cover image Santa in a Stetson

Santa in a Stetson

Janet Dailey, . . Zebra, $6.99 (323pp) ISBN 978-1-4201-0664-0

Bestseller Dailey (Searching for Santa ) pens a throwback western romance for her annual holiday offering. During a photo shoot on a Texas ranch, fashion model Diana Palmer is so entranced by sexy cowboy Lije Masters that within days she decides to give up her life and career to marry him. The whirlwind love affair is slowed by long cerebral conversations about their life histories, making supposedly cautious Diana's sudden decision seem ditzy and reducing the reader's sympathy for her difficult transition from career girl to rancher housewife. When Lije catches Diana with another man, Lije's stereotypical Native American sidekick, Jim Two Pony, brings words of wisdom that persuade the couple to reconcile. The predictable Christmastime conclusion is cute, but modern readers will find Dailey's very old-fashioned tinsel a little tarnished. (Oct.)