In From the Cold
I’m more of a warm weather than a cold weather person and if given a choice between a book set during a snowstorm or on a sunny beach I’ll pick the beach every time. Despite that, I found many things to like about this romance set during a difficult Colorado mountain winter. While this first in a series about three brothers is not without flaws, I found the characters complex and parts of the book unique.
Callista MacKintosh’s boss Nick Jordan has given her yet another difficult assignment. Nick’s a Seattle developer and Callie’s job is to convince home and business owners that it’s in their best interest to sell their land to Nick. This time Nick wants to build a ski resort on family property in Colorado that his estranged brother Gabe lives on.
Gabe not only lives on the land, he runs a dogsledding business there. Gabe has ignored Callie’s calls so she heads for his home. Gabe makes it clear to Callie that he doesn’t want the ski resort on his property, and doesn’t want anything to do with her. He’s virtually silent for much of their first encounter, answering her questions with single-word responses, if any. Of course, things don’t end there, as Callie’s persistence leads to numerous encounters, and a slowly developing relationship.
Callie and Gabe are complex, multi-layered characters. Gabe clearly fits in the role of tortured hero. After his second tour of duty in Afghanistan he spent the first six months drinking in bars and alienating most people in town. Gabe feels alienated and isolated from those who don’t understand him; he’s only safe on the family land.
Gabe’s problems with his brother Nick started years earlier. His father died when Gabe was just ten and his mother had to hold down two jobs to support her three sons. His mother favored and spoiled his brother Nick, leaving Gabe with no attentive parent. Before leaving town Nick betrayed Gabe and the two haven’t talked since.
Callie’s fighting her own demons. Her mother, only 53, is suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s. Callie doesn’t agree with some of Nick’s decisions, but needs her job to pay for her mother’s care. She’s become a workaholic with no love or affection in her life. I like both Callie and Gabe, and appreciate how they slowly learn more about each other. Gabe has turned his dogsledding business into a success and I enjoyed seeing it through Callie’s eyes. The descriptions of the dogsledding and the dogs themselves are wonderful.
Many readers complain about the idyllic small town settings used so frequently in romances; that isn’t the case here. The town suffered in the economic downturn leading most young people to move from the area as soon as they can. The locals are struggling to bring the town back and many view the ski resort as a step in the right direction.
There is a strong secondary thread featuring Gabe’s brother Tyler, who is now the town sheriff. I enjoyed this thread focusing on Tyler’s dysfunctional relationship with a woman in town as well as a college lover with whom he just learns he had a baby when the now 13-year old appears on his doorstep. However, I completely despise Gabe’s brother Nick and can’t imagine how the author turns him into the hero in her next book. While I will probably check out Tyler’s story, I’m going to give a pass to Nick’s.