Pub Date: December 2010 (available now)
FTC: Received copy for review from author
From the time they were kids and neighbors, Reece Winston tugged Abby Harper's pigtails and tormented her. But when Abby—now the sole owner of her parents' vineyard—sees Reece Winston again after years apart, she's unexpectedly struck by the need to play a much more adult kind of game....
Then a freak accident forces her to stay with Reece, and Abby decides that what she really wants for Christmas is Reece—perhaps wrapped with a red bow. But as Abby and Reece explore their naughty lists, they begin to realize that nothing is quite as easy as it seems!
I love holiday stories. I especially love holiday romances. Add in a neighbors-to-lovers plot, and I'm a happy little bookworm.
I admit, I normally shy away from most of the category Harlequin books. Not because I have anything against them, but because they are often too short to make me believe in the characters the way I'd like. That wasn't the case with I'll Be Yours for Christmas. The characters were very well done, even the secondary ones, and the plot was interesting and focused.
As someone from the west coast, it was a nice change to see something set in an east coast vineyard. It was unusual and refreshing not to have that Napa Valley feel to a story like this one. And I really loved all of the Christmas elements incorporated into the story. Over a dozen Christmas trees, wine themed ornaments. Small touches, but it kept the holiday feel consistent throughout the book.
The heat between Abby and Reece is scorching! I liked that Abby had a few minor kinks and Reece was very aware of them. The slow build, with a few interruptions thrown in to amp up the frustration, was nice. It felt realistic, especially given their brief "almost" encounter back in high school.
I also appreciated how the author resolved the career conflict while keeping the relationship balanced. The changes were not done in a self-sacrificing way that felt unequal, but instead felt like a move forward for both characters.
My only complaint, and it's a very minor one, was that I felt like the "arson investigation" to hold up insurance payments wasn't really needed. It didn't add anything to the story; there was enough conflict without it.
Grab a cup of eggnog and curl up in front of the fire with this one. You'll be in the holiday mood in no time.
My Grade: A-/B+