I have to be honest: If I just looked at the title, “Texas Holiday Hideout,” I might not have chosen to read this book. Now, don’t get me wrong – I love myself a cheesy romance as much as the next girl, but romantic suspense, or better, suspense with a flavoring of romance, is more my taste. Let’s face it: the title for this book just doesn’t feel “suspensy.” Fortunately for me, I skipped past the title and scrolled down to the description. I’m glad I did; I enjoyed this book. (Don’t forget to scroll down to enter the giveaway at the end!)
This book contains affiliate links. They don’t cost you a penny, but they sure help with those student loans! For more information, please see my disclosures. Also, I received an advance copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. This did not influence my review, because that’s just not how I do things.
Texas Holiday Hideout is a little bit about romance, but a lot about family.
This book is romantic suspense, yes. But the family themes really come across even more than the romance. In Melissa we see the powerful love of “Mama Bear” for her little boy, a love that will do anything to keep her kiddo safe. We also walk with Melissa as she wrestles through the grief of losing her own mom so suddenly…and the confusion of realizing that her mom kept the truth from her for so many years. Why, Mom?
I love the way Miles’ family welcomes Melissa and her son…and the way they rally around them and forgive Miles when the truth comes out. You kept this from us, and we’re hurt, but we’re fighting for you anyways.
This was a book about trust – trusting God and trusting people.
Trust was a major theme in this book, and I really resonated with it. The reasons and the ways I struggle with trusting people are different, but like Melissa, I will have to choose to let myself trust if I want to have real relationships. When you know someone’s character, you can choose to trust even when you don’t understand everything. We also see Melissa’s journey to surrender the chaos of her life, her safety and that of her son, to the God who can do all things. Melissa’s a believer, and she’s been through hard things before, but her mother’s murder and her weeks on the run with Witness Protection have made her doubt. It doesn’t feel fake as we watch her wrestle through finding her footing with God again.
Things I didn’t love about Texas Holiday Hideout
So I mentioned the title. It’s not so great. It implies more rom-com than suspense and implies more Christmas than is really there. You could take the Christmas out of this book and it would still work.
One thing that rubbed me a little wrong was the way Miles and Melissa think about their attraction. I’m not saying it’s wrong. But sometimes the person you are “irresistibly drawn to” isn’t actually someone you should be with. We have to have a better reason than “I can’t resist you.” There is a lot more substance to this book, but I felt like the author relied too much on the “irresistible” idea.
I would have liked to see more development of the bad guy. We meet him…once, really, before we figure out what is really going on. And there were a few places that seemed repetitive or the wording was a bit awkward.
Should you read Texas Holiday Hideout?
Despite the things that weren’t my “fave,” I really enjoyed this book. If you like romantic suspense and family stories, you will too. And speaking of families, I’m really hoping we get to see more of Miles’ siblings in future books!
About the Book
Book: Texas Holiday Hideout
Author: Virginia Vaughan
Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense
Release Date: October 1, 2020
When her identity’s exposed,
hiding on a lawman’s family ranch is her last hope.
After her mother is killed, Melissa Morgan’s shocked to learn she’s spent her life in witness protection. Now it’s US marshal Miles Avery’s job to keep her and her little boy safe. And with a mole in his agency, the only way to evade the killer is to hide Melissa on Miles’s family ranch…and pretend she’s his wife for the holidays.
Click here to get your copy!
Virginia Vaughan is a multi-published author of inspirational romantic suspense. Blessed to come from a large, southern family, her fondest memories include listening to stories recounted by family and friends around the large dinner table. She was a lover of books even from a young age, devouring gothic romance novels and stories of romance, danger, and love. She soon started writing them herself. A former investigator for the State of Mississippi, Virginia utilizes her criminal justice background with her love of writing to transform words into powerful stories of romance and danger.
More from Virginia
What if one day you discovered you were in the Witness Protection Program and didn’t know it?
This is the premise for my October book, TEXAS HOLIDAY HIDEOUT, which releases this month. My heroine, Melissa Morgan, learns she and her mother entered the program when Melissa was a child. Her mother never told her and, when Melissa witnesses her mother being murdered, she becomes the assassin’s next target. US Marshal Miles Avery steps in to protect the single mom and her son from a killer, but a leak in WITSEC leaves him with little options except to take his witnesses to his family’s ranch…and pretend she’s his wife for the holidays.
So, in celebration of TEXAS HOLIDAY HIDEOUT releasing this month, here are 10 things about the Witness Protection Security Program (or WITSEC) I learned during my research for this book.
- The program is voluntary. No one can be forced to enter.
- You can leave the program at any time—although it is not recommended.
- No person in the program, who follows the rules, has ever been killed.
- People entering WITSEC sometimes keep their same first name and/or initials so that if they mess up and start to sign their name, they have time to correct.
- Since WITSEC is a federal program, many states have their own programs to protect witnesses of gang or street-level crimes.
- If you get married while in WITSEC, you must lie to your new spouse to protect your true identity in the event the relationship doesn’t last.
- Protected witnesses are mostly criminals. Only about 5% are innocents despite the popular trope in movies and fiction.
- Local law enforcement may or may not be notified when a protected witness is relocated to their jurisdiction.
- Divorced, non-custodial parents have had their children hidden from them and now must agree to allow their children to enter the program.
- WITSEC protected witnesses are expected to eventually become self-sufficient. They do not get to live off the government for the rest of their lives.
Did any of these facts about WITSEC surprise you? I’d love to hear which ones. I had a lot of fun researching WITSEC for TEXAS HOLIDAY HIDEOUT. I hope you enjoy Miles and Melissa’s story! Look out for the next book in the series—middle brother Navy SEAL Paul Avery’s story—coming in TEXAS TARGET STANDOFF in March of 2021.
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To celebrate her tour, Virginia is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of Texas Holiday Hideout!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.