cover image Just a Little Christmas

Just a Little Christmas

Janet Dailey. Zebra, $7.99 mass market (320p) ISBN 978-1-4201-4008-8

When pregnant divorcée Ellie Marsden, the heroine in Dailey’s third Cowboy Christmas contemporary, returns to Branding Iron, Tex., her plan is to give birth surrounded by family and then hightail it to another big city as soon as she and her child are able. Widower Jubal McFarland, single father to eight-year-old Gracie, is busy trying to raise his daughter and save their ranch. He has no time to rekindle a romance with the woman who broke his heart 10 years ago. He wasn’t enough for her then and he doubts he’s enough for her now, no matter how much their bodies respond to their spontaneous kisses. The closer Gracie gets to Ellie and her dog, Beau, the more Jubal fears impending heartbreak, so he asks Ellie to keep her distance, something that becomes a struggle for all of them. With schemers, snowflakes, and Christmas magic working against them, they may find out the best gift is not under the tree. The connection between the lovers comes across as plot-driven rather than natural and the resolution is uninspiring, but a hint of mystery will engage readers. Agent: Richard Curtis, Richard Curtis Associates. (Oct.)