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New Release Review: Christmas With You by Tracey Alvarez (Due South #4)

 

It’s beginning to look a little too much like Christmas at my house (Anyone want some snow? We’re looking to unload a few metric tons up here) so I was only too happy to escape reality with a nice, warm holiday read!

 

Christmas With You
by Tracey Alvarez

About the book:

She’s a Holiday Grinch…

Carly Gatlin doesn’t want to spend another Christmas alone. With her beloved father gone, she’s desperate to be part of a family—so she’s spending the holidays with her step-brothers on Stewart Island. But even with sand, sun, and not a snowflake in sight, everything reminds her of what she’s lost. So no tree trimming, cookie baking, or kisses under the mistletoe for her, thanks. Especially not from Due South’s sexy bartender, Kip.

He’s a too-hot-for-his-Santa-suit killjoy…

Kip Sullivan’s moved hundreds of miles away from his family who’d like to see him married off before his next birthday—on Christmas Eve. Then ten days before the big event, his meddling relatives arrive en masse, and dear God, they’re planning to stay. With match-makers breathing down his neck, it’s becoming harder to ignore the temptation to unwrap Carly like a present under the tree.

The Kiwi barbecue isn’t the only thing sizzling this summer…

Kip agrees to help make Carly’s first New Zealand Christmas special. He’s got five holiday missions to complete—one involving a frisky fake reindeer—before he hopes to claim a mistletoe kiss…and maybe even Carly’s heart.

Christmas just isn’t Christmas without this spicy yet sweet Due South novella.

 

Review:

Another really fun read from the Due South world–this time in fun holiday packaging…with a hot bartender Santa and mistletoe!

For Carly Gatlin, Christmas has always been special–mostly because her dad, a single parent for a good chunk of her childhood, went out of his way to make them that way. They had a series of Christmas “missions” they needed to accomplish each year–one of which was planting magic Christmas beans (aka jelly beans) on Christmas Eve and then harvesting the candy canes that grew there the next morning. So adorable! This Christmas, though, isn’t shaping up to be much like the ones of her childhood–her father has recently passed away, and Carly’s made the decision to leave her so-called life in California to follow her stepmother and stepbrother Del to Stewart Island.

Christmas means family–but Carly’s family just isn’t shaping up to be what she’d hoped. Her stepmother’s occupied with her first husband, who is very ill, and Del’s preparing to donate a kidney to try to save him. Her other stepbrother, West–also her boss–pretty much refuses to refer to her as his sister at all…and and both he and Del are planning to go away for the holidays anyway. So yeah, Carly’s Christmas this year is looking to be pretty sucktastic.

Kip Sullivan’s not too hot on the whole Christmas deal either–an early “Christmas Miracle” himself, issues with his family’s expectations for him precipitated his move to the other side of the country to escape the pressure. But–surprise, surprise!–the lot of them (okay, two sisters short, but still–it’s a whole lot of people) have come for a holiday visit! Ho…ho…humbug?

When Carly (literally!) knocks Kip off his feet during a mistletoe-hanging-gone-wrong incident, the attraction between the two gets a whole lot harder to deny. Kip’s not looking for anything long-term, though, and Carly’s not sure she can do a holiday fling, especially with a coworker, so…

When Kip’s mother notices Carly’s holiday spirit is somewhat lacking, she enlists Kip’s help to make her Christmas bright again. Once he finds out about her dad’s “missions”, he knows just how to do he’s going to do it. Can he get his family–and Carly’s landlady–to butt their noses out of his business, though? Or will they provide a needed assist?

Once again Tracey’s sense of humor shines through in her writing–the scenes where Kip and Carly are corralled into being Santa and his elf for the Christmas party are especially amusing. Throw in an ornery “reindeer” named Dudley (a rather rude pony sporting felt antlers) and I couldn’t stop giggling. Kip’s twin nephews also provided quite a bit of comedy relief–who knew it was possible to tie your brother to a chair with tinsel? I am supremely disappointed that I never thought of it myself–talk about wasted opportunities…

My only complaint is that I would have liked it to be longer, but really just because I wanted more Kip and Carly time, not because it needed to be. The only part that felt at all rushed was the Carly / West angle, but since he was more than a bit of a butthead for not warming up to her sooner, its abruptness didn’t really bother me all that much.

Plus, you know–it’s Christmas. Time for miracles, whether they be of the brother-not-being-a-butthead-anymore variety or the bartender-realizing-he’s-boyfriend-material-after-all type.

A favorite line:

“He was probably checking to see if you had any hidden food.”

“In my hoo-ha?”

(after Dudley the reindeer got a little too fresh with his elf–thankfully without any small-people witnesses. I almost spit out my Pepsi Max on that one–thanks, Tracey! 😉 )

And another, this one courtesy of Kip’s mum:

“Trust me, Kip, no woman looks at a man the way she looks at you and secretly thinks, ‘I can’t wait to snag this guy so I have my future in-laws around me 24/7.'”

Preach it, sister.

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A-

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

Published in4.5 starsA-Book reviewsBOOKS!new releasespotlight

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