Title: Cardwell Christmas Crime Scene
Series: Cardwell Ranch Series #5
Author: B.J. Daniels
Format: Kindle (256 Pages)
Published: Harlequin Intrigue (November 22, 2016)
ISBN: ASIN: B01E34F1DY
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 4 out of 5 Wine Glasses
A conman's daughter takes refuge with the family she never knew she had in New York Times bestseller B.J. Daniels's latest addition to the Cardwell family saga.
Dee Anna Justice had thought that her convict father was her only living relative. Now Walter Justice, fearing for his daughter's safety, urges her to seek out her cousins in Montana. Calling in a decades-old debt, he also enlists private investigator Beau Tanner to protect her.
Despite their fiery attraction, she resents the bodyguard her dad foists on her. Trust doesn't come easy to DJ. But the warm, embracing family she finds at Cardwell ranch just might begin to soften her suspicious nature, and learning to trust the sexy PI may be the key to saving her life.
He’d been trying to save this woman in his dreams for years. Now here she was, all grown up, and he still felt helpless.
Cardwell Christmas Crime Scene by B.J. Daniels is a spine-tingling and heartwarming contemporary romantic suspense. The setting is gorgeous with most of the action taking place around the Cardwell Ranch located in Gallatin Canyon in Montana at Christmastime. Even though it’s the fifth book in B.J.’s Cardwell Ranch series and straddles her Cousins’ series, Cardwell Christmas Crime Scene works well as a standalone if that is your preference. That said, fans of B.J.’s Cardwell books will be thrilled to catch up with previous favorite characters from both series as they gather together for their holiday celebrations. This is the story of Dee Anna “DJ” Justice and Beau Tanner.
DJ has had a nomadic life. She and her secretive con-man dad have continuously been on the run from people he’s swindled and other enemies known only to her father. Now her father is in prison serving time for his misdeeds and DJ wants answers. Her apartment has been broken into; yet the intruder left only a rag doll and an old picture displaying people DJ doesn’t recognize. Instead of answering her questions, her father directs her to Cardwell Ranch to meet relatives she didn’t know existed. However, unknown to DJ, there’s also an outstanding lucrative reward for her death.
When Beau was ten, his father had scammed DJ’s dad. Beau has never forgotten the sight of his five-year-old daughter’s eyes as she clung to her father. Beau had wanted to save her then. Now, Beau is a private investigator and DJ’s dad is calling in the favor Beau owes him for letting his own father off. True to his word, Beau agrees to protect his daughter while she is in Montana. The problem is that Beau has no idea what he’s protecting her against.
I adored how DJ’s and Beau’s chemistry was instantaneous but their actual romance was slow building – intensifying from the original connecting thread of internal scars from each of their difficult upbringings. Their heart-wrenching romance is as appealing as it was unexpected. Beau is strong, capable and honorable. DJ is a survivor and one stubborn woman, but that doesn’t stop a determined Beau from sticking to her like glue. However, Beau has his hands full just trying to keep her alive.
Following please find a few of my favorite quotes from Cardwell Christmas Crime Scene:
They rode up a trail until the trees parted and they got their first good view of Lone Peak across the valley and river. This late morning it was breathtaking. The stark peak gleamed against the deep blue of the big sky. No wonder this area had been named Big Sky.
He started for his office, but something was bothering him. Turning back to her, he said, “I have to know. DJ walks in and you instantly like her. You’ve never liked any of the women I’ve dated, and you’ve never done more than share a few words with them on the phone. What is different about this one?” he demanded, trying to keep his voice down.
Marge smiled. “You’ll remember this one’s name.”
DJ saw the change in his expression the moment before he dropped the ax, reached out with his gloved hand and, cupping her neck, drew her to him. “I believe you owe me a kiss.”
One of my favorite scenes involved Beau and DJ going on a quest to find the perfect Christmas tree for Beau’s home. The similarity drawn between Beau’s and DJ’s lives and the misshapen tree tore at my heartstrings. The following is a short snippet from this special occasion:
“A tree.” She spotted one. It was hidden behind a much larger tree, its limbs misshapen in its attempt to fight for even a little sunlight in the shadow. “Dana has this tradition of giving a sad-looking tree the honor of being a Christmas tree.” She walked over to the small, nearly hidden tree. “I like this one. “It’s…”
He laughed. “Ugly?”
“No, it’s beautiful because it’s had a hard life. It’s struggled to survive against all odds and would keep doing that without much hope. But it has a chance to be something special.”
B.J.’s books are all must-reads for me. I know that I can rely on B.J. to deliver a story that is fresh, exciting, action-packed and emotional. Cardwell Christmas Crime Scene is an excellent addition to B.J.’s Cardwell incredible Cardwell books with plenty of her signature tangled mystery elements incorporating lots of danger and featuring two broken characters needing saving. It is perfectly paced and solid from start to finish. I had to read it in one sitting; Putting it down, once I’d started it, wasn’t an option. I highly recommend Cardwell Christmas Crime Scene to anyone who enjoys excellent romantic suspense.
Suggested Reading Order:
Crime Scene at Cardwell Ranch (Book #1)
Justice at Cardwell Ranch (Book #2)
Cardwell Ranch Trespasser (Book #3)
Christmas at Cardwell Ranch (Book #4)
Cardwell Christmas Crime Scene (Book #5)