A California Christmas by Brenda Novak
Published by MIRA ISBN 9780778361039
Mass market paperback, $7.99, 400 pages
I think we are all ready for Christmas to come this year, and I have been trying to read more books with a Christmas setting to get me in the mood. While I don't normally think California when I think of Christmas, Brenda Novak's A California Christmas intrigued me, so I picked it up.
When Los Angeles TV news anchor Emery Bliss breaks up with her co-anchor with whom she had been romantically involved, he posts a sexually explicit video of them online and Emery is not only mortified, she is fired.
Traumatized, she runs away to the home of her mother's friend Aiyana who runs a school for children who have had difficulties in their young lives in the small town of Silver Springs. Aiyana adopted several of the young boys herself, including Dallas, a young man who lost his mother and sister to violence when he was a child.
Dallas is making a name for himself as a free rock climber, traveling the world, with no ties to anyone. He had a crush on Emery in high school and is saddened to discover what happened to her. Emery is in a fragile state, and Aiyana warns Dallas to be careful with her.
Emery and Dallas are attracted to each other, and Dallas becomes protective of her. He offers her a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen. His concern for her is very sweet, and his gentle manner gives men a good name.
While she ponders suing the news station for firing her, Emery takes a job at a local ice cream parlor, worrying the entire time that someone will recognize her. More than once Dallas comes to her rescue in that regard.
Eventually Emery and Dallas can't fight their attraction, and the resulting sexual relationship is very steamy indeed. But with Dallas traveling the world and Emery possibly moving to Boston with her mother and sick grandmother, a long term relationship seems impossible, no matter how much either wants one.
I think Dallas is good character, a very evolved young man in the way he respects Emery's feelings, not wanting to do anything that would make her uncomfortable, but he also has an old-fashioned chivalry about him. I also liked Aiyana and her soon-to-be husband's relationship. She had been single for so long, and finally is ready to take the marital plunge. It's nice to read about a mature, loving relationship.
A California Christmas is the seventh book in Brenda Novak's Silver Springs series, I just may have to dip into the others to get more background on these characters.
Thanks to Harlequin for putting me on their Harlequin Holiday Book Tour.