Genre: Contemporary Holiday Romance
Publisher: Lyrical Press / Kensington
Date of Publication: December 1, 2014
Number of pages: 153
Word Count: 48,102
Will the magic still be there when they wake on Christmas morning?
Having long since lost his Christmas spirit, Rudi comes to Santa's Secret Village looking to sell the resort. His seven-year-old daughter already knows the truth about Santa, and neither of them is particularly in the mood for the festive season.
Practically a recluse since the death of her husband, Eva s not looking for romance. Her trip to Santa's Village is for the sole purpose of making Christmas more festive this year for her young son. But Eva brings an unexpected sparkle to Rudi and Isabel's lives that renews their belief in the spirit of Christmas.
As the weather grows colder, things heat up between Rudi and Eva. But will the magic still be there when they wake on Christmas morning?
Eva looked back at Rudi to find his gaze had already returned to her. The hand he’d been leaning on came up to stroke her cheek, a brief brush of gloved fingers, but it felt intimate considering no man had touched her for an eternity.
Then he leaned forward and kissed her.
She caught her breath, sitting frozen as he pressed his lips against hers. Once, twice, a longer third time. Gentle and playful. His lips were surprisingly warm considering the temperature, firm and dry. Due to the lip balm, they peeled from hers a tiny bit when he moved back.
Rudi touched his tongue to his lips, tasting the remnants of the lip balm. “Cherry,” he remarked. The gleam in his eyes had intensified.
Desire. He wanted her.
Maybe almost as much as she wanted him.
She glanced back at the kids, but they were still going around in circles and hadn’t noticed anything. It wasn’t surprising. The kiss had been brief. To an onlooker it had probably appeared innocent, maybe only a tad more romantic than shaking her hand.
But it had been the gentlest, most romantic, sexiest kiss she’d ever had.
I am a sucker for a good holiday book. I can't help it. The holidays are the one time that I am totally okay with a good smaltzy read. I saw the cover of this book on Netgalley and after reading the blurb went ahead and grabbed it, being auto approved for Kensington books.
What the blurb doesn't say is that this story is set in Finland. The male protagonist is Finnish and the female is from New Zealand via the UK. Rudi has a 7 year old daughter and Eva has a 3 year old son. Rudi is divorced and Eva is widowed. They are at Santa's Secret Village for very different reasons. Rudi is there to reconnect with his daughter and evaluate the resort, deciding whether or not to sell it Eva is there to escape from the mildly suffocating presence of her In-Laws and enjoy a quiet Christmas with her son. Neither was expecting to find love.
This was a surprisingly sweet yet steamy read. The tone of the book reminded me very much of the old Betty Neels books that I used to read, but with much more explicit smexy times. It was a refreshingly different read. Enough so, that I will be taking a look at some of the author's other works; specifically her 2 free reads: Stranded With a Scotsman & Treat with Caution. This earned 3 stars from me.