A stand alone novel, published November 2011.
Six years ago, Ross Mitchell and Lucy Fleming shared a hot holiday weekend in Manhattan, back when he was just a hard-bodied guy in a tool belt and she was an impulsive photography student.
Fast-forward a few Decembers: Ross and Lucy meet again, by chance, at his office Christmas party. And when they find themselves alone and snowed in after hours, it's not long before they're making their own body heat - again. Only this time, the sex is better than ever!
But is it just another holiday romp between the sheets? Or will Lucy and Ross finally get to keep what they really want this year - each other!
Lucy just dumped her cheating boyfriend, and is having the girlfriend talk with her best friend and roommate over coffee. At the same time, some gorgeous young carpenter is making some new bookshelves in the coffeeshop annex bookstore they frequent. And talk about eye-candy! Kate tricks the two of them into meeting, and Ross is taken with Lucy at once. And Lucy just realized she is not really heartbroken about losing a Jude the cheat, just about losing a boyfriend. After all, it is December 23, and she already hates Christmas. She lost her parents just after the holidays thanks to a drunk driver, and since then, she only has her big brother left.
Lucy and Ross hit it off at once, talking for a while, and then Ross insists on coming with her back to Jude’s apartment to get the gift her brother send her there back. She just hopes Jude hasn’t disposed of it already. Jude is acting like a real slimeball, talking about taking her back, when he is the cheater she caught in the act with a neighbour.
After some Christmas shopping for Ross, for presents for his family, he takes her home. And safes her. They end up at his house, having a fabulous evening, and night. Lucy was a virgin, she never wanted to make love with Jude, even after three months of dating, but Ross is different. She is attracted to him, loves everything about him. On Christmas day however, Ross is called home to Chicago, because his dad just had a heart attack. And so they part ways, and Lucy sets of on her bright plans for the future.
Now six years later, Lucy is also back in Chicago, wanting to be near her brother who just got through a nasty divorce. She did not really realize all her bright plans, but she likes where she is, and she is good at her job. And while doing her job, she meets Ross again. Both are astonished, both never forgot the other, never managed to hold on to a relationship with somebody else. Will they grab their chance and hold on this time? When fate gives them a second chance?
This sweet novella is divided in two parts, first a chapter in the now in Chicago, and then a chapter six years ago in New York. And I liked both stories. I was kind of grumpy with my boyfriend when I started this novel, but halfway through I was immersed in it, wanted to know what happened to the great way they started out, and how they would get back together in time. A Harlequin Blaze is a really thick book after all.
I just have to say: it liked this book, a lot. Lucy is funny, and spiritful. She dislikes Christmas, due to the painful memories it brings, but also doesn’t want to spoil things for Ross. She was young, just 22, and still optimistic, and a virgin. At 28, she is mature, she knows what she wants, she likes her life. And Ross, he was her knight in shining armor that night, or rather her carpenter in sturdy leather. They connected, and I believed in it. Ross, very handsome as a young penniless carpenter, and even more handsome as a 30 year old CEO of the large company he inherited from his father.
There are not really any secondary characters in this book, mostly just in mention, a very short role for Ross’ secretary and his youngest sister, but that is it. I did love the Christmas presents Lucy and her brother give each other every year. Really funny.
The plot how they ended up together was nice, I really did wonder how Lucy could forget about her camera en equipment, when it was described how she stepped out of the elevator that afternoon…
So, if you are in the mood for a nice Christmas story, a story of a second chance at love, and with some very hot but sweet love scenes, you should read this one. I did not expect to like it as much as I did.
Leslie Kelly is also known as Leslie Parrish, who writes suspense.