On a scale of cotton candy to Brussels sprouts, Cowboy Christmas Guardian by Dana Mentink is butternut squash soup with a pinch of cayenne pepper. This homey, unassuming soup is sturdy and predictable, but that pinch of cayenne might catch you unaware at any moment. It's a delightful combination. . [free copy received. opinions my own] . Barrett Thorn, out to search for a missing horse in a storm, comes upon a hidden car with a trunk that thumps at him. In moments, he meets Shelby Arroyo who is intent on assaying an old mine, even at the possible cost of her life. Barrett can't get her out of his head even though every interaction seems to include a death threat against Shelby's life from an unknown harasser. Clearly, they're falling in love, but will they make it out alive by Christmas? . Gosh. I have to admit that my interest was piqued by cowboy and suspense. I just couldn't get my head wrapped around that idea, and then add Christmas. But, I really enjoyed this face paced story, the character development, and the reveal. And it worked. Cowboy chivalry and headstrong woman made for an interesting chemistry and clean romance. Grab this one for your Christmas reading.