Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review of best-selling author Brenda Novak’s newly released, THE HEART OF CHRISTMAS. It’s books seven of her Whiskey Creek series, and fans will applaud Eve (finally) getting her happy ending.
About the book:
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!
I haven’t read any of the Whiskey Creek books, and I didn’t feel the lack. This story is about Eve, the single gal on the fringes of all the couples in her small California town. She’s thirty-five, and a year ago had a brief relationship with a longtime friend, Ted, who later broke it off–at Christmastime–for another woman. They are amicable, but Eve’s still hurt. And, she feels like she’s sliding into spinsterhood—unwillingly. Seeing her friends’ newly-settled lives is really hard.
So, she goes out on her 35th, alone because her friends can’t get together on a weeknight, and ends up taking home a stranger. Little does she recognize how strange he really is….
Rex has been a class A screw-up in life. He has some serious emotional baggage, and a criminal history. He was in prison, in a gang and is clean from drug addiction for four years. Eight years ago he went on the run, first in WITSEC, and later on his own when his identity had been compromised. His former gang wants blood; his. Meeting Eve is a blessing at the wrong time–he’s hiding in Whiskey Creek after being tipped off that the gang was on his trail…again.
Eve, to her horror, realizes her indiscretion about four drinks too late–waking with a blinding hangover and a skittish bed partner is NOT her style. Oh, and they may not have used protection, in one or more of their encounters the night before. Plus, Mr. Right Now, well, he’s about as forthcoming as a bankster before Congress; he doesn’t even give her his real name.
Okay, the stage is set for some real interesting plot twists. Rex and Eve find a connection. He plans to spend a few weeks in Whiskey Creek and would rather not be alone. The town is so welcoming, and Rex–despite his determination for a no-strings life–is so lonely, so starved for connection, he can’t stay away–and he’s terrified that Eve could be pregnant. How can he be a father and stay on the lamb from his gang?
Eve’s friends rally to her side–with support, and answers when Rex won’t come clean. Eve wants to help Rex, even if it means never seeing him again…and with the tight-knit Whiskey Creek community she’s able to keep Rex safe long enough for him to get another clean slate.
The whole thing is an HEA, with fairly reasonable plot turns and enough suspense to keep readers interested. I liked the elements of danger, and how candid Eve’s friends were, with both her and Rex. Though I didn’t know these characters, I got caught up in their world for a bit, and had the good kind of tingles when this story ended.
About the Author: