Christmas Showdown by Janette Kenny

The night before Christmas, a deadly blizzard traps a lawman and a madam with a price on her head in a deserted town with a sadistic outlaw hell-bent on revenge.

High-class madam, Katherine Winter, caters to wealthy men and vows nobody in her Kansas bordello will suffer the abuse she endured in the horrific marriage she’d escaped. She can choose her lovers, but longs for one who can match her in bed and out. Her senses tell her Daniel Creed is the man she’s longed for—a man with a dark secret like herself, a man who’d do anything to protect what’s his. But he’s a lawman, and dallying with him is playing with fire.

Sheriff Daniel Creed has known Katherine Winter is the husband-killer on the wanted poster since she came to his town. The reward he’d get for turning her in would make him rich, but something about the aloof beauty stirs longing inside him. There’s no future for a half-breed gunslinger hiding behind a badge and a wanted woman except life on the run. So he keeps his mouth shut, figuring the most he can ever hope for is to love the lady from afar—and protect her.

He never banked on the bounty hunter from his past hunting down Katherine, then setting the town ablaze to force Daniel into a fiery showdown.

I grabbed this one on my latest shopping trip at Samhain. Got it along with Steelflower by Lilith Saintcrow and Tethers by Sara Reinke.

Christmas Showdown is quite short, but it packs a fair amount of story into that space. Both Daniel and Katherine have lusted after each other from afar, but the snow storm brings them together. Add in a bad guy and you get a fun, suspenseful short story. And it's a western. *grin*

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