This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Holiday Romance
Published by Zebra Books
Released on October 29, 2019
Another grab based on title alone and the promise of Christmas in Scotland, of course. I enjoyed a few of the author’s earlier holiday stories so was happy to pick this one up.
Santa in a Kilt is book 2.5 of the Hot Scot Trilogy and, while I read this as standalone and it worked, it also tied strongly to the earlier two stories so that I knew I would have gotten more out of it if I’d read in order.
So, this seemed to be a romance for side characters in the series about people from a pair of clans living on an island in the Hebrides islands. It begins with the wedding of Roan and Tessa from Off Kilter. Shay Callaghan stands up with his friend and can’t take his eyes off the bridesmaid that has filled his thoughts for a while. He could approach her now that the friend code is lifted when Roan chose Tessa, but between his parents’ broken marriage that he survived with his cold, emotionless father and his work as a divorce attorney, he’s pretty sure that true, lasting love isn’t in the cards for him and Kira Macleod is the forever love sort even if she came home after her ex did a number on her. He’ll look from a far and keep his hands to himself. Or so he planned…
Kira doesn’t know what has been holding Shay back with the way he looks at her, but for the first times since her ex, she wants a man. She has stayed holed up in her cottage with her basketweaving, licking her wounds, and hiding from life. That has to change and she is determined that handsome, sexy Shay is the man who will help her with this goal. Now, if only she can untie her tongue long enough to put it to him and persuade him that there are no guarantees about love, but it’s worth the gamble.
The setting of an island in the Scottish Hebrides with a small village and people still very much bound by old tradition was perfect for a holiday read. Christmas is approaching, but it was background to the recent wedding, the new project of the artisan basketweaving school and business that was the island’s biggest draw and income, and, of course the romance.
I enjoyed the descriptions of island clan life and the traditional basketweaving, the friendships of the people, and also the hints of the cosmopolitan life of Edinburgh close by. The characters in the story were engaging and I wanted to go back and read the earlier stories as a result.
As I said, this one was a side story in a series. It was sexy and I enjoyed seeing this hurting pair find happiness in each other. However, I had mixed feelings about the romance itself. It was somewhat under-developed and rushed forward as novellas will do sometimes. They only know each other slightly because of their friends getting involved in their own romance and from living on a small island much of their lives. This was the crux of the matter for me because Shay was really struggling to overcome his childhood abandonment issues and his cynicism about lasting relationships while Kira was full-steam ahead toward long-term and love. She’s on a different page from him. She said they would take their time and see where starting a relationship would go while he got used to the idea and worked through is issues, but not even a few weeks’ later with days’ absences between when Shay was working on cases in Edinburgh, she’s inviting herself over and even using long-lasting relationship words and the ‘L’ word while he was still not even sure he wanted her in his cottage or to treat it as anything more than a friends with benies. He does a quick about face from full on caution to grand gestures not long after her pushing. I didn’t dislike her or him for this about face from the first few chapters of wariness, but it kept me from buying into their romance completely. I get it. The story needs a resolution and to be fair I thought he was getting in his own way since he was obviously attracted to her.
In the end, I shrugged and let the warm fuzzies of the story and the setting with the holidays smooth out the romance for me so that I can say that I moderately enjoyed this toasty hot Scot holiday romance. I would definitely recommend reading the series in order and recommend it to those who want some sizzling romance in a remote Scottish island and village.
I rec’d this book from Net Galley to read in exchange for an honest review.
New Release #165
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