This Christmas, Santa wears a Stetson.
Paul Savage loves Christmas at Briscoe Ranch Resort, when he gets to take a break from being a back country guide to play Santa in the resort’s lobby and talk to kids about toys. The last thing he expects is his high school crush to come waltzing in as his new assistant photographer, wheeling a suitcase that’s more naughty than nice.
Kelly Walker is a disaster. All she’d wanted was to spice up her life by saying ‘yes’ to every opportunity, which is when the universe started pelting her with no’s. So when she comes across a job listing for a holiday photographer working with the sweet, scrawny boy whose advances she’d laughed off in high school, she jumps on the chance to turn her bad Karma around by giving Paul a second chance.
Trouble is, Paul’s anything but scrawny anymore, and his cowboy swagger throws her grand plans for a loop–especially when he tempts her with a red hot proposition of his own. Kelly’s in way over her head, but as she gets swept up in the magic of Briscoe Ranch’s holiday charms–and Paul’s–could Kelly’s year of no’s be leading up to the ‘yes’ of a lifetime?
3.5 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.
I love a good nerdy boy, and Paul totally fits the bill. I get that he’s all hot now, but he has a nerdy soul, and that worked for me. Kelly was a bit harder to love. I normally shy away from popular girls, but I kind of liked how we saw how she struggled with the image she was supposed to maintain, and missed out on so much being someone she wasn’t inside. It was an interesting perspective actually. So I warmed up to her more than I normally would, but still not entirely. I wanted a bit more flashback of what she loved about Paul back in the day so that I could feel better about her coming and pursuing him, rather than just because he was a nice guy.
Paul had his hiccups too…I mean, again, wish we had more flashbacks so we could see what parts he loved about Kelly, especially for so long…what attracted them to each other. What parts of their personalities meshed, kwim? But he was still pretty sweet, and I loved the relationship he had with his dog Sadie….she was a total winner for me.
I was a bit confused about the sex scenes. I mean, she has this suitcase full of seduction that included a riding crop and handcuffs, but when we finally got to the sex scene, it kind of faded to black…only it didn’t really fade to black, but like the author just sort of skimmed over it. Which is ok, but I don’t understand why. She still used explicit language occasionally, but it was like a recap instead of details. It just seemed odd to me. If I wanted a sweet fade to black read, this wouldn’t have fit that either, you know? So either go sweet or go all in…it was kind of like a steamy tease, and so I was left disappointed. The closet scene was pretty hot though.
The part that will probably have me rounding up instead of down is that it totally knocked the heartwarming Christmas feel out of the park. Some of those moments when Paul was Santa and talking to the kids or parents of the kids — particularly one Mom of a special needs boy — really got me in the ticker. It’s exactly what I look for in a Christmas read, so it got me into the magical spirit. So thanks Ms. Cutler!