Luke’s Gift by Kaylie Newell
The Harlow Brothers, Book 2
Tule Publishing (November 1, 2018)
Contemporary Romance/Small Town Romance/Holiday-Christmas
After serving in the army, Luke Harlow returns home in time for the holidays to help his brothers raise their twelve-year-old half sister. With his new job as Marietta’s police officer, Luke finds himself in the middle of a festive mystery that the entire town will want solved before Christmas morning.
Mary Best is Marietta Courier’s most promising young reporter. When she starts spending time with sexy Luke Harlow to write an article about his heroic military service, she begins to suspect there’s more to this new police recruit than meets the eye. He’s kind, generous, and very mysterious. When anonymous gifts start appearing around town for people in need, Mary knows there’s a story there. A magical one. It doesn’t take long for the breadcrumbs to lead right back to Luke.
As the gifts pile up, so does everyone’s urge to unmask Marietta’s secret Santa. Luke is deeply private, and Mary is deeply curious–opposites who’ll find themselves tumbling toward each other amidst the snowy backdrop of a town fully embraced in the spirit of Christmas. But when Mary uncovers Luke’s secret, will she be able to bury her reporter’s instincts for the sake of love? And will Luke finally be able to trust someone with his heart?
The thing that keeps coming back to me after having read Luke’s Gift is that the story was amazingly realistic. The dialogue, the inner issues, the conflicts, the romance, it all read true to life. The main characters struggle with trust and commitment issues and were portrayed naturally. This is a story of a couple just meeting and the author portrays this new relationship wonderfully through their actions and dialogue. You get to see them dating, getting to know each other, the stubbornness of not willing to full-out commit. There are secrets, distrusts, and an attraction neither are able to deny. The preteen sister Maddie is a force to be reckon with. The loving sibling bond between her and Luke got me. Christmas magic in Marietta is on display in this story. You have the must have/required settings for Christmas stories set in Marietta: Sage’s Cooper Mountain Chocolate Shop, Christmas lights on Bramble Lane, Scott Farm for Christmas trees, the Graff Hotel, and people coming together to help one of their own. I have not read book 1, Tanner’s Promise, but will take care of that very soon. I’m eagerly waiting for book 3, Judd’s story, and hoping it will pair him with Mary’s friend, Savannah. A wonderful Christmas read, or a read for anytime of the year. Newell consistency delivers meaningful, realistic relationships.
ARC received from Tule Publishing via Netgalley
Reviewed by Comfy Chair Books/Lisa Reigel (September 10, 2018)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
For Kaylie Newell, storytelling is in the blood. Growing up the daughter of two gifted writers, she knew eventually she’d want to follow in their footsteps. While she’s written short stories her whole life, it wasn’t until after her kids were born that she decided to shoot for the moon and write her first romance novel. She hasn’t looked back since!
Kaylie lives in Southern Oregon with her husband, two little girls, an elderly Chihuahua mix, and two indifferent cats.
Visit Kaylie at http://www.facebook.com/kaylienewell