2016, 472p, Contemporary Romance
My Rating=3 Stars
Source: I received a complimentary copy via eBooks for Review, which did not affect my review in any way
A story about how fate will carry us where we need to go whether we are willing passengers or not.
After being jilted not once, but twice by the only woman he’s ever truly loved, Brian McAlister has all but given up on relationships. Then, on special assignment for the DA's office, he steps into the middle of a politically sensitive murder case where he crosses paths with a beautiful ex-socialite-turned-social-worker, Holly Cavanaugh Winter.
Widowed, practically penniless, and reduced to shopping at Walmart, Holly is dreading the approaching holiday season. However, her angst isn't due to her husband's untimely death the previous December 25th, but to a secret that could reveal itself unless she can find a way to avoid the coming Christmas. To make matters worse, she unwittingly stumbles into the throes of Brian’s case and the manhunt for a killer who now has his sights set on her.
His case unraveling, Brian finds himself tasked with keeping Holly and her two daughters safe while bringing an assassin and the powerful man who hired him to justice.
Holly is a former socialite who is trying to start a new life for herself and her two girls when her husband died a year ago. She's not upset over his death and we eventually learn why. Brian is a defense attorney working a special case for the DA's office when he meets Holly. He's still hung up on a former girlfriend so he's not looking for a relationship but Holly quickly gets under his skin.
This is one of those books that I'm mixed about. What I liked about it is that Brian and Holly are two very flawed, complex characters who are drawn to each other, but also have a hard time understanding each other so things get messy at times. I also liked the mystery and suspense aspect and how the case kept bringing them into contact with each other. There were some other great characters that I liked as well.
I didn't like that it was pretty heavy on the innuendo. We get a clear picture of what Brian is thinking most of the time and it was a bit much for my personal taste. There aren't any graphic sex scenes but there is an attempted rape and plenty of sex talk. There was a bit more language than what I prefer as well.
I didn't read the first book in this series, and felt like this book stands well on its own. There's enough background given to help the reader understand what's happened in the past. Even though it talks about Christmas in the title, I wouldn't necessarily consider this a Christmas read and it can be enjoyed any time of year. While it wasn't my personal favorite, I thought it was fast-paced and well written. I've read one other book by this author and loved it so I look forward to reading more of her work in the future!