The Maverick's Holiday Masquerade (Montana Mavericks: What Happened at the) - Caro Carson

Series: Montana Mavericks: What Happened at the Wedding (Book 5)





Greetings, merry readers! As the holidays approach in Rust Creek Falls, we are marveling at the number of couples who have been brought together by this summer's infamous wedding punch. And then there is Kristen Dalton, our town's resident actress/romantic. Since July, she has been pining over the "perfect cowboy," Ryan, whom she met at the wedding. But he left town soon after -- for good, or so we thought.


Now Ryan has returned, and folks are betting he and Kristen will be engaged before we can hang the holly. Not so fast, romantic revelers! Our out-of-town cowboy may not be exactly as advertised. Will they still meet under the mistletoe when Kristen finds out who Ryan really is?


Very good book. It begins at the summer wedding when Kristen meets Ryan. He had been in town for a brief visit with his sister, and had stopped by the wedding reception to meet up with her. He had changed into casual clothes, like so many of the other attendees and blended in with them. He and Kristen catch each others eyes, meet and begin to talk.


Kristen has just come off a bad relationship with a man who lied and cheated on her. She's decided she's done with "city slickers" and will stick with cowboys like the ones she's grown up with. The man she meets at the wedding seems to fit the bill. He admits he's not from around there, but is looking at relocating. His kisses are hot, but he's not pushy, even though she's ready to melt in his arms. He doesn't have much to say about himself, but Kristen thinks she's got him all figured out. She's got him pegged as a rodeo cowboy who's ready to settle down, and is determined to show him what Rust Creek Falls has to offer. 


Ryan is actually a high-powered entertainment lawyer from LA. It's true that he's become somewhat jaded with his life. He's tired of the women who just want what they can get from him, and the hectic, superficial life he has. The beautiful brunette is just one more positive thing in the appeal of Montana. He's not sure what it is, but being with her just feels right. He'd like to get to know her better, but he has to be back home the next day.


I loved seeing the two of them together the day of the wedding. The immediate connection was awesome. It was great to see Kristen trying to sell life in Rust Creek Falls, and how fascinated Ryan was with it all. Ryan felt so right with her that he even told her about his early life, and being abandoned by his mother. He has never told any other woman about any of it. I also liked the way that he was so into Kristen, and paid such close attention to everything she said. I really liked the way he was such a gentleman at the end of the evening. By the time it was done, he knew he wanted to spend more time with her, but getting back was going to take some doing. He meant it when he promised to come back.


After he left, neither he nor Kristen could forget each other. Ryan wanted to go back, but things kept getting in the way. Then he convinced himself that Kristen would have forgotten him by then and moved on. Meanwhile, Kristen keeps looking for him and has made up a whole life for him in her head. She gets more and more sad the longer he's away. Ryan's sister overhears her talking about Ryan and figures out who she's talking about. Ryan is stunned to hear from his sister about who he supposedly is. 


His return to Rust Creek Falls is quite eventful. He desperately wants to see Kristen again, but he's also afraid to tell her the truth about who he is. His mother's abandonment of him has part of him believing that he's unlovable and that Kristen would also walk away from him if she knew the truth. I loved their reunion and how it was so obvious that they belonged together. But I ached for Ryan as, instead of just coming out with it, he chose to reveal small pieces of the truth at a time. Every time that Kristen spoke of what she believed he felt worse. The time they spent together drew them closer together, but the truth was a sword hanging over Ryan's head. 


I loved Kristen's pride in her hometown and the way she wanted Ryan to share it with her. I was a bit frustrated with the way she created a life for Ryan without having anything to base it on. She does have a sensitive and loving heart, and it really showed when Ryan told her about his past. I loved her joy when he came back, and how she scooped him right into her life. The only thing she hadn't told him about was going to be a surprise for him, since she gave him the credit for her motivation.


I hurt for both Kristen and Ryan when the truth came out, because it got all tangled up in Ryan's fears. He said some horrible things in the middle of his own pain, hurting Kristen even more. Seeing what he went through afterwards, as he realized what he had done was great, as I felt he deserved every minute of it. He made up for it quite well with his "go big" moment at the end. It was sweet and romantic and showed just how much he had changed.