by Marcia James, contemporary (2010)
Liquid Silver Books, $3.99, ISBN 978-1-59578-784-2
Nicky Paxton may be the daughter of the big boss of the biggest supermarket in town, but even she is not exempt from paying her penance during the holiday season. Dressed up as an elf and forced to smile as she watches the kids queue up to meet Santa, her day can't become any worse when she bumps into her old sweetheart, Chris Spencer. Well, maybe things are not that bad when she learns that he is a widower.
Heating Up The Holidays is a very pleasant and readable story. It is not sappy for a Christmas romance, which is a good thing if you ask me. This one will be a fine read as long as you don't mind being fed a whole load of very, very familiar tropes.
For example, Chris has a daughter who is predictably plagued by the Traumatized Into Silence disease that is epidemic among children of single parents in romance novels. Of course the hero and the heroine band together to give poor Holly (yes, her name is Holly) the best Christmas ever, and you can predict that the whole holiday season culminates with Holly getting a new Mommy.
Still, the writing is clean, the characters are likable, and the kid is not too annoying. There may be no surprises here, but it's an agreeable kind of predictability, especially for a short story of this nature.
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