Most people wouldn't think of a bad Santa case as the perfect Christmas gift. Then again, Molly Malone, office manager at Hunt Investigations, isn't most people, and she could really use a distraction from the fantasies she's been having since spending the night with her very secret crush, Lucas Knight. Nothing happened, not that Lucas knows that — but Molly just wants to enjoy being a little naughty for once...
Whiskey and pain meds for almost-healed bullet wounds don't mix. Lucas needs to remember that next time he's shot on the job, which may be sooner rather than later if Molly's brother, Joe, finds out about them. Lucas can't believe he's drawing a blank on his (supposedly) passionate tryst with Molly, who's the hottest, smartest, strongest woman he's ever known. Strong enough to kick his butt if she discovers he's been assigned to babysit her on her first case. And hot enough to melt his cold heart this Christmas.
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The best thing about a series with interconnected standalones is when minor characters in previous books get their own love story. When I’ve gotten to know a character, I’m already invested, but it’s exciting to delve further into their backstory. With Hot Winter Nights, the newest book in the Heartbreaker Bay Series by Jill Shalvis, readers are given Lucas and Molly’s story. The attraction between the two co-workers at Hunt Investigators becomes unavoidable after they spend the night together. But it’s when they work closely together on a job that sparks really fly. Throw in a bit of danger and mystery and Hot Winter Nights is the perfect blend of swoon-worthy romance and pulse-pounding suspense.
On light duty while recovering from a work injury, security specialist, Lucas Knight, is (covertly) assigned to shadow Molly Malone on her first case. The officer manager and aspiring investigator is recruited to help a couple of geriatric elves at Santa’s Village, which may or may not be a criminal enterprise. Molly and Lucas manage to get themselves embroiled in the thick of things, even while skillfully dancing around their budding feelings for each other. Abundant chemistry and heaping sexual tension make it impossible for these two emotionally unavailable commitment-phobes to keep their relationship strictly professional. Pushing each other’s buttons leads to scorching hot, uninhibited sex, which leads to the possibility of something more.
With a sweet, humorous, and heartwarming storyline, Hot Winter Nights is like a Hallmark movie but exponentially dirtier. It’s action-packed and suspenseful, with characters that keep each other on their toes, ensuring that there’s never a dull moment. Every sentence from the very first page to the oh-so-adorable epilogue, is utterly entertaining. Hot Winter Nights will leave you feeling perfectly content and in the Christmas spirit. It’s never too early for a holiday romance, right?
*complimentary copy provided by publisher for an honest review
Rating: 5 Stars
About the Author:
New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill's bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.
It took Lucas Knight longer than it should have to realize he had a woman in his bed, but to be fair, he had a bitch of a hangover. Even worse than that, last night was a blur, prompting him to take quick stock. One, there was a bundle of sweet, soft curves against him. Two, his head was currently threatening to secede from the United States Of Lucas. And three, his side hurt like … well, like he’d been shot.
It’d been two weeks since he’d gotten caught in some crossfire on the job and he hadn’t yet been cleared for more than light duty – something he’d obviously managed to ignore last night given that he was palming a nice, warm, feminine ass.
Straining his brain, he remembered taking a pain med before going to O’Riley’s Pub to meet up with some friends. A client had been there, someone he’d recently helped save from a multi-million dollar corporate espionage. The guy had ordered shots to toast to Lucas and … shit. Knowing better than to mix pain meds and alcohol, he’d hesitated, but everyone had been waiting on him, glasses hoisted in the air. Thinking just one shot couldn’t hurt anything, he’d knocked back the drink.
Clearly, he’d been wrong and it’d been enough to mess him up big time, something he hadn’t been in years, not since his brother Josh had been killed. Shoving that away for another time – or never -- Lucas cracked open one eye, but when his retina was stabbed by a streak of sunlight glaring in through the window, he immediately slammed it shut it again. Taking a deep breath, he told himself to suck it up and opened both eyes this time, learning two additional facts.
He was naked and completely uncovered.
And the woman snugged up at his side was rolled up in his comforter like a burrito.
Ms. Romance, Hannah Arden, writes one of the top read relationship advice columns in the nation. Mr. Reality, Brooks North, writes the top read relationship advice column.
Ms. Romance believes in true love and soul mates. Mr. Reality believes love is a term humanity has assigned to the primal instinct to procreate. She believes in fate—he in chance. She knows there’s one right person for everyone—he knows there are multiple ones. The two writers couldn’t be more polarized on relationships. They’re professional rivals, and philosophical antagonists.
For eight years, their battles have been fought with words and ink. That changes when they apply for the same position at the World Times and find themselves face-to-face for the first time. Brooks isn’t the sour-faced, antiquity of a man Hannah pictured. And Hannah isn’t exactly the middle-aged shrew with cat hair on her housedress that Brooks imagined either.
