Reviewed by Helyce
Favorite Quote: “Brave,” Faith kept her expression deadpan. “If my name was Cookie and I was a monster, I would not dye my hair blue.
From Goodreads: ‘Tis the Season to Be Naughty
Connor McClain knows what he wants. And after four harrowing years in Afghanistan, that’s a quiet life in the lakeside town of Evergreen Cove. But coming home has landmines of its own-the most dangerous of them being long-legged bombshell Faith Garrett. Now getting her into his arms this holiday is going to require more than mistletoe . . .
With a cheating ex behind her, all Faith wants is a relaxing holiday free from man drama. And even though every moment with gorgeous Connor is a sweet temptation, Faith is determined not to give in. But Jack Frost has other plans, and soon Faith and Connor are snowbound in a winter wonderland with only the sparks flying between them to keep them warm. As one hot kiss leads to another, they’ll have to decide if they’re ready to give each other the best gift of all-love.
I was already half in love with Connor McClain after reading book 2, Rescuing The Bad Boy and was so glad that the author was not going to make us wait for his book. This story is so, so much more than what the blurb reveals and I’m going to have a hard time not elaborating and spoiling because I really loved this story.
Connor and Faith had been dancing around their attraction in the previous book. For Faith, he was just some yummy eye candy she could stare at while working with her friend Sophie now that Sophie had moved her business office permanently into Pate Mansion. Connor, a long time friend of Sophie’s fiance, Donny Pate, spends a lot of time at the mansion as he does his work which involves a lot of landscaping to beautify the mansion grounds and babying his beautiful lavender plants which he keeps in an indoor greenhouse within the mansion. Connor has certainly noticed Faith as well, and he doesn’t hide his attraction in any way. They flirt often and they play off each other very well.
“Afternoon Cupcake.” […]
“Good afternoon to you, Beefcake.”
Faith is living alone for the first time in years and while she’s excited about having her independence, it’s taking some getting used to. She hears noises all the time and starts to second guess herself and her sanity. When she wakes one night to a scratching sound on her balcony she calls the police and the officer who arrives checks things out and finds nothing. The next day, while relaying the story in casual conversation with Sophie at work, both Connor and Donny overhear and Connor’s protective instincts go crazy. He decides then and there to be Faith’s personal body guard and insists on accompanying her home and checking things out for himself. What Connor finds is less than satisfactory in his book and he proceeds to decide to camp out on Faith’s couch until he’s installed better locks and a security system. What he doesn’t tell Faith is that he noticed scratches on her balcony doors. Someone was definitely trying to get in.
The stalker theme becomes the focus for a bit and provides a way for Faith and Connor to be in each others space for all their non-working hours and further fuels the ever growing attraction that they have for each other. We see Connor is a new light-while we always knew he was nurturing with his plants, we see that side of him with Faith as well. Faith is torn between wanting to express her independence and not have to count on anyone, especially a man, but at the same time she kind of likes having Connor in her space. It’s not long before Connor is stealing kisses, and Faith is totally into him, but-she’s sticking to her guns about not needing a man.
I loved the use of Faith’s stalker in this instance. Connor is so much the protector and his need to take care of Faith is evident. His laid back persona makes him a conundrum of sorts because he is filled with feeling and want and love. He holds back because he knows that Faith is not ready and well, Connor has his own past to deal with. As their chemistry gets stronger and they are drawn to each other, sparks start to fly, but Faith still holds herself away and Connor is not having it.
“I like you, Faith. I’m not doing anything with you I don’t want to do. And I don’t want to leave you.” He lifted his arms and dropped them as if helpless. “Either we do this thing, you in my bed, me in yours-all night-or we don’t, and I try to find a way to like you without burying my face between your legs and making you scream until you cry.”
I loved that things were not smooth sailing for our couple. They definitely have their ups and downs with Faith’s need to exert her independence and Connor not really knowing how to tell Faith about his past or his experiences in Afghanistan. Connor had only been back in town about year after serving overseas where he had come close to getting killed at one point. He’s living with the things he did and what he saw and he has some guilt where certain things are concerned. Naturally, Faith is curious…
Very serious now, he came closer and held her eyes with his. “Listen to me carefully. You don’t worry about boundaries with me. Not ever. You have something to tell me, you tell me, honey. I’m glad you know. It’s not easy to talk about. Not something I bring up in casual conversation. Reason being” -he put a fingertip in the tiny dent between her eyebrows and smoothed it out- ”I don’t want you to hurt for me. Not ever. I can handle this.”
Faith and Connor survive Thanksgiving, but it is their time during Christmas when they are snowed in due to a storm where it feels like all the pieces fall into place. They are in sync, their intimacy is magical and everything is perfect. As far as Faith is concerned it’s too perfect and at the first opportunity she lets her fear get the best of her and she starts putting up her walls once again.
The author uses a couple of predictable conflict scenarios here, but I still found Connor to be a unique hero who truly just wanted to do right by the woman he loved. He would literally do anything for her, including walking away even as his heart broke into little pieces. Of course, we are treated to a fantastic reconciliation and equally fantastic epilogue.
Previous couples have a good amount of page time and we are treated to a few scenes with Asher and Gloria who I’m sure will give us an explosive romance if the hints we were given in this book are any indication. I can’t wait!!!
My favorite book of the series so far, I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys small town romances. Connor is super sexy and he and Faith are wonderful together.