Title: True-Blue Cowboy Christmas by Nicole Helm
Big Sky Cowboys Series Book Three
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
BIG SKY CHRISTMAS
Thack Lane has his hands full. For the past seven years, he’s been struggling to move on from his wife’s tragic death and raise a daughter all by his lonesome. He doesn’t have time for himself, much less a cheerful new neighbor with a smile that can light up the ranch.
Christmas spirit? Bah, humbug.
With Christmas right around the corner, Summer Shaw is searching for somewhere to belong. When her neighbor’s young daughter takes a shine to her, she is thrilled. But Thack is something else altogether. He’s got walls around his heart that no amount of holiday wishes can scale. Yet as joy comes creeping back to the lonely homestead, Summer and Thack may just find their happily ever after before the last of the Christmas miracles are through…
A sweet holiday themed romance, True-Blue Cowboy Christmas is the third installment in Nicole Helm’s Big Sky Cowboys series and readers will be thrilled to finally get the inside scoop on the youngest Shaw sibling, Summer.
The only one of the Shaw children not to grow up on the family’s ranch, Summer has slowly been getting to know her brother and sister since moving to Montana two years earlier. Like both her siblings, she plays her cards very close to her chest, so she has not revealed much about her life prior to arriving in town. Summer wants nothing more than to belong and she is unfailingly cheerful and very hesitant to make waves. She refuses to dwell on her unpleasant memories and as a result, she feels much better about herself than she did before moving to the ranch. A little disheartened by her lack of progress getting to know her taciturn father, Summer finds herself at loose ends after her brother’s and sister’s recent marriages.
Widower Thack Lane is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders and he wants nothing more than to protect his seven year old daughter, Kate, from ever experiencing heartache or pain. Following his wife’s tragic death, he put all his energy into raising Kate and running the family ranch. With his dad Merle’s help, Thack has done a pretty good job juggling the demands of parenthood with the ranch work. However, it has become difficult to keep up with Kate as she ignores the rules and runs a little wild. Desperate to maintain tight control over a world that has proven to be quite harsh, Thack is not exactly happy when Merle hires Summer to help out around the house. While he eventually realizes that she is just what Kate needs, Thack is determine to ignore his unexpected attraction to his beautiful neighbor.
Summer has been a bit of an enigmatic character since she arrived but there is little doubt that things were not ideal with her mom. She is so upbeat, happy and calm that her reaction to Thack when he arrives to find his daughter is a bit of a surprise. These chinks in her equanimity are the first real hints that her life with her mom was more than just unpleasant but she continues to push aside her painful memories. Once she gets to know Thack, she realizes that he is genuinely worried about Kate but she does not hesitate to tell him that he might need to loosen up a bit. Not knowing his history, Summer has no idea how hard it is for him to give up control but Thack gradually becomes aware that he needs to let go of his irrational guilt and take a chance that things will work out for him. However, when Summer’s past catches up with her, can he convince her to stop running from trouble?
Set against the backdrop of the holiday season, True-Blue Cowboy Christmas is an emotional novel of healing, family and love. This final installment in Nicole Helm’s Big Sky Cowboys series is less angst ridden but it still packs a powerful punch as Thack and Summer finally make peace with their respective pasts. All of the unanswered questions about the Shaw family’s complicated history are finally resolved with a pulse-pounding, adrenaline-filled yet slightly over the top conclusion All in all, a lovely holiday romance that old and new fans are sure to enjoy.