12 Days of Christmas Reads — Rocky Mountain Cowboy Christmas by Katie Riggle

12 Days of (1).png

Welcome to a bookish celebration of the Christmas season! For 12 days in December, I’m highlighting a book a day that puts the holiday season front and center of the narrative. You’ll find romances, women’s fiction, and even a cookbook! For day four, I’m sharing a Colorado-set romantic suspense.

When firefighter and single dad Steve Springfield moved his four kids to a Colorado Christmas tree ranch, he intended for it to be a safe haven. But he never expected danger to follow them to his childhood home...

Or that he would come face-to-face with the one girl he could never forget.

Folk artist Camille Brandt lives a quiet life. As the town's resident eccentric, she's used to being lonely—until Steve freaking Springfield changes everything. Brave and kind, he's always had a piece of her heart, and it doesn't take long before she's in danger of falling for him again. But as mysterious fires break out across the sleepy Colorado town, Steve and Camille will have to fight if they want their happy family to survive until Christmas...

I’ve always liked a good Western United States-set romance novel, so Rocky Mountain Cowboy Christmas was a blind pickup from me based solely on the man in a cowboy hat, flannel, and denim on the cover. (I love the genre and its covers, but I’m glad to see that there was no snowy shirtless cowboy on this one. Poor man would’ve frozen to death.)

This light romantic suspense is unusual in that it flips the reclusive hero on his head and casts the heroine in that role. Camille isn’t comfortable around people, and that manifests not through physical awkwardness and clumsiness but pure dread at crowds, strangers, anything really. But Steve is a good solid man and father who shows her from the beginning that he poses no threat. He accepts her fear and discomfort for what it is and, suitably, the relationship progresses on her terms. This makes for a slow building romance that is ultimately believable and satisfying.

One of the most deft pieces of characterization in this book centers around the watching Camille becoming fully comfortable in Steve’s life. She relaxes and interacts and shows who she really is around him and his children gradually. The fact that she doesn’t automatically slip comfortably Steve’s life is a credit to the author. Steve doesn’t make her a social butterfly but helps her become a better version of herself in a realistic way.

Check back tomorrow for the next edition of the 12 Days of Christmas Reads. If you want to see all of the 12 Days of Christmas Reads recommendations in one place, you can check out this handy landing page or sign up for my newsletter.