This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Harlequin
Released on October 1, 2013
I am one of those people that can be classified as a mood reader and toward the end of the year I get in the mood for those adorable and sweet like sugar cookie holiday romance reads. Oh don’t get me wrong, I like my Christmas spices too, but the sweet tastes exceptionally well too. This book totally fit my expectations well with its hopeful heroine looking for her Christmas miracle and its embittered, lonely hero needing the very things he ran away from in the first place.
The story is about Kara a single mom who just worked her way into management at a ski resort near the small town where she grew up only to discover old Joe sold out to a corporation when his health grew bad. There are rumblings that the new ownership plan to overhaul everything including management. Joe is the father of the man who loved her and left her with no explanation all those years ago. Imagine her shock when that man, like a ghost from her past, shows up to announce that he is the new owner.
Jason ran away from his past including Kara to join the army. Things got bad, he was medically discharged and here he is back in the place to which he swore never to return. Kara is the manager of the resort and her experience and knowledge make her key to him standing a chance at making a go of his granddad’s resort. His drunken father might have had no use for him, but he intended to prove himself and he needs to do it while keeping things strictly business with Kara because of the secret that he carries with him that would send her running even if she did forgive him for deserting her.
A big snowstorm blows through the area and forces Kara to hole up at Jason’s cabin until the next day. She is scared to spend time alone with this new, aloof man who is a stranger, but not because she is so angry she can’t stand him. No, that would be easier. She is scared because she is more susceptible than ever of falling for him especially when she realizes that Jason needs a good Christmas too and she really would like to be the one to help him find it.
Jason is shocked to discover Kara is a mother, but when he meets Samantha, it is love at first sight. For the first time in his life he has dreams of a family. Could this be his daughter? Kara says no, but those blue eyes. He realizes that inspite of his resolve to the contrary he wants this more than anything. But first, they have to deal with the heavy secrets of their past and hope for the strength to forgive and be forgiven. It might be too much.
The backdrop on this one is a country resort area in the winter just before Christmas. Description is smudgy and leaves it to the reader’s imagination to carry it.
The pacing is gentle even if it spans only a few weeks’ time frame. This is a second chance romance or -as I think of it an arrested romance- that was frozen for a time and now continues where it left off so the characters already know each other and have a history meaning the pace of the romance isn’t that jarring when it comes on strong.
The plot development is simply that of dealing with the past so they have a chance for the present. The story is told third person and switches back and forth between Kara and Jason’s perspectives. I enjoyed both of them. There were some really good heartwarming scenes particularly those that included the little girl, Samantha. There is a bit of internal angst too as both characters try to fight their ongoing attraction and stew about what the other will think of their secrets. I did have that moment where I was mad at Jason though I was keeping an open mind to find out just why he upped and ran out on Kara. It didn’t help that like Jason I was fooled about Samantha. But in the end, I realized that sometimes the timing is just off on something and stuff needs to happen for people to be where they are at for their second chance.
All in all, this was a great sweet holiday romance that I can recommend to those who are looking for a nice feel-good, cozy contemporary holiday romance.