His Christmas Bride
Lucas lives in New York, but he's always loved Marietta. When he gets engaged, he decides Montana is exactly the place to get married. Tanner Ranch brings back happy memories of horseback riding and summer nights under the stars making it the perfect place to hold his wedding. However, Erin Tanner walks back into his life and other memories start to make him doubt whether he's chosen the right bride.
Erin Tanner is content to live a simple life in Marietta, helping her dad run the family ranch. However, things haven't been easy for the Tanners. With their ranch in financial trouble and in desperate need of repair, Erin knows she needs to do something. And fast... Even if that means saying goodbye to any hopes of a romantic future with Lucas St. Claire by hosting his wedding at the Tanner Ranch.
While Lucas struggles with his feelings, Erin tries to move past hers and accept that Lucas isn't part of her future. But the connection they felt years ago pulls them toward one another, and Lucas is forced to face the truth of what he really wants in life.
“The book has all the ingredients that appeal to me: a loved family reunited, a dream landscape, a couple with possibility of second chance.”
“His Christmas Bride is a wonderful story filled with beautiful romance, countryside charm and plenty of surprises.”
“This sweet Christmas romance is set in a small country town I have grown to love. With a gorgeous setting, people to care about and a plot that kept me reading, this story has truly endeared itself to me. With one more St Clair sibling to be married off, I am happily anticipating another story in this series.”
“If you’re in the mood for a charming, emotional Christmas romance then this one is perfect for you.”
“His Christmas Bride by Lara Van Hulzen is a sweet romantic Christmas story.”
“My first read for this author and and she did not disappoint.”
“This is by far the Very Best Book I have ever read!”
Lucas had driven by the Tanner Ranch earlier that day. It really was a fantastic property. Even under snow and ice, it had a gorgeous view of the hills beyond and warmth radiated from it. He’d stopped coming to Marietta once he left for college, but being back now made him see how much he’d longed for it. A longing he’d pushed back in his mind to focus on work and his social life.
He’d sat in his truck, memories washing over him, warming him inside like a hug from an old friend. As much as he loved New York, the time spent in Marietta was all about open spaces, room to breathe. Freedom. If he were honest with himself, Erin Tanner had been the closest friend he’d ever had in those years. Sure, he’d had his buddies from home, but she was different. Not afraid to be herself, she never fussed with makeup or frilly clothes. Preferring horses to people and books to parties, she’d been called a wallflower. But she wasn’t. Not in truth. Lucas had always considered himself lucky to be one of the choice few who got to see the strong, confident side of her.
Guilt tugged at him for letting their friendship fall by the wayside. But they’d both gone to college and although he knew she’d come back to Marietta to work on her family’s ranch, the years had passed, both of them leading different lives. Hell, she probably didn’t even remember him.
As if conjured up from his memories, she appeared in the doorway of the Grand Ballroom. Lucas stood up straight to get a better view.
No. This wasn’t the Erin Tanner he’d known. That Erin had long, blond hair, almost always pulled back with a rubber band to keep hair out of her face while she worked in the stables or had her head buried in a book. Back then she’d worn glasses and no makeup, a few freckles on her nose popping out in the summer from the sunshine.
The Erin that stood in the doorway now was like an angel in a dream. Her hair was short, sitting right at her shoulders. Waves of gold framed her face. Her long skirt covered legs that went on for days—that he did remember—and hugged her curves—those were new. The top she wore reminded him of his favorite red wine. Her blue eyes searched the room. For who? Was there a guy in her life? Was she married? No. He would know if she’d married. McKenna kept in touch enough and would have told him.
She found who she was looking for and moved toward her. Cynthia. The wedding planner. He’d met her that week to talk about the engagement party as well as the fact that the Tanners had agreed to let them use the ranch. When Vanessa had decided she’d wanted it for their wedding, Lucas thought for sure they’d be dealing with Clayton Tanner. He tamped down another wave of guilt at not even thinking that Erin might be involved. For some reason, she was forever an eighteen-year-old girl in his mind.
The woman he watched now was anything but. She smiled at her friend and he could’ve sworn the twinkle lights got brighter. The makeup she wore made her eyes stand out and the red of her lips matched her top. She freaking glowed.
Lucas shook his head and rubbed his eyes. Mesmerized, he made his way through the room to her. Guilt or not, he wanted nothing more than to talk to her, to make sure she was real. It had to be her.
“Erin? Erin Tanner?”
She turned and their eyes met.