Smokin’ Hot Cowboy Christmas
by Kim Redford
Publication Date: 9/29/2020
Have yourself a Smokin’ Hot Cowboy Christmas
It’s been one fiasco after another for newcomer Belle Tarleton since she began trying to turn her ranch into an arts center. Local workers seem determined to ruin her Christmas party plans, and she hopes bringing in down-on-his-luck Rowdy Holloway to help with renovations will get things back on track.
Rowdy is the unluckiest cowboy in the whole of Wildcat Bluff County, Texas, and things are not improving this holiday season. Sure, he’s the object of many local women’s drool-worthy fantasies, but the town has decided he’s the man who should stop Belle’s renovation plans.
It started as a simple mission, but now Rowdy’s so twisted up he doesn’t know whose side he’s on. With only days until Christmas, Rowdy and Belle need to tap into their fiery personalities and off-the-charts chemistry if they’re ever going to find a way to thaw the ice on this reluctant town’s heart.
Kim Redford is a bestselling author of contemporary Western romance novels. She grew up in Texas with cowboys, cowgirls, horses, cattle, and rodeos. She’s a rescue cat wrangler and horseback rider—when she takes a break from her keyboard. Kim Redford currently divides her time between homes in Oklahoma and Richardson, Texas.
Author Website: http://www.kimredford.com/
Smokin' Hot Cowboy Christmas
Life had taken on the magical quality of Christmas that Rowdy enjoyed every year. As he drove down Wildcat Road, he thought about the fact that the county was only two days out from the annual festivities centered in Old Town, Sure-Shot, and Wildcat Hall Park. Out-of-towners were starting to arrive and fill up Twin Oaks B&B, Wildcat Bluff Hotel, Cowboy Cabins, and every other available space for rent. It was fun and exciting, but everybody was running to get last-minute details completed so everything rolled out smoothly for those who came to relax and enjoy the holidays.
Well, not quite everybody was involved in supporting the festivities. At Lulabelle & You Ranch, Belle had created her own little island of holiday happiness. She wasn’t involved in the county’s affairs, so she was focused on her clothing line, the horses and cattle on the ranch, and the pigeons in her barn. He smiled at another thought. She also put a little focus on him because he spent evenings at her house.
He turned off the road, rattled across the cattle guard of Belle’s ranch, and drove up to her house. He parked in front on the circle drive. He shook his head in disgust at the shingle stacks. They were a glaring reminder of what he—and nobody else—hadn’t done for her, but at least most of them were there. If she had a leak on her roof, there’d have been no question about reroofing her house, but upgrading could wait until they were past the holidays…at least he hoped she saw it that way.
He’d make up for the shingles today because he was arriving with gifts in the back of his one-ton pickup, sort of like Santa Claus with gifts in the back of his sleigh. Horsepower and reindeer-power got the job done.
She knew he was coming, so she opened the front door, raced across the lawn, and threw herself into his arms just as he stepped out of his vehicle. She felt good like she always did…and so right with him.
“Did you bring my gifts like you said?” She grinned at him, excited like a little kid on Christmas morning.
“Look in the back of the truck.”
She started to run back there but stopped and looked at him. “You could have waited until Christmas.”
“I want you to enjoy my gifts now. Besides, aren’t you going to your family’s ranch for Christmas dinner?”
“I always do, but this year…”
“Family is important. Tradition is important.”
“But we’re important, too.”
He pressed a soft kiss to the tip of her nose. “Let’s table that for today. I want you to have what I made.”
“Made?” She opened her hazel eyes wide in excitement.
He tugged her to the back of his truck.
“Oh my! You made furniture for my new patio?”
“Remember, I told you I did a little woodworking as a hobby. I hope you like cedar. It’s perfect for outdoors.”
He was pleased with the two chairs, love seat, and table he’d created for her. He lowered the tailgate and hopped up into the bed of his truck. He set each piece on the ground and then picked up a big sack and handed it to her. He leaped back down and closed the tailgate.
“What’s in here?” She hugged the sack to her chest. “It feels soft.”
“You need cushions for your furniture, don’t you?”
“Wonderful! You thought of everything.”
“I wanted you to have it all for Christmas.”
She peeked into the open sack. “I can hardly believe it. You matched the color of the new trim on my house.”
“If I’m going to do something, I do it right.”
She gave him a little self-satisfied smile. “Yeah. I can give testimony to that fact.”
“Come on. I’ll carry your new furniture around back and set it up.”
He picked up the love seat and headed for the backyard. She kept right up with him, lugging the sack of cushions. When they got there, he set down his piece of furniture near the metal set. The old patio set looked insubstantial, almost whimsical, in comparison.
“Where do you want me to position your new furniture?”
“I’m not sure.” She set the big sack on top of the old table.
He checked the flagstone patio under his feet, looking for any problems that might have occurred since he’d finished installing it. No issues so far, but he didn’t expect any because he did meticulous work. He liked the big size of the patio. It stretched the length of the house just outside the long bank of windows, so the patio served as an extension of that room, melding outdoors with indoors.
He was as proud of building the patio as he was of making the furniture. He’d worked hard to bring her vision to life…and he’d succeeded. He realized now that when something was made for someone out of love, it turned out not just beautiful but special as well. He could easily spend a lifetime creating wonderful things for her just to see her face fill with happiness as it was at this moment. He’d learned that was part of what love was all about.
“I want to center the set just outside the windows so when I’m inside I can see how beautiful it looks outside,” she said.
He tugged her close, feeling his heart swell with happiness. “Perfect. Now let’s get the rest of your new furniture back here.”
Soon they had the cedar pieces arranged on the patio with the cushions in place. It looked good, even better than he’d imagined when he was making it.
“Rowdy, I love it.” She set the crimson-silk-flower holiday arrangement he’d included in the sack on the center of the table and then plopped down in a chair and stroked long fingers across the smooth, varnished tabletop.
“Merry Christmas.” He sat down beside her, feeling as if he’d come home for the holidays.
For me, there's nothing better than a Christmas gift handmade with love. Tell me about a handmade gift you've either given or received for Christmas.