Three Nights before Christmas by Kat Latham #Review #HolidayDelight

Three Nights before Christmas by Kat Latham #Review #HolidayDelightThree Nights before Christmas by Kat Latham

Series: Montana Born Christmas
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Tule Publishing on October 25, 2015
Pages: 183
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
    add to goodreads
four-stars      four-flames

Just getting out of prison on parole right before Thanksgiving, Lacey Gallagher returns to her brother’s home and the family Christmas tree farm ready to get her life back. Too bad she encounters the man who arrested her and he’s as disdainful of her as ever.

Austin Wilder wasn’t prepared to encounter the woman he arrested for transporting drugs and being a huge part of a drug ring. She looks harder and wary, but she’s also the only one he knows who can get the steam locomotive up and running in time for the Christmas charity activities to help get the donations for the camp for kids with special needs like his nephew.

Working together, day in and day out takes some of the edge off their hostilities, but Lacey never wants to be dumb about men again and the best way is to keep her distance and Austin doesn’t know what to believe now that he’s getting to know Lacey. In the meantime, Lacey’s lawyer brings startling news and starts to raise her Christmas hopes.

I saw the blurb and couldn’t resist such a situation- an ex-con and her arresting officer? Plus she works on trains! How cool is that? Plus it’s Kat Latham and I enjoyed her rugby players so I had to give this Christmas story ago.

The book is connected both to the Montana Born Christmas series and the London Legends stories through Austin’s siblings’ romance that chronologically happen before this story. There is also a tie to a separate book that tells a parallel time line romance with Lacey’s brother. For all that, this is still a standalone.

The story was a good blend of holiday cheer and hope with the reality of Lacey being an ex-con and Austin being directly involved in the investigation that put her away. The author did a good job of writing a character who was convincing as having just spent time in prison and now must live with the consequences. The story went by quickly, but the author still took her time developing a romance that starts as hostile at best. There was also the shadows that Lacey’s experiences cast over the relationship. It was many of the little things that the author got right whether it was her response to touch, her near terror at seeing Austin in uniform, her appreciation for real coffee and private bathrooms, and even the struggle she has to connect with her very supportive brother.

Now, the other thing was Lacey’s physical reaction to Austin and his to her. This pair were hot tamales once they got to a certain place. Lacey is not a gentle, retiring sort. She is a strong, lusty woman that works hard and is honest in her needs and wants. Austin soon finds that what he thought he wanted was all wrong. Lacey’s it for him. He gets hot seeing her covered in grease and sweat and wrestling train parts together or hauling a Christmas tree up over her shoulder and loading it for a customer just as he can’t get enough of having her in his bed. But while Lacey will take what Austin as to offer in bed, she struggles to get past the fact that he was there for all her worst moments- her arrest and her court hearing and sentencing, and she doesn’t think he can see past all that either.

The holiday element was woven in well. There was the Christmas tree farm which was a festive setting, but also the preparations for the Christmas town to raise money for the special camp. Lacey wants decorations and music around her to reminder her that she is free and Austin finds that he enjoys providing it all just to give that sense of freedom and peace to her.

So, all in all, I thought this was a great Christmas romance involving an unusual circumstance and pair and would recommend it to readers who like snow-melting holiday contemporary romance.

My thanks to Tule Publishing for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Romance Roundabout #378 CR

 

HolidayDelight_edited-1

In this story, there are loads of Christmas traditions and references. There is the Christmas Tree farm. Personally, I never had the opportunity of choosing a tree at a Christmas tree farm because first my mother and then my husband were allergic to pine. We enjoy the fake variety as a result. But that being said, I have gone to a Christmas tree farm many times for their fall hayrides, bonfires, cider and donuts, and live music.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERABut really the things that struck me when I read this one were actually something apart from the Christmas trees. Lacey and Austin talk about choosing ornaments for their tree at the ranger station. And Austin wanted her to use her family ornaments. This reminded me of all the ornaments I have packed away. I only brought a handful of ornaments with me when I left home many years ago because I was moving across country, but my husband’s mom gave us a box of ornaments our first year of marriage so our tree wasn’t too bare. The ornaments are nearly a hundred years old and were hand-made by his great-grandmother. I was floored that she gave them to us, but she said that it was her son that was the one who most enjoyed decorating the Christmas tree so he should have the old family ornaments. They are hand-made, but not worth money. With the ribbons, beads and sequins, they do have a turn of the century charm to them. I’ll see if I can find a picture to share what they look like (without having to dig all the Christmas stuff out- I’m writing this in early November).

And the other thing that struck me in the story was the steam locomotive that Lacey and Austin restored together. I enjoyed this because just this summer I got to watch volunteers working to restore a locomotive when I visited the Northern Nevada Railway Train Museum in Ely, Nevada. I get a bit geeky over trains since it’s been my dad and I’s thing from when I was little.

Do you have any special tree ornaments with special family significance? Are you a steam train buff?

Dad's Pictures NNRR-Great Basin 038

The following two tabs change content below.
I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • An ex con and the cop that arrested her. Well that would certainly make for an interesting story.

    • It certainly did, Mary. Grabbed my attention and I had to read it.

  • Debbie Haupt

    OOh I want this one. Thanks 🙂

  • Looks like an interesting holiday read. Thanks for sharing!

  • That’s a beautiful ornament! Is it breakable? Wow, that’s an heirloom piece now for sure. Your MIL is so kind to pass that on to you

    • They are a beautiful set of ornaments. I wish I could have dug them out in time to share a picture of all of them. No, these aren’t breakable. They are foam balls with material, lace, pins, and beads. I love that they look delicate, but aren’t. 🙂

  • Oh this sounds like a good one, I am normally nto a fan of when characetrstart of on opposing sides, but this sounds like a fan combination. That’s good to hear the author managed to write ir realistically how the female character dealt with having been in prison ad how it impacted her life. That’s cool that she works with trains, I haven’t read about that before. Sounds like the holiday element is well doen too, which I find important in holiday romances.

    Here in the Netherlands we don’t have christmas tree farms or at leats not that I know of. We do have places where you can buy trees, usually close to supermarkets or garden centers and they are already prepared and in netting, so you can take them home easily. When I grew u we usually had a real tree, but we have a fake tree now, which is great too. The only thing they miss is the smell of a real tree.

    That’s so sweet you got all those ornaments, it looks so beautifull and they are handmade and 100 years old, wow! That’s quite the ornaments to hang in your tree. All our current tree ornaments are from when I was a child. My favourite colour was red, so all my tree ornaments are red and most are plastic so they don’t break easily. And the fake tree I have was the tree I had on my bedroom when i was little. We had a real tree in the living room and then my sister and I both had our own small tree for in our room. Hers was blue and mine red.
    We did buy a new ornament this year. It’s a cardboard gingerman ornament and it’s pretty awesome. We bought it at our local bookstore which had a fake cardboard tree with lots of cardboard ornaments in it.

    • Yes, this one was a bit different and that was what caught my attention. They really hated each other at first and then when they talked and got to know each other, it changed. Loved seeing that. Plus, her being in prison was a result of her ex-boyfriend getting away with his crime by planting the evidence on her. She wasn’t a true criminal so I was able to enjoy her story.

      Huh, now you have me wondering where your Christmas trees come from that are at your garden centers and markets. LOL! I love the scent of real tree. It’s one of my favorite reasons to go camping or walking in the mountains each summer.

      Yes, the ornaments mean a great deal since they have been past down three generations now. I love that you have your tree decorated with your favorite red ornaments. Gingerbread Man ornament would be adorable. I love seeing them as Christmas decorations.

  • Well…this one is different. I don’t think I’ve ever read a romance where the heroine has just gotten out of jail!

    Stephanie
    http://stephie5741.blogspot.com

    • It was a first for me, too, Stephanie. Fortunately, she wasn’t a real criminal- framed by her ex-boyfriend who she knew was a bit shady, but let love blind her- so it was a matter of living it all down and getting her life back on track.

  • I looove steam trains ! I posted a video of one on my blog not too long ago : I arrived at the Paris station one morning and there it was on the opposite platform – I got to work late ! My grandmother, father and sister used to work for the French railroad company, so I grew up in trains, so to speak 😉 And that ornament picture you posted is so beautifully crafted, it gets my fingers itching to make some of my own… Apart from that, the book looks very good too, lol 😉

    • Yes, I saw your steam train video and loved it, but sorry that you were late to work. LOL
      How cool that your family worked with the railroad! So jealous.

      I have the materials to make more of this style ornament, too. I saw a kit at the store and couldn’t resist. I doubt mine will look half as nice, but it will be fun to make it.

      This was an enjoyable Christmas book.

      • We can find so many pretty DIY models on the net, I’d love to have a “special Christmas week-end before Christmas” once : no cooking, no cleaning, no nothing, except eating sandwiches and concentrating on making our own Christmas decorations 🙂

        • That sounds fantastic! And right when you are most stressed and need a time out from life. 🙂
          My SIL out in Utah does a craft and a cooking Saturday in December with all the women in her family and I love it when she gives her goodies to us as our Christmas gift.

  • Perfect xmas book 🙂

  • Ooo this does sound lovely and I am such a sucker for holiday themed books and love the setting.

    • It was a lovely story as they worked through their differences and I loved the holiday activities and setting.

  • oh my goodness…this sounds amazing!!! I would love to read this. I loved your sharing of the ornaments. It is always so special to receive those special family treasures and it helps connect with those family members. I love steam trains too!!! I went to the England Museum in York and that was so neat to see!! Ever since I have had a fascination with them.

    • This was a tender and lovely story.

      Yes, these ornaments mean a great deal to us after his mom gave them to us. They won’t break, but I treat them like glass ornaments. 🙂

      Oh how neat that you got to visit the train museum in York. I love visiting steam train museums and demonstrations.

  • vvb reads

    OMG, your site is so festive with the snow and lights. cute! I like the sounds of this Christmas story because of the unusual couple. Not a typical “good” gal. For ornaments I, I love the old European folkish kind. Like elves that look like gnomes, and forest creatures, etc. And love steam trains. My bucket list includes a train ride on the orient express…someday.

    • Shari has made it so festive here on the site. Pretty, pretty!

      Yes, a very unusual couple and circumstances. Definitely aroused my curiosity.

      My friend has an ‘Old World’ tree with those style ornaments. I like that, too.

      The Orient Express would be the ultimate steam train ride. Hope you get to go!

  • The ornament on your blog post is beautiful (not sure if it is one that was made by your husband’s great-grandmother or not). How special that his mom gave them to you to put on your tree. I love having sentimental ornaments, though I typically break one ornament a year (even being careful).

    This sounds like a fun holiday read. I like the fact that the two characters seem like they will never get along and the seeing sounds perfect. Thanks for sharing. 🙂