Title: If Santa Were a Cowboy
Author: Melissa Cutler
Series: One and Only Texas
Genre: Contemporary Romance
This Christmas, Santa wears a Stetson.
Paul Savage loves Christmas at Briscoe Ranch Resort, when he gets to take a break from being a back country guide to play Santa in the resort’s lobby and talk to kids about toys. The last thing he expects is his high school crush to come waltzing in as his new assistant photographer, wheeling a suitcase that’s more naughty than nice.
Kelly Walker is a disaster. All she’d wanted was spice up her life by saying ‘yes’ to every opportunity, which is when the universe started pelting her with ‘no’s. So when she comes across a job listing for a holiday photographer working with the sweet, scrawny boy whose advances she’d laughed off in high school, she jumps on the chance to turn her bad Karma around by giving Paul a second chance.
Trouble is, Paul’s anything but scrawny anymore, and his cowboy swagger throws her grand plans for a loop—especially when he tempts her with a red hot proposition of his own. Kelly’s in way over her head, but as she gets swept up in the magic of Briscoe Ranch’s holiday charms—and Paul’s—could Kelly’s year of ‘no’s be leading up to the ‘yes’ of a lifetime?
Source: ARC from SMP Swerve via NetGalley
Although a quick read with some sexy scenes, this novella didn’t really work for me. Mostly because of Kelly’s reasons for showing up at the resort. She’s had a bad year, she’s not feeling good about herself, so she decides to look up the kid who had a crush on her all throughout school – and who she regularly rejected and humiliated – because there’s no way he’ll reject her, right? After all, she’s amazing.
Yeah. To say Kelly’s arrogant at the start would be an understatement. And I don’t really feel bad for her. Sure, her boyfriend was a jerk, but she’s the one who maxed out all her credit cards and put her own job at risk.
Then again, Paul’s reaction is to insist she stays in his cabin, ’cause she’s his school crush and now he has a chance he’s not going to miss it. But he has no interest in her as a person, so to be honest they kind of deserve each other.
I think it was the calculation in Kelly showing up that put me off. If it had been an accidental meeting, I would have been fine with a sexy second chance tale, but the way she deliberately plans to seduce nerdy Paul to make herself feel better was pretty off-putting.
The rest of the story is okay. There’s a kinky suitcase that plays no part except for a humorous intro, some really cute scenes with kids and Santa, a great entrance on horseback, a really lovely dog and some sex.
Sadly the ending rubbed me as wrong as the beginning. Kelly keeps her circumstances a secret throughout, until she simply can’t hide them any longer. Her excuse for not telling Paul are weak at best, as is his reaction. I know Christmas is supposed to be about forgiveness and everything, but really, not even a little bit angry? Meh.
So in all I found this readable with some surprisingly cute Santa moments, but everything about the relationship between Paul and Kelly just didn’t work for me.
If Santa Were a Cowboy is Out Now.
Visit Melissa Cutler for more details.