Author: Julie N. Ford
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
About the book: As Brian McAlister struggles to move past being jilted not once, but twice by the only woman he's ever loved, he's all but given up on relationships. Then, on special assignment for the DA's office, he crosses paths with ex-socialite turned social worker, Holly Cavanaugh Winter-and romance blossoms.
Widowed, practically penniless, and reduced to shopping at WalMart, Holly is dreading the approaching Holiday Season. However, her angst isn't due to her husband's untimely death the previous December 25th, but because of a secret that could reveal itself unless she can find a way to avoid the coming Christmas.
Love at first sight quickly turns frigid for Brian and Holly when Holly gets pulled into a manhunt for an accused murderer who now has his sights set on her. His case unraveling, Brian finds himself tasked with keeping Holly and her two daughters safe while bringing an assassin and the powerful man who hired him to justice.
A heart-warming story of suspense, healing, giving and receiving, No Holly for Christmas is the perfect addition to everyone's holiday reading list.
My thoughts: This book starts out pretty unassuming. It had enough action to keep me interested, but not enough for me to feel like I just had to read it. That is, until I was about halfway through.
Brian gets thrown into a case that his father was handling as a D.A. when his father has to undergo heart surgery. Brian hates the D.A.'s office and all that it represents, so he goes into it with a closed mind. On his first day on the job he meets Holly, who happens to be the older sister of his assistant D.A. and a social worker who treated a suspect, under an assumed name, who showed up at her hospital with a gunshot wound.
Holly and Brian definitely had chemistry, but he was still hung up on his girlfriend from college -- which was many years ago and she was still distrustful of men because of what her husband had told her before he unexpectedly died. She was also not willing to have a casual relationship with anyone because of her two daughters.
I loved Kirby, Holly's teenage daughter. I had to laugh out loud every time Kirby would roll her eyes or those times when she would forget that she wasn't supposed to like Brian and was actually nice to him. Then there was lovable Bridget, Holly's younger daughter, who, despite Brian's restraint, managed to get under his skin and in his heart as well.
Like I said above, about half way through, things started happening that I didn't expect. The story seems to be wrapping up, but there are still 200 pages left. Plenty of time for other secrets to be revealed and a romance to begin to blossom. But whether or not that romance is actually going to come to fruition or whither and die is actually taken out of their hands -- again by the case that Brian is working on.
This really isn't a mystery or a thriller, as we know right from the beginning who is behind everything and what they are doing -- but it definitely has some of the elements of a thriller. It is suspenseful and there is plenty of action and while the romance in the beginning is low-key, it manages to take center stage toward the end.
I ended up really enjoying this book and have discovered that there is a prequel - The Woman He Married - that I will be adding to my reading list!
~I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from Tristi Pinkston Book Tours in exchange for my unbiased review.~
Publisher/Publication Date: Whiskey Creek Press, 2011