I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.A Dangerously Sexy Christmas by Stefanie London
Published by Harlequin on November 1st 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Source: the author
Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Assignment: A Hot Holiday Affair!
Aspiring jewelry designer Rose Lawson doesn't want a bodyguard. Especially the hot, muscle-y one her father hires after a break-in at the jewelry shop where she works. It's only when her home is also ransacked that Rose realizes the sexy (but infuriating) bodyguard might come in handy…especially on a cold winter's night.
Max Ridgeway is a former Aussie cop who's got something to prove in New York. He's convinced that someone dangerous is behind the robberies and that Rose needs protection. His protection. But what's even more dangerous is the sexy tension between them—because a hot little fling could compromise their lives…and his heart.
My first thought upon meeting Max was something along the lines of “Great. Another alphole.” He’s been hired by Rose’s father to be her bodyguard after the jewelry store where she works was broken into. She’s not interested in his security services, and he doesn’t care. As far as he’s concerned, she’s not his client, her father is, and he’s going to follow her around and stalk her whether she wants him to or not. And she very much does not want him to. I was forced to revise my opinion when Max was almost immediately proven right about Rose’s safety, or lack thereof. Turned out, Rose was in danger, and Max wasn’t an alphole at all. He was just a regular old alpha, one who knew what he was doing, and was determined to keep Rose safe, first because it’s his job, later because she’s the woman he’s sleeping with, then even later because he’s grown to care about her. Once Rose realized he was right to be worried, she revised her opinion about him, too. So I wasn’t alone there.
The attraction between them starts out as purely physical, and deepens pretty quickly, like the best of them do. The heat between them was apparent from that first meeting, even through their bickering about him following her around. And, really, what is good bickering besides the best kind of foreplay? Rose was my favorite kind of heroine – she was confident, savvy, smart enough to know when to fight and when to back off, and just smart in general. She never let Max walk all over her or make all of her decisions for her, but she knew when to listen to him and when to stand her ground. And I love it when the heroine knows what she wants and goes after it. In this case, Rose wanted Max, so she went after him and got him. I love seeing heroines make the first move and go after what they want. It’s not exactly rare, but it’s not as common as I’d like it to be.
Once I got past my incorrect initial impression of Max, I really liked him. He tried to fight off his attraction to Rose for a bit, but once they went for it, he didn’t wallow in angst over it. He was smart enough to figure out what was happening and who was behind the attacks on Rose. He didn’t want to tell her until he was certain, but when she insisted, he told her. None of that “I’m keeping secrets from you for your own good” bullshit. He knew she was uncertain about having him around in the beginning, and he took that into consideration while still doing what he thought he needed to in order to keep her safe. Neither of them was willing to compromise their own beliefs, but they weren’t going to bulldoze the other into doing what they were told, either. They were a believable couple, even in the midst of the drama they were dealing with.
The story takes place around Christmas, but there’s not much of the holiday to it, so if you’re looking for a Christmasy read, this probably won’t do it for you. But I really enjoyed this book. I didn’t know how Rose and Max were going to resolve their potential geographical differences in the end. The way they managed to felt real to me; they both had to make some changes and adjustments in their lives, but neither of them had to give up everything. That was the strongest impression I came away with after finishing this book – a sense of realness. Even though Rose and Max were in a situation most of us are never going to face, their actions and decisions felt authentic. Stefanie London never made it seem like either of her main characters were doing something just for the sake of amping up the drama.
The next book in the series is coming out in April. I thought I knew who it would center on, but looking at London’s website, I was only half right. I hope the other half of my guess gets a book, too. Stefanie London is a new author to me, I’ve only read 2 of her books, but I really like them. Even her side characters are well-drawn enough for me to be interested in. Pick this one up!