by Clare Connelly
Series: Christmas Seductions #1
Publication Date: November 29, 2018
Bad boys are her weakness…
Is he too magnetic to resist?
Storming into psychologist Holly Scott-Leigh’s life, bad boy billionaire Noah Moore is so hot he leaves Holly breathless with just a glance. He’s her potential client and she’s never crossed that line before. But delicious Noah tempts her to sin… This festive season, from his hip London loft to a luxurious Paris hotel, Noah will show Holly how good it feels to be on the naughty list!
I’ve been meaning to try out Harlequin’s Dare line, so when I saw this holiday-themed romance show up at my library, I grabbed it! It was definitely much steamier than I’d expected a category romance to be, but the rest of it was not as successful for me.
“I force myself to remember several things, and to remember them quickly. He is waging a battle against demons I don’t yet comprehend; he has come to me for help.
And I don’t do this.
I don’t let men, no matter how sexy, make my pulse race and my knees knock.
That kind of thing was a million years ago for me.”
Holly is a therapist who specializes in trauma disorders, especially veterans with PTSD. Noah, one of the billionaire founders of a big tech company, comes to her for help. She’s intrigued, though, when he insists, even while sitting in her office, that he doesn’t need therapy, he’s just having problems sleeping. Instead, he seems determined to flirt with her instead and Holly is surprised by her reaction to him. After it becomes clear that neither can get the other out of their head, Holly severs any professional ties and they embark on a fling. Holly has her own past, though, and can she keep both it and Noah’s past from ruining their chance at a relationship?
‘You’re… Look.’ I shake my head.
‘Yes?’ He’s intense.
‘You’re you,’ I say, shaking my head. ‘Billionaire, famous, and I think you live in a very different world to me.’ My smile is an attempt to soften the rejection.
‘I’m not talking about marrying you,’ he says with a slow, purposeful wink. ‘I’m talking about you, me and all this chemistry…’
This is a pretty quick and steamy read, with a bit of holiday flair. There’s some of the usual billionaire tropes (trendy condo on the Thames! private jet to Paris!) and lots of steamy sex. I liked the additional focus on mental health (though it felt a bit heavy handed at times) and Holly’s eventual realization that their relationship wasn’t healthy for herself or Noah. While I was conflicted about her relationship with a potential patient, I also realized that the flaw revealed a lot about Holly and her character in general, especially how she handled it once she realized how much Noah’s unresolved issues were suffocating him. I especially loved the last section of the book – basically, Noah’s form of groveling after he screws up – and honestly wish it hadn’t been so rushed. End-of-the-book Noah seemed like almost a different person than the arrogant and forward Noah of earlier in the book. While I liked that he was obviously more solicitous of Holly’s needs, I missed the spark in their relationship. And, besides the whole patient relationship ethical violation, I found it hard to believe that she’d get so involved with this guy who has told her that he doesn’t like kids – to the point of falling in love with him – when her daughter is the center of her non-work life.
Overall, while I had issues with the book, it was still a quick read, and I think I’ll probably try another book by Ms. Connelly in the future, especially if it’s another from the Dare line.