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Christmas at Crazy Woman Creek by Ryan Jo Summers is a Christmas and Holiday Festival pick #westernromance #romance #holidayromance #giveaway

Title: Christmas at Crazy Woman Creek


Author: Ryan Jo Summers


Genre: Contemporary western romance


Book Blurb:


Colby Lonigan was out rounding up stray cattle in dismal Crazy Woman Creek when he found her. She looked like she’d stepped off the pages of a fashion magazine, except she was dirty, disheveled, injured, missing a shoe, and her memories. Not knowing what else to do, he takes her back to his ranch. It must be the Christmas spirit to make him offer for her to stay indefinitely.

Faith adopted the name Colby gave her because she didn’t know her own. Or anything else about herself. As she stayed on at the ranch, she fell under the spell of Colby’s sweet little daughter and learned the ranching life. And the romance between her and Colby grew. But first she needed to find out who she was and why she had a pale white circle around her left ring finger.

When Colby’s ex-in-laws sue for custody of his precious daughter, at Christmastime, Faith agrees to stay and fight with him, hoping she hasn’t left a child of her own somewhere out in Crazy Woman Creek.




The place would give a strong man the chills, even on the brightest day. Stretching out from the dark foothills above and winding along the valley thick with pines and scrub trees, the towering rock and rushing waters had a way of mocking a person. Of making them feel insignificant. Brave travelers swore they heard the scream of a woman, especially on full moon winter nights. Maybe there was something to the old legend: a grief-stricken woman and her endless cries of crazy, sad pain. Though he’d never seen the river run red, this sure felt like the place that could happen.


Colby Lonigan shivered and yanked his denim jacket tighter, drawing the collar up. Trust these stupid cows to wander into this god-forsaken place. The wind picked up, howling with a dreadful wail, setting Colby’s teeth on edge. Sensing his unease, his buckskin gelding beneath him flattened his ears, snorted, and shied.


“Easy, boy. Just the wind.” He patted Ben’s neck reassuringly.


How had such a nice day turned into a dark, cool, windy hour simply by riding into the dismal Crazy Woman creek area? Life’s mysteries. Or the legend. He didn’t necessarily believe the old legend, not like some folks did. But he’d never come to the Crazy Woman creek area that it wasn’t cold, dark, and plain eerie. Even now, the rest of his ranch was blanketed in mid-December snow, glistening with pre-Christmas light. Life held a festive air. Once he topped the ridge and started down the Crazy Woman range, the air was noticeably colder. Here, it was hard to imagine Christmas was just around the corner. Colby snickered. Here, he’d believe Armageddon was a lot closer.


 Ben’s hooves clattered along the gravel, and he skirted scrubby trees and brush. Bawling reached his ears and he almost whooped for joy. Gratefully, he reined Ben toward the scrub trees the sound came from. “C’mon, Ben, let’s go round up those fool critters.” Personally, he couldn’t get out of there fast enough. He could just make out the white, black, brown, and brindle patterns of the cows hidden among the branches when Ben snorted and shied again.


 Nearly unseated, Colby tapped his heels against the horse’s flanks. “Ben! What the hell?”


 A new sound, a low moan surfaced, distinguishing itself from the bawling of the cows. He followed Ben’s nervous eye rolls to a low bush, full of thick evergreen boughs. He squinted and made out…cloth, not cowhide. Cold shivers raced over him at the sight of a shoeless, slender foot. “It’s a human!”


Jumping from the saddle, Colby removed his .45 Colt handgun from the holster at his belt—just in case—and cautiously approached the prone figure on the ground. Colby dropped to one knee and parted the branches. His eyes widened and his breath hitched at the sight of the unresponsive woman dressed in ivory slacks and a peach ruffled blouse. Bruises and red scratches marred her face and arms. Twigs and leaves tangled in her long, dark hair. His pulse raced. He swallowed and tapped her shoulder.


“Ma’am? Can you hear me? Are you alright?” He never understood why one was supposed to ask that last question when the answer seemed obvious. “Ma’am?” He gave her another—less gentle—shake.


