkley
About the book:
‘Tis the season for starting over for one military man turned cowboy in this new novel by the New York Times bestselling author of The Cowboy and His Baby.
Former Navy master-at-arms Jason Clements is down on his luck and calling in one last favor. His cousin has secured him a job opportunity as a cowboy working at Price Ranch in Wyoming. Too bad Jason has never even saddled a horse. If he can keep this job without his PTSD getting in the way, it’ll be a Christmas miracle.
Local busybody Sage Cooper loves Painted Barrel something fierce, but it’s time for her to move on. Since her father passed away, the family ranch feels too big for just her, and there’s no chance of finding a husband in this small town. To the rest of the world, she’s just another local fixture, known for her closet full of ugly Christmas sweaters and being perpetually single.
It isn’t until Jason shows up in desperate need of a cowboy crash course that Sage discovers a tall, dark, and handsome reason to stick around. And with the holidays coming up, Sage is in need of a date for a special event—maybe they’ll turn out to be each other’s best Christmas present.
Jason, an ex-navy guy hasn’t had the best luck with jobs since his PTSD has him struggling with panic attacks that are even worse now that he lost his support dog. At his ends, he takes a job as a ranch hand even though he has zero experience. Thankfully, he runs into Sage, and she offers him a trade: she’ll give him a crash course in ranching if he’ll be her date at her friend Greg’s rehearsal dinner and wedding. Sage is tired of being known as Greg’s mooning sidekick but finding a date in the small town of Painted Barrel has so far been an impossible task! Jason is tall, dark, and handsome, but more than that he’s a sweet, hard working man and Sage’s heart aches for all the struggles he’s had to endure.
Sage had such a big heart, loneliness making her a bit naïve in the past when it came to Greg. That guy was a complete idiot, and I’m happy Sage didn’t let him walk all over her once she got a clue.
Jason can’t believe that Sage, both beautiful and sweet, has struggled to find a date, and has been at the beck-and-call of a douchebag like Greg. Jason doesn’t feel like he deserves her either when his PTSD easily sends him into a panic, but if Sage feels he’s worthy he’s not fool enough to pass up a chance to be with her. I was so happy Jason didn’t deprive them of love because of feeling unworthy at times. Their relationship was slow and steady at first, but boy did it build up into a wickedly hot romance!
I just loved A Cowboy Under the Mistletoe! It was such a delightful wintery/holiday read: small town, snowy nights, ugly Christmas sweaters, homemade cookies, gift giving, ranching, and a sweet rescue dog! Jason and Sage brought out the best in each other, providing support and inspiring confidence where lacking. Also, they brought so much passion and joy to each other I was filled with happiness that they met!
I can’t wait for Becca’s story next!
And he was smiling at her. Even though she was being goofy and weird and wearing ridiculous reindeer antlers, he was smiling at her. Sage Cooper.
It was a heady feeling. In that moment, she wanted to help him and get more of those smiles. Sage genuinely loved helping people, but she had a different goal in mind when she looked at Jason. She just wanted him to smile again.
“You really don’t know how to ranch?” she asked.
He pursed his lips and shook his head.
“Why did you lie?” It didn’t seem like a job anyone would take on the spur of the moment. There were easier jobs out there than ranching, and they probably paid a heck of a lot more.
Meaning that he had a secret. Well, that was all right. She’d always thought of herself as an open book, but things had changed over the last year. After all, weren’t her dating app profiles a secret? A humiliating, awful secret that Greg would laugh and laugh about if he knew . . . and then tell Becca? Who would then tell everyone in Painted Barrel?
Yeah, Sage knew all about keeping things secret to protect yourself.
“I won’t ask,” she told him. “But I can help you.”
Jason looked at her with a frown and then dawning realization. “You can get me some books?”
“Well, not exactly.” She hugged Order of the Phoenix tighter to her chest, as if to bolster herself. “But I do have a ranch.”
His eyes flared with interest, and the breath stole from her lungs. Oh, were his eyes gray? She liked that. She liked that a lot. “You do?”
“Everyone here does. There’s not much around Painted Barrel but ranches, you know?”
He gestured at the mail desk, where Greg’s pamphlets were spread. “But I thought you . . .”
“Municipal clerk. I know. I am.” She went to tuck a lock of hair behind her ear, flustered, and ended up smacking her reindeer horns. “My father was the mayor of this town before he passed, and he got me a job as a municipal clerk when I was a teenager. And I sort of stayed on and have done it ever since. But yeah, my father has a ranch, and now that he’s gone, it’s mine. I’ve sold all of the cattle but two, and just one horse. You can come over to my place and practice until you get comfortable, if you like.”
He stared at her, stunned. “You’d do that for me?”
She beamed at him. “Of course. Why wouldn’t I?”
Sage watched, fascinated, as his jaw clenched. “Reasons.”
“Because most people don’t do things out of the good- ness of their hearts. Not anymore.” He rubbed his jaw again. “Can I pay you?”
Sage waved a hand, dismissing the thought. Once she sold all her father’s acreage, she’d have more money than she knew what to do with. “Don’t be silly.”
But he gave her another intense look, leaning in. His height was . . . amazing. She gazed up at him and felt as if he were the tallest—and handsomest—man she’d ever seen. Oh, her new crush was baaaad. “I’d feel better if I didn’t owe you,” he murmured.
An idea occurred to her, and she clutched the book tighter. Did she dare? Should she ask? Her mouth worked silently, and then before she could think better of it, she blurted, “I do need a date.”
Connect with Jessica Clare:
The wonderful people at Berkley are giving away A Paperback copy of A Cowboy Under the Mistletoe to one reader. The giveaway is open to US residents only. Fill out the rafflecopter for a chance to win. Good luck!