As a huge fan on Toni Blakes Destiny series, I was a bit surprised as to whom this story was centered. After all, Sue Ann Simpkins seemed to have a perfectly happy marriage with Jeff. But perhaps of the standard of perfection put on these high school sweethearts, Jeff does an about face and divorces Sue Ann and quickly marries another woman, and to add a bit of insult, the new woman isn't even younger or prettier...she is just average so Sue Ann knows that it is true love. Sue Ann is blindsided by all of this and decides to take a weekend away at a small cabin to help clear her mind and get ready for the hustle and bustle of the upcoming holiday season. She knows she needs to make sure her daughter, Sophie, has a wonderful Christmas.
Adam Becker is in a bit of a Scroogish mood. His twin boys are spending a month away at a ski resort with his ex and he is naturally quite bummed out. He heads to a cabin in the mountains that he rents every year on the same weekend and is faced with an unpleasant surprise. His best friends (up to Jeffs divorce) ex-wife is there, Sue Ann. There was a bit of confusion during registration and it has started to snow quite heavily and there are no other cabins available so the two agree to share the bunks. But even though Adam and Sue Ann have know each other for most of their lives, they both see each other in a new light and this leads to one verrry steamy night in the cabin! Phew! But just as Sue Ann is letting down her guard a tiny bit, Adam reveals one of the reasons behind his divorce and her walls go right back up. Oh, but that magical snow that always seemed to be falling helps keep Adam and Sue Ann in contact (physically and emotionally) with each other and Adam deepens his relationship with Sophie, who is his goddaughter, but the drama with Jeff and his requests to stop spousal support and his calling Adam as a character witness keep these two battling wills. But will the holiday season filled with reindeer and snow and a special kitty help Sue Ann let down her guard to trust her heart to another?
Toni Blake has quickly become one of my favorite contemporary authors and I love her Destiny series and Holly Lane is the perfect holiday companion to an already fabulous series. She took a topic seen all too often in todays world and showed how true love can blossom from a very unexpected turn of events. I felt that Sue Anns feelings and her wall she had built up around herself was very true to how any woman would feel in the same circumstances and her love of her daughter and desire to do what was right for Sophie was spot on. When Adam (as Santa) tells Sophie he will try to bring a real reindeer for her, Sue Ann is quite upset and even though it was the best thing to say at the time, Sue Ann is heartbroken at the thought of disappointing her daughter on Christmas morning. And even though I saw the happy result coming, I still had happy tears in my eyes. Actually, I sniffled quite a bit throughout this book. Toni Blake has a knack for writing emotional, sexy stories that will pull your heart strings and leave a big happy smile on your face and I know I can not wait for more. (Amy, I'm talking about you!) And fans on this series will be happy to know that Mick and Jenny have a wonderful, emotional side story that I thought played out perfectly! Overall, this is a perfect Christmas story, based loosely on A Christmas Carol, that will truly put you in the mood for the upcoming holidays! 5 stars
I received this book from the publisher via netgalley.com
Can be read as stand alones but best enjoyed in order
Willow Springs, A Destiny Novel #5 July 2012