A Gift Beyond All Measure

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The last thing Jacob Scott expects in his house when he arrives home for Christmas is a sexy, shotgun-toting stranger. Worse, his attraction to her bothers him even more than the gun. Still reeling from the deception of his long-time girlfriend, he’s not looking for romance.

Tessa Jones has learned one hard lesson: when everyone in your life has failed you the only one you can trust is yourself.
Struggling between the promise of the present and the hurts of the past, can these two lost souls overcome their pain long enough to discover a gift beyond all measure?

Excerpt

Jacob Scott raised a brow, then broke away from her hypnotic stare to glance at the shotgun pellets embedded in his wall. “You could have killed me.”
“You broke into the house in the middle of the night.”
He reached into his jeans’ pocket and pulled out his keys. “I didn’t break in. I have the damn key to my own front door.”
She put a hand on her hip and cocked her head. “And how was I to know it was you making all that noise? You’re not supposed to be here.”
Irritation boiled inside his gut. She was treating him like a criminal for entering his own home.
“Well, I am here and this is my house. And just who are you?”
She drew in a breath and glanced to her left. “Tessa Jones,” she mumbled.
The name rattled around in his brain. It was familiar. She was familiar, but he didn’t think he’d actually met her before. He sure would have remembered that thick auburn hair and lush body if they’d been introduced. So, why did he know the name?
Oh, no. Not that Tessa Jones.
“Tessa Jones? The cook for Baxter’s Diner who burned down half of Spencerville after she started a kitchen fire last month?” Thrusting a hand through his hair, he shifted his weight “What are you doing in my house?”
Her face reddened as she glared at him. “I’m the cook for the cowboys here on the Triple H.”
What was Christina thinking? Hiring an arsonist as a cook?
What he thought must have shown on his face, because the hand on her hip fisted, bunching the flannel and inching it up to reveal more of her lovely thighs. Fire blazed in her eyes. “You know, things aren’t always what they appear to be.”
With that, she strode down the hallway to a bedroom and slammed the door behind her.

Reviews

from Karen Hankins
A Gift Beyond All Measure is warm, appealing and so well-rendered that I feel at home in the story.
 
A Gift Beyond All Measure—A holiday offering good all year long
5 Stars by Ginger Simpson, Examiner.com

The title says it all. This holiday offering is a feel-good read anytime of the year, but made even more special by a hero and heroine who both have bad memories that dim the most festive time of the year. Suddenly, the meaning of Christmas comes alive again for Jacob Scott and Tessa Jones.

Anna Kathryn Lanier involves you in their frustrations, internal turmoil, and the joy they try to suppress in finding one another. Of course, the circumstances under which they meet aren’t the most ideal. Imagine coming home from an extended absence, unlocking your front door and hearing someone chamber a round in a shotgun.

Jacob is being treated like a trespasser, and he’s not only puzzled, he’s furious. Who does the skimpily-clad looker holding the gun think she is? And it’s his gun, to boot. His ruffled feathers aren’t the least bit soothed when he discovers his sister has hired Tessa Jones to cook for the ranch hands and live in his house… especially when she’s the one facing charges for negligent actions that caused the fire that destroyed Baxter’s Diner. When he hears that the cookhouse and dining hall were badly burned a week ago, you can only imagine his fear.

Tessa only wants to keep busy and do something meaningful with her life. Cooking is something she’s good at even if her life has gone up in flames. Besides, her court date is rapidly approaching and who knows how that’s going to turn out? In the meantime, she has a hard time suppressing her interest in such a fine-looking male specimen. He’s way out of her league…or is he?

The unspoken feelings that develop between the two main characters are displayed with humor, pensiveness, and even pain. The deep emotions depicted in this story make it come to life before your very eyes, and you won’t be able to stop reading until you’ve absorbed the very last scene. This cute, sweet and sexy read is like unwrapping a great gift—one beyond measure. This is a must read for anyone who needs a good dose of Christmas romance. You won’t be disappointed.
 
A Gift Beyond All Measure
3.5 Stars by Talina, Night Owl Reviews

PERSONAL SUMMARY: A woman torn by a lifetime of betrayal, a man mending his own broken heart, an arson charge hanging in the balance. Neither wanted the attraction they felt for one another, but it could be what saves them both from a fate of loneliness or worse yet, prison.

PLOT: The author told a good holiday story, pulling together each plot thread nicely by the end of the book. A Gift Beyond All Measure really touched my heart. To see the Christmas spirit come to life as the story progressed made it a very cozy read. The conflict and heart ache that the heroine, Tessa, suffered growing up brought real-to-life issues to the story that made me want to reach out and hug her. The plot held a few surprising twists for the heroine that I enjoyed following throughout the story. The final scene brought to mind a few questions in myself, making me wonder if I would be able to forgive and seek a connection that I had spent so many years burying deep inside me.

SETTING: The story takes place on the hero’s ranch, Triple H located in a small town in Montana. I could just picture the snow covered pastures of the ranch and the smell of the real Christmas tree mixed with all the delicious food Tessa prepared for the ranch hands all day long. Oh, which reminds me, Ms. Lanier offers a fabulous recipe at the back of her book!

WRITING: This was my first book by Ms. Lanier. It takes a lot of skill to deliver a story full of emotions and Ms. Lanier definitely delivered in my opinion. Her story flowed smoothly and had great description of the surrounding and of the inner turmoil the characters where experiencing.

CHARACTERS: The characters in A Gift Beyond All Measure are what brought together the story of hurt, loss, and betrayal, turning it into a story of love, family, and happiness. I loved Tessa’s inner strength, her patience, and protectiveness over the people she thought needed protecting. Her ugly, heart-wrenching past is what I believe many reads will connect with on some level. And to read how she was able to find her happily-ever-after is what we all love to read about.
I was disappointed in the hero for the first two-thirds of the story though. For me he was sweet sugar and vinegar, a mixture that made him a bit stand-offish. He could explode one minute or sweep you off your feet the next. Too unpredictable for a hero in my opinion. But, I did like the ending. Jacob redeemed himself in the final chapter making me feel very happy with the over all story. I thought the secondary characters, Jacob’s sister and her husband, were the right ingredient to provide a guide through the trouble waters for both Tessa and Jacob.

LAST THOUGHTS: A seasonal read, A Gift Beyond All Measure delivers on its title. If you are looking for a heart warming story and don’t mind a hero that needs to be taught a thing or two about tenderness, then I think you will like this story. Tessa is a character that steps right out of the page and into your heart. She’s a tough cookie that you want to find love and happiness.
 

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