cover image True-Blue Cowboy Christmas

True-Blue Cowboy Christmas

Nicole Helm. Sourcebooks Casablanca, $7.99 mass market (352p) ISBN 978-1-4926-41

In this tender Christmas-themed contemporary western, third in the Big Sky Cowboys series (after Outlaw Cowboy), a little girl inadvertently matchmakes two reluctant lovers. Summer Shaw is 23 and living at her father’s Montana ranch again after a period of estrangement from her family. One day seven-year-old Kate Lane shows up at her door, followed soon after by her protective and ruggedly handsome rancher father, 28-year-old Thackery Lane. Though Summer and Thack feel immediate disdain for each other, they also feel a growing attraction. The two are brought together repeatedly by adorable Kate’s antics, her admiration for Summer, and the magic of Christmas. Helm’s credible dialogue and deft, deliberate pacing effectively develop the plot, the characters, and their relationship. The building romantic aspect of this story would be alluring enough on its own, but Helm adds bonus elements of mystery and suspense as Summer reveals why she left and returned to Montana, making for a delightfully intriguing and enticing story. Agent: Courtney Miller-Callihan, Handspun Literary. (Oct.)