In lieu of competing for the promotion traditional ways, the two writers are presented with playing the leading roles in a social experiment unlike any before. Can a person be tricked into falling in love? Can a relationship be crafted under the right string of circumstances? Hannah knows the answer. So does Brooks.
Agreeing to the terms, the two set out on a three-month dating experiment, live-streamed for the world to watch. All Hannah has to do to win is not fall in love with the narcissistic brute. All Brooks has to do is get the starry-eyed dreamer to fall in love with him. Both are so confident in their philosophies, they expect the challenge to be easy.
With the world watching, Brooks and Hannah will be forced to confront their beliefs and conclude, once and for all, who’s right. The answer is one neither of them saw coming.
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About the Author:
I'm the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the CRASH series (HarperTeen, S&S UK), LOST & FOUND series, UP IN FLAMES (S&S UK), The EDEN TRILOGY, and a handful of others. I write stories about everyday kinds of people who find themselves in extraordinary kinds of situations. I tell love stories with happy endings because I believe in making the world a better place, and that's one tiny way I can make it so. I'm one of those people who still believe in true love and soul mates, and would rather keep my head in the clouds any day over having my feet firmly on the ground.
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You know that beyond excited feeling you get when you finally get to dig in to a favorite author's highly anticipated new release? How about the feeling when it is just as good as you had hoped it would be and all you can do is sit and reflect, with stars in your eyes, just how much you love that author and how truly amazing that book was? What about when said book is actually even better than you could have anticipated and quite possibly some of the author's best work yet? It doesn't happen all that often, but when it does, it gives you a book high like no other as you find yourself flying high and blissed out by the end of the book, both sighing contentedly and mourning over the fact that it's finished, as you contemplate every detail of everything that you loved about the story, the characters, the writing, and the journey that the author took you on. Kudos, Nicole Williams, Dating the Enemy is totally this book for me and I simply could not be more satisfied, more elated, more excited, or more in love with a book if I tried.
First, let me just remind everyone how diverse Nicole Williams is in her body of work. From college football stars to POWs, from heartbreaking angst to full on comedy, from YA to NA, to everything in between , from poverty and addiction to second chance, opposites attract, enemies to lovers romance, there doesn't seem to be a genre she hasn't touched, a storyline too controversial, a relationship she hasn't explored, or an idea that doesn't pan out. That being said, it would be foolish then to even try to compare each of her works to each other. Not to mention that there are so many of these works that make my own personal list of all time favorites. Therefore, I would never go so far as to say that Dating the Enemy is in fact her best work yet, but I can confidently say that it is quite the contender and most definitely one of my favorites, not just of her work, but in general as well.
Dating the Enemy is cute, exceedingly clever, and oh, so witty. It is so much fun; in concept, in humor, and in entertainment value. It is emotional; it will put your poor heart through the wringer, making it pound with an overload of joy, of frustration, of amazement, and anticipation then making it clench in surprise, hope, longing, and even sorrow. Your eyes are next on the assault list as there may just be more times than you can count where you might find it difficult to continue reading from all the water in them from either laughing too hard, from empathy, or even perhaps, heartbreak.
The characters are flawless. In personality? I wouldn't go that far. In action? Not even in the slightest. What they are though, is the perfect representations of big dreams versus harsh reality. The absolute best specimens for this experiment and the most annoying/frustrating, yet endearing, loveable, and redeemable characters that fit just right into this crazy concoction. The ideal opposites that may not always attract, favor one another, or even tolerate each other, but opposites, nonetheless, that simply cannot deny the powerful presence of the other and the compulsive draw that keeps them coming back for more. And the depth of these characters is what really enchanted me. With so many facets to each, there is an almost insatiable need to get to know everything there is to know about them.
The storyline? Pure gold. A genius and intriguing romance reminiscent of fun, heartwarming, and even angsty classics like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Bridget Jones' Diary, and even Romeo and Juliet, to a certain extent. This idea had me hook, line, and sinker from the very first meeting with Mr. Conrad in New York, to the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.
I loved the idea, I loved the characters, I loved the originality, I loved the banter, but I really loved the wit. The amount of highlighting I did of important, funny, memorable, thought-provoking, and moving quotes in this book made my heart soar and my Kindle virtually technicolor in many areas. Paired with the beauty, eloquence, and visceral emotion of that final article, I may have thought I knew just how much I have always loved and enjoyed Nicole Williams' humor, intelligence, and way with words, but it just doesn't seem to get better than with this book.
Dating the Enemy is sweet, fun, clever, highly emotional, and totally unputdownable. Romance versus reality, if you weren't already a romantic, this book will definitely make you a believer, and a diehard fan.
*complimentary copy provided by author for an honest review