Lovely, heartfelt, G-rated, holiday-romance novella
Reading Level: Adult Romance
Release Date: September 1, 2016
Publisher: Grace Legacy Publishing LLC
Pages: 94 pages
Source: ARC from author
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry
Police detective Gray Newnan is the thirty-something, divorced father of Travis, a five-year-old boy with autism. Two years ago, immediately after the diagnosis was made, Gray’s ex-wife abandoned their marriage and her toddler son and returned to an ex-boyfriend. Since then, Gray’s mother has been Travis’s caregiver while Gray works, and he has refused to date, instead focusing all his energy on Travis. Gray believes it is too great a risk of his own heart and his son’s security for him to let down his guard with another woman. In spite of his vow of lonely isolation, however, all this time he has admired from afar a beautiful, vivacious, athletic firefighter named Karley.
Karley Nicolas, whom the men on her firefighting team have nicknamed, “Nic,” has recently turned 30, and her biological clock is ticking. Unfortunately, she has had nothing but bad luck with men. Everyone she has dated has proven to be undependable, including her most recent boyfriend, who cheated on her and dumped her. Karley has been very much aware of Gray as an attractive, desirable, unmarried man for the past several years, but everyone knows he doesn’t date.
Then, a few weeks before Christmas, Gray and Karley are thrown together frequently during practice sessions for their town’s most important, annual, charity fundraiser, the Police vs Firefighter Basketball Game. Joking trash talk tossed back and forth between the two of them on the basketball court soon begins to seem a lot more like flirting than the casual exchanges between distant acquaintances they’ve had in the past. And the romantic vibe grows even stronger when Gray brings Travis to another Christmas event that Karley participates in every year, playing “Santa Nic” at a quiet, low-stimulation event geared to special needs children like Travis. When Karley invites Nic to bring Travis to multiple, Christmas-themed events, it suddenly starts to look a lot like more than simple friendship is growing between them.
This is a heartfelt, G-rated, romantic, Christmas novella in the family-themed style of Harlequin American, contemporary romance novels. Though this novella is less than 100 pages long, the author has written a satisfyingly complete story arc for both the romance and Karley’s relationship with Gray’s adorable son Travis. There are also multiple, wonderful subcharacters in this story, including Karley’s autistic twin brother, Kasey, and the kind and supportive fellow firefighters whom Karley works with. The autism portion of the story, in particular, is handled with sensitivity and compassion and is lovely to read.
All in all, this is a quick, fun read that fans of romance in general, and Christmas romance stories in particular, will greatly enjoy.
I rate this novella as follows:
Romance Plot: 5
Family Drama Plot: 5