Title: The Heart of Christmas
Author: Brenda Novak
My Rating: A-
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Whiskey Creek #7
Main Characters: Eve and Rex
Release Date: October 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: spicy
Eve Harmon has always enjoyed Christmas, but this year it reminds her of everything she doesn't have. Almost all her friends are married now, and that's what Eve wants, too. Love. A husband and kids of her own. But the B and B she manages, and even Whiskey Creek, the small Gold Country town where she was born and raised, suddenly seem…confining.
Eve's worried that her future will simply be a reflection of her past. There's no one in the area she could even imagine as a husband until a handsome stranger comes to town. Eve's definitely attracted to him, and he seems to have the same reaction to her. But his darkly mysterious past could ruin Eve's happily ever after just when it finally seems within reach. And just when she's counting on the best Christmas of her life!
Everything about the romance story in this book worked for me. I like that both Eve and Rex were really too drunk to remember what happened when they hooked up. As the story evolves, we find out just how out of character that was for BOTH of them, which made it feel even more like fate.
Rex is everything that Whiskey Creek is not. He's an ex-con, ex-gang member, used to using violence if the situation warrants, and on the run for his life. Eve is a 35 yo with the life of a grandmother...she runs the local B&B and is everyone's friend. But because she's so incredibly sweet and everyone's friend, they all feel very protective of her especially with things with her new guy just don't add up. Something isn't right with him. It served for a great dichotomy in their relationship which I just loved. I also really loved that I could NOT figure out how Brenda Novak was going to write herself out of this conflict. With only 10% left in the book, I just couldn't see how it could possibly end up happy for everyone. But she did it and she did it beautifully with everything that Whiskey Creek and this group of friends symbolize. I loved that it kept me guessing, but ended exactly in the best way for this couple with the help of Eve's friends
What didn't work for me in this book were a couple of the side stories. Teddy's attitude toward Eve's new romance felt over the top. If I was the love of his life, Sophia (who he threw Eve over for), I would have been calling him on it big-time. His reactions felt more like the reactions from a jealous lover, not a friend. I hate the whole baby story line with the two brothers. It feels so soap-opera-ish, it almost makes me want to stop reading the books because I know that's going to blow up soon.
There aren't very many friends left unattached, but I want to beg for Bax to get his own story. I love him and really, really want him to find his HEA. Come on Harlequin...you can do this, right? I want to see Bax happy. I know that Harlequin doesn't normally do GLBT romance, but with Brenda Novak at the helm, you can't go wrong on this one.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.