by Shannon Richard
Series: Taking the Shot #1
Publication Date: December 4, 2018
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
Adele James’s favorite time of year has always been Christmas, but this year she’s in no mood for the holiday season. Thanks to her famous A-list actor boyfriend cheating on her! Now that her photo is splashed all over TV, the internet, and tabloids her number one goal is to get away. She heads to her family’s cabin to be alone, but there’s another occupant when she arrives: none other than the frustratingly sexy Jace Kilpatrick… the man she’s been avoiding falling in love with for the past six years.
Jace Kilpatrick has never been the biggest holiday guy, and after three months of the NHL being on lockout, celebrating is low on his priority list. Getting the keys to his best friend’s family cabin was supposed to be about being alone. But those plans are foiled by Adele James who brings the mother of all snowstorms with her.
Adele is gorgeous, funny, and fiery, but she’s also his best friend’s sister, aka, completely off limits. But when the cabin loses power in the middle of the storm, Jace forgets the rules and spends the Christmas days and nights with Adele wrapped in his arms. Once the snow thaws, they’ll call things off, no harm, no foul… if they can agree to keep their hearts out of the equation.
The best description of this book I can come up with is “steamy Hallmark” – it’s cozy and comfy holiday goodness, with lots of sex. It’s also ridiculously tropetastic – there’s “best-friend’s-little-sister” plus “snowbound” plus a dash of “Christmas-elf-wannabe-must-teach-Scrooge-how-to-enjoy-the-holidays.” In other words, it ticked a whole bunch of my boxes!
“But continuing to keep him oblivious was going to be that much harder now…with just the two of them…alone together…in a two-thousand square foot cabin that now felt like the size of a shoe box.
Perfect, just perfect.”
Adele is not in the Christmas spirit this year – she’s just broken up with her actor boyfriend after he cheated on her. The only way to escape the paparazzi – and her family’s relentless Christmas cheer – seems to be holing up in her family’s cabin in Tennessee. When she arrives there with a storm on her heels, however, it’s to find her brother’s best friend and fellow hockey teammate, Jace, already there. She’s had a crush on him for the past six years, and the last thing she needs is to spend Christmas snowed in with him avoiding her attraction to him while nursing her broken heart. Jace, for his part, isn’t in a great mood, either, as the hockey league is still in the middle of months-long contract negotiations, with no end in sight. But, somehow, it’s hard for either of them to stay un-merry around each other, and as the holiday spirit grows, so does their attraction to each other. But Jace has a reputation as a ladies’ man, and the last thing Adele needs is another broken heart. Will the new year ring in a new relationship or just another heartbreak?
“This feeling of contentment with her was becoming stronger and stronger. He was so unaccustomed to it that it was starting to get almost overwhelming. But overwhelming or not, it didn’t change the fact that he didn’t want it to end.
He wanted more nights like this. More nights with them cooking dinner together, more nights with them eating pie on the sofa, more nights with her in his arms watching cheesy romantic comedies. More nights of anything. More nights of everything.”
Adele and Jace – plus Adele’s dalmation Katie – are so good for each other. After his mother died, Jace didn’t really celebrate the holidays – that is, until he got sucked into Adele’s family’s orbit when he joined the same hockey team as her brother. Adele has felt a bit left out of her family lately. Everyone else is happily married, while she hasn’t had a serious relationship, besides that mess with the cheating actor, in a long time. Initially, Jace helps Adele deal with the mass of feelings she has around her breakup, and then as she gets back into the Christmas spirit, she introduces him to new holiday traditions, like building snowmen and making a homemade gingerbread house. There’s lots of fun Christmas content like decorating the tree, kissing under the mistletoe, making snowmen, baking pies, cooking delicious holiday dinners, baking a gingerbread house, and watching Die Hard, of course. Once their relationship becomes physical, they agree to go follow “Vegas rules” – that is, what happens at the cabin, stays at the cabin. They already trust each other – they have known each other for six years after all – so they’re pretty much already friends and familiar with a lot about each other. I think that’s one of my main criticisms about the book. While it’s certainly fun to vicariously participate in all of their holiday fun, there’s really not much in terms of conflict until the big “black moment” so it was quite slow. Plus, since Jace is in the middle of a lockout, there’s actually very little in the way of hockey content, which isn’t necessarily a negative but wasn’t what I was expecting.
“Her bah humbug demeanor was now replaced with genuine holiday cheer. Or was that the post-orgasmic glow? She didn’t know, nor did she really care.”
Overall, if you’re OK with the fact that it’s pretty much going to be holiday fun and sex, I think you’ll enjoy this book!