cover image Rocky Mountain Cowboy Christmas

Rocky Mountain Cowboy Christmas

Katie Ruggle. Sourcebooks Casablanca, $7.99 mass market (416p) ISBN 978-1-4926-5866-5

In Ruggle’s sappy contemporary romantic thriller (after Through the Fire), set in a chilly Rocky Mountain December, a lonely outsider finds the spirit of the holidays on a Christmas tree ranch. Camille Brandt has always been a misfit but has made a productive life for herself in small Borne, Colo., as a folk artist. When her high school crush, firefighter Steve Springfield, returns to his brothers’ Christmas tree ranch as a widower with four children, Camille is drawn into the carefree and affectionate family life she has always yearned for. Steve is an endearing single father whose love for his children does not prevent him from being a sexy romantic interest. Shy Camille becomes even more awkward when she realizes the handsome cowboy is romantically interested in her. To complicate matters, as she begins to relax and reciprocate his attention, she becomes the target of a mysterious campaign of threats. The lackluster suspense plot mars this holiday romance, and there is much less derring-do than in Ruggle’s K9 and search and rescue series, but she still includes enough warmth and affection to satisfy her fans. Agent: Jessica Watterson, Sandra Dijkstra Literary. (Oct.)