What do you get for the girl who has everything? A cowboy, of course.
Avery McClain is looking forward to her first Christmas in Montana with her little girl. But as soon as she arrives, she's caught in an unexpected tug of war between two ranchers wanting to buy the land left to her by her favorite uncle. All she wants to do is make the holiday special for daughter. But instead, she's overwhelmed with attempts to pressure her into selling. And she's uncomfortably attracted to one of the men competing for her property.
Judson Ford wants Avery McClain's land to expand his horse breeding operation. He didn't anticipate his attraction to her, or his admiration for her courage. And her little girl is so damn cute! Before he knows it, he's been swept up in her Christmas spirit. Suddenly, Avery and her daughter are filling all the empty spaces in his life.
But then, Avery is offered a job opportunity that would mean she'd have to relocate. And Judson realizes that everything in him is pushing him to ask her to stay and make a life—a family—with him.
Unfortunately, someone else has other ideas.
This was my first novel by Pam Mantovani. While I didn't feel lost by jumping in at book 7 (it really does stand well on its own), I'm also excited to go back to the beginning and read books 1-6. I want to get to know all of the couples who reside in this small Montana town.
I enjoy a second chance story and Mantovani has brought readers a good one with Christmas with a Cowboy. I empathized with Avery, a newly-divorced single mom looking for a new beginning with her three-year-old daughter on the ranch left to her by her uncle. I was with her every step of the way as she worked to figure out the right place to move forward. I loved the warm, welcoming nature of the people in her new town and the friendships made along the way. Meeting the secondary characters who ease her way made me eager to read their stories too.
I really liked Judson's openness with Avery. I would have had a harder time with their budding relationship if he had kept his ambitions from her. Still, there were some potholes and misunderstandings along the way but the author didn't let them go on for too long. I especially loved the relationship that developed between "Udson" and Avery's daughter. That little girl is adorable, wonderfully developed, and an important part of the story. Judson's father adds an additional layer of emotion that provides insight into some of the emotional baggage Judson carries as well as offering heartwarming layers to his relationship with Avery and her daughter.
In addition to the heart-tugging romance, Mantovani also spins a suspenseful thread that adds another layer to the story, keeping me guessing as to the perpetrator and their motivation. I would have enjoyed a bit more development of that portion of the book but I'm a romantic suspense afficionado. Others may think it's just right.
All in all, this was an enjoyable read that made me laugh, tear up a bit, cheer for the lead couple, lose my heart to a little girl, and sigh with delight. I'll be happily visiting the rest of the books in this series for more Montana happy endings.
Have you read Pam Mantovani?
Do you enjoy a bit of suspense paired with contemporary romance?
What is it about Montana? I love romances set there. Do you?
One randomly chosen person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, December 13 will receive a signed print copy of Christmas with a Cowboy.