Author: Shannon Stacey
Publisher: Carina Press
Rating: 4.5 stars
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Christina Forrester is starting over. After a financial scandal sent her ex-husband to prison, she’s left raising her young son without any of the comforts of their old life. Budgets, coupons, lawn care—you name it, she’s learning to do it all on her own. Well, almost on her own—she’d be lost without Gail Broughton, the kind widow across the street.
But when Gail’s son comes home, Christina’s vow to never trust a man again is put to the test.Will Broughton left town because he was tired of being “that poor man” who lost his wife and unborn child in a tragic accident. But years have passed and, with his dad gone and his mom alone, it’s time to go home. Only his mother’s not alone. She’s taken Christina under her wing, and the beautiful and determined single mother awakens something in Will he thought was buried forever.
As Will and Christina are forced to spend more time together, feelings that are more than neighborly grow between them. And with Christmas coming and a child filling both houses with holiday cheer, it becomes nearly impossible not to embrace the joy—and the love—in their lives.
Review: I love Shannon Stacey’s humorous style of writing, and I’ve been a huge fan of her Kowalski series for many years. It’s fun, romantic, sexy, and always ultimately great for a belly laugh or two. But this is Shannon Stacey in a contemplative, emotional mood, and it suits the holiday season well!
Christina and her seven-year old son Nathaniel have made a new home in a small New Hampshire town. Thank goodness, because they’d had no where else to go! Her former husband’s financial scandal sent him to jail and left Christina and Nathaniel essentially broke and abandoned. Everything had been sold to pay off their debts, and they’d been left with only the clothes on their backs, literally. Unfortunately, Christina had no real-world experience at taking care of herself, financially or otherwise. But she was determined to do it for herself and her son, and she wasn’t very fond of men because of how her husband had treated them. She found a job at the gas station’s QuikStop convenience store, and they were surviving.
And then she met Gail Broughton. Gail had recently lost her husband, and her two grown children had moved away. So she’d been left home alone and loved the opportunity to help the newly divorced Christina and her son find a soft place to land and lots of comfort and friendship. Before they knew it, she’d found them a place to rent right across the street from her and was babysitting Nathaniel after school until Christina got off of work. She was quickly finding ways to cook for them and make life easier for them and louder and busier for herself.
But then Will comes home. Will Broughton is Gail’s thirty-two year old son who lost his young wife Emily and their unborn baby daughter five years earlier. At first he’d been a little angry and concerned that Christina and Nathaniel were taking advantage of Gail, but he soon realized that they were giving her a lot more than they were taking. Plus, he realized that Christina wasn’t that kind of person. And he soon becomes as fond of Christina and Nathaniel as Gail is. But when sparks ignite between him and Christina, he’s not sure what to do.
Will is emotionally frozen after the death of his wife pregnant wife Emily. Nearly six years earlier, she’d been on her way home two weeks before Christmas when a drunk driver had hit her and killed them both. He’d lost everything in an instant, and the overwhelming grief and loss were more than he could take. He’d had to leave and just wander, taking jobs different places, to quiet the ache and loneliness deep inside. He’d returned home for the funeral of his father earlier in the year, and as he’d driven away after back to Ohio, he’d felt bad looking in the rear view mirror at his mother crying in the background. He’d had to come back. But he certainly hadn’t reconciled the emotions over losing his wife and child; they’d gotten easier to bear but they were still there.
But Christina and Will keep feeling the chemistry between them and ending up together alone, and the inevitable happens. A kiss. More than a kiss. Will this feeling last? Is it enough to take these wounded lovers past their reservations and into a lasting relationship and commitment? Who will get hurt if it doesn’t work? But who will win if it does? Everyone.
Deeper than your normal Christmas read, but more heartfelt. Worth the effort! Thanks, Shannon Stacey.