|This winter, ex-skiing champion, reformed heartbreaker and single dad Tyler O'Neil has only one mission—making sure his daughter, Jess, has the best Christmas ever. The fact that his best friend, Brenna, is also temporarily moving into his chalet at the overbooked Snow Crystal resort is a delicious distraction he's simply going to have to ignore. Theirs is the one relationship he's never ruined, and he's not about to start now. |
Ski pro Brenna Daniels knows all about the perils of unrequited love—she's been in love with Tyler for years. But living with him is absolute torture…how can she concentrate on being his friend when he's sleeping in the room next door? Then when Tyler kisses Brenna, suddenly the relationship she's always dreamed of feels so close she could almost touch it. Could this be the Christmas her dreams of a happy-ever-after finally come true?
Brenna and Tyler have been best friends since they were kids, both sharing a deep love of the outdoors and more specifically skiing. Brenna’s been in love with Tyler pretty much her whole life, but after being bullied in school repeated by another girl, Brenna’s self esteem was in the gutter. She didn’t tell anyone, especially Tyler about the bullying and this coupled with Tyler getting another girl pregnant ripped Brenna’s heart in two. She moved away to Europe for a time working as a ski instructor, but Tyler went pro and became a skiing/media sensation, racking up titles and women (according to the rumors) as fast as the media could print it. After a devastating accident a couple years ago ended Tyler’s skiing career, he and now Brenna have both, albeit separately, moved back to the family’s resort to help turn the financials from red to black. During this time, Tyler has also become a fulltime dad to his teenage daughter Jess after her mother made it clear she didn’t want her in her home anymore. More on that drama later. Brenna’s gotten used to shoving her feelings for Tyler aside, but when living arrangements are switched around, she finds herself around him pretty much 24/7 and it becomes impossible for them both to ignore what’s been building for years.
On the one hand you have Brenna who’s been in love with Tyler for as long as she can remember, but she doesn’t like confrontation or speaking her mind. The only place she comes alive is on the mountain and even though high school was years ago, the pain from that experience still cuts deep and she struggles everyday with being more assertive and not letting people walk all over her. For Tyler, he’s had a lot thrown at him over the past two years. He lost his skiing career and hasn’t dealt with that well at all. He’s become a fulltime dad and he also has feelings for Brenna but since he’s very anti-relationships, he ignores those feelings, committing instead to keeping Brenna strictly in the best friend zone. But when Brenna goes out on a date with another man, all bets are off and Tyler is forced to make a move.
Yup, Tyler makes his move…finally. The first half of the book was surprisingly a struggle to get through. It was very slow moving as it felt like things kept building and building, but not in a really exciting way, if that makes any sense. I was dying for them to just kiss already but be prepared to wait and wait for that to happen. And sure, their romance is sweet, even if it is crammed into the last part of the book. Maybe because they already had an established relationship, the progression of the romance was very quick once it happened. But I loved their easy friendship and I especially loved seeing Brenna change, speaking her mind and finally being tired of just letting other people talk at her. I liked the more assertive, aggressive Brenna we get as the story unfolds.
This story also focuses on Tyler’s daughter Jess, the issues and troubles she’s having both at school and at home. I enjoyed the relationship she has with Tyler and their mutual love of skiing that helps bring them closer together. There’s also a long awaited meeting between Jess, Tyler and the mother, that I’ve been waiting for. This woman ends up being truly as horrible as we’re led to believe and it’s her tie to Brenna that really puts her over the edge.
While I overall enjoyed this story, the second half much more than the first, I can’t say this is my favorite in the series. I had been so looking forward to Tyler and Brenna’s story, they’ve been getting built up since book 1 and I think it suffered a little for that. The beginning was slow and hard to really get into, but I did enjoy the second half once Brenna takes things into her own hands and turns Tyler’s world sideways. Maybe This Christmas might not have been quite what I was expecting, but it’s still a sweet romantic read in a series that I definitely recommend.
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
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*eARC provided by publisher for review*