Moaning softly, her eyelids fluttered open. She blinked rapidly and finally settled on him.


He smiled at her confused, coffee-brown eyes. “Howdy. My name’s Colby Lonigan.” When she failed to respond, he jerked his thumb over his shoulder. “That’s Ben.” She gave a nod, instantly stopping. Fresh spikes of fear raced over Colby. “Ma’am, is anything broken? Can you get up?” He looked around. “And where is your horse?”


He rocked back on his heels and pushed his hat back. “Can you tell me how you ended up way out here alone?”


She slowly scooted to a sitting position, and he could tell it hurt. She grit her teeth and the spark in her eye told him she had a fire in her soul. Instantly, he found himself drawn to her spirit, her sand, and her grit. All great qualities he admired. Then he noticed the dried trail of blood behind her right ear.


“Where is this?” she asked, her voice just above a faint whisper. Startled, Colby stared for a moment. “Are you saying you’re lost? This is Crazy Woman Creek.” He gestured toward the sound of the river flowing nearby. “I’m hunting my cattle over yonder. Hear ‘em bawling? My ranch, The Tica, is just over that ridge there.”


She followed his hands blankly as he pointed. Finally she drew her knees to her chest and wrapped her arms around her knees as if she was cold. Immediately, he shrugged off his lined denim jacket and draped it around her slender shoulders, not helping but to inhale her perfume. Flowers and fruit. He liked it.


“That better, ma’am?” At her stiff nod, he settled back on his heels again, studying her. What a predicament. “So what can you tell me about how you came to be out here?”


 She looked out across the landscape, drew her lower lip in, and gave him a sad shake of her head. “I don’t know.”


What did she mean? Thunderbolts of worry shot through him in cold slices. “Was anyone else with you?”


This time tears formed in her eyes, and she blinked them away. “I don’t know.”


Colby’s heart thumped fast, like when Sierra told him she had something to tell him, and she knew he wasn’t going to like it. That same dark feeling of foreboding. Dread. Oh shit. He wet his lips. The cattle bawled. A coyote howled.


“Ma’am. Will you please tell me your name?”


 She huddled closer into his jacket, shivering a little, and an anxious look around. Fresh tears misted on her dark eyelashes. “I would if I knew it myself.”


Her words softened as a whisper in the wind, punched Colby in the gut, leaving him weak. Damnation! Amnesia!


Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):





Share a holiday family tradition:


We would go out driving at night, looking at the neighborhoods and all the pretty lights. It was funny to see how each family tried to outdo the others.


Why is your featured book perfect to get readers in the holiday mood?


Sometimes meeting a stranger at Christmastime is the best time to dig deep inside us. In Faith’s case, she had no knowledge of who she was, and she had to use this holiday time to morph into something she instinctively knew what not a part of her. For Colby, it meant looking beyond his present worries about his daughter and bring this injured woman into the family fold. For both, and young Sierra, it meant taking a chance that the new people suddenly in their lives might be there for more than just a short time. It might mean there is holiday magic at work, creating a romantic and trusting family.


Giveaway –


One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon gift card



Open internationally.


Runs December 1 – 31


Drawing will be held on January 2, 2024.


Author Biography:


Ryan Jo Summers writes from the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, usually with a couple of dogs at her feet and at least one cat spread out over her desk. She is a sucker for homeless and traumatized fur-babies. She also operates a pet sitting service.


 Her writing has appeared in trade journals and regional and national magazines. She has numerous novels, novellas, and anthology contributions all published in the romance genre and assorted subgenres. Some have placed well in national writing contests.


Aside from writing and pet sitting, Ryan Jo likes to work in her garden, gather with family and friends, and cook. paint, and read. She enjoys a good game of chess, or a challenging word find puzzle and watching fish swim in an aquarium or the chickens scratch in the yard. 


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1 Comment

N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Dec 21, 2023

Thank you, Ryan Jo, for sharing your book in our Christmas and Holiday Book Festival!

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