cover image Mistletoe in Texas

Mistletoe in Texas

Kari Lynn Dell. Sourcebooks Casablanca, $7.99 mass market (448p) ISBN 978-1-4926-5814-6

Dell (Fearless in Texas) skillfully continues her contemporary Western Texas Rodeo series with an able take on one of romance’s most enduring tropes: a secret baby. Hank Brookman left Earnest, Tex., as a cocky bullfighter determined to set the rodeo world on fire—until one mistake destroyed his career and sent him into an emotional spiral he almost couldn’t pull out of. Hometown girl Grace McKenna has always loved Hank, even if he only saw her as a friend. But after a one-night stand with him leaves her pregnant, she heads to Oregon, where a lesbian couple adopts her baby. Now an athletic trainer at the Earnest high school, Grace is relatively happy—until Hank comes back to town and she is forced to reveal her secret. Dell’s expertise in the rodeo and ranching worlds shines through, providing authenticity and a colorful background. A subplot involving Hank’s estranged, crotchety father and the intriguing, plain-spoken Native American woman who helped Hank rebuild his life add satisfying depth. With only a smattering of Christmas window dressing, this touching tale of redemption and forgiveness immerses readers in a world they won’t want to leave. Agent: Holly Root, Root Literary. (Oct.)