by Alexis Daria
Series: Dance Off #2.5
Also in this series: Dance with Me, Take the Lead
Publication Date: December 11, 2018
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
Broadway hotshot Nik Kovalenko is a confirmed bachelor.
Ballroom champion Jess Davenport is a bona fide Scrooge.
Last year, they shared a midnight kiss at a New Year’s Eve party that made both of them believe—briefly—in the magic of the holiday season. The magic was cut short when Nik went on tour the next day, but he never stopped thinking about that kiss—or Jess.
When the holidays roll back around, Nik runs into Jess again. He doesn’t want to spend another year pining for the Scrooge who got away, so he tells Jess he’ll stay if she’ll give him a shot at being her Christmas Present.
Jess thinks he’s full of it, but she agrees to three dates. If Nik can make her believe in holiday magic in a place as un-wintery as Los Angeles—and convince her that he’s ready to stick around—she’ll give him a chance. But he won’t know until New Year’s Eve. If she kisses him at midnight, he’ll have his answer…
My goodness, this was absolutely adorable. Yes, the plot is a bit ridiculous. Yes, the big misunderstanding could have been solved with a 2-question conversation. But, it’s just so darn fun and adorable that even while I noticed these problems, I was having too much fun to actually care. I’m a pretty big fan of Ms. Daria’s previous books in the Dance Off series, but I think this would work perfectly well as a standalone.
Nik and Jess first met at a New Year’s Eve party, and, on a whim, kiss at midnight. Something about Jess sticks with Nik, though, so when he meets her again nearly a year later at a Christmas party, he’s determined to try out a relationship with her, but Jess has her doubts – he loves being part of a traveling company, while she’s happy to be settled in LA. Though Jess thinks this is just another game to Nik, she agrees to three holiday-themed dates, thinking it’ll at least be fun. After them dancing on their first date goes viral, Jess starts to think that maybe there is something to this whole relationship thing. Can Nik convince Jess he’s the real deal, or will their chance at happiness end at midnight on New Year’s Eve?
“The adoration in his face scared her a little. What did you do when you’d never bothered to imagine the man of your dreams, yet he showed up anyway?”
I adored Nik and Jess. Nik is all sweetness and Christmas cheer (including traditions from his native Ukraine) while Jess is the scrooge, convinced that she’s just another of Nik’s adventures and that once his wanderlust kicks in again, he’ll be gone. Nik arranges three near-perfect holiday dates (snow in LA! cookie baking! REAL snow!) that even Jess, insecure and hurting from being the “weird” kid who loved ballroom dance more than pop stars, feels like she fits in to the holiday magic. It’s sweet, it’s fluffy, and it’s like the perfect Christmas sugar cookie, a little crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle, covered in yummy icing.
“For him, that was the true meaning of the Christmas season. It wasn’t about religion, or spending money, or even about the particular holiday of Christmas itself. It was about connection. The days were getting longer again, bit by bit, and Christmas was about opening yourself up to that light and letting people in.”
Overall – if you’re looking for a quick holiday read that’ll leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy and happy, this is the book for you!