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A Cowboy Under My Christmas Tree
by Janet Dailey
(Zebra, $ 7.99, PG) ISBN 978-14201-2462-2
Janet Dailey has written a fun little holiday story that has little depth but is ultimately the feel good tale she intended. Sam Bennett is the hero and he is a temporarily transplanted Colorado rancher taking odd jobs in New York for his cousin to make some money to help the ranch through the winter. He brought some Colorado trees with him, helps his uncle sell trees on a corner of New York and helps with odd jobs. Nicole Young is a New Yorker through and through and is trying to make it in the world of window design. She is working on a little boutique just down the street from the corner tree lot when she and Sam connect.

It is love or at least, attraction at first sight. Sam ends up helping with the boutique window. He and Nicole start sharing a few meals and as they get to know each other, they realize that Sam is not planning to stay. Nicole is determined that nothing can happen, since while there is something romantic to think about seeing the mountains and the snow in Colorado, her life is in New York and she isn't far enough in her career yet to think about trying to do something outside of the City.

This tale is filled with a wealth of activity that lets everyone know that there is a smaller community within the big city. Sam's family of New Yorkers and friends of Nicole's add some color to the splash of what is a plethora of characters in this little corner of the world. They include a widow and her two children who garner the community to help her have a good Christmas for her kids. Another is the flaky designer who sticks by Nicole and helps her with a big break. And Uncle Theo is the kindly uncle who knows everyone and just wants all to have a good life.

While I enjoyed this tale, it was clear at the beginning that there was a short time frame for this romance to take off and blossom. This required the reader to suspend a little belief. While the stories of the other folks added to the tale, it also detracted from the romance between Sam and Nicole, lessening the enjoyment of their story in small ways. The ending was rushed and definitely left this reader with a case of too much, too fast and too abrupt.

A Cowboy under My Christmas Tree is a warm hearted tale and if you are looking for holiday charm, this is one you might enjoy.

--Shirley Lyons

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