Blogmas 28: Hot Winter Nights – Jill Shalvis

I need to keep my Christmas spirits up until at least this Sunday, when I have the last Christmas party with my family. And since I had some free time on my hands today, I decided to read another Christmas love story, specifically Hot Winter Nights by Jill Shalvis, number 6 in the Heartbreaker Bay series.

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.

So we have a woman who is desperately trying to prove herself and a man who is determined to protect her, from the outside world and himself. Molly works at an investigations form as office manager and mostly does the admin and financial paperwork. But she is eager to become an actual investigator and hates that her boss and her brother are keeping her from it. They are trying to protect her because they think she’s not ready, which is mostly related to a trauma from some years ago.

Lucas is bad-ass ex-military guy and her brother’s best friend. He does work as an investigator and arms specialist at the firm. When Molly stumbles onto a case of a “Bad Santa”, brought to her by a few old ladies, they all realise she will work the case no matter what. So they assign Lucas to tag along and protect her – without Molly’s knowing.

The “Bad Santa” case turns out to be quite the big case, and it doesn’t help that Molly is letting Lucas think they had a wild night of drunken sex that Lucas can’t remember. She likes teasing him and pushing his buttons, having a big crush on him. However Lucas doesn’t want to hurt her because he fears her brother’s reaction, but also, and more importantly, because he feels like he isn’t good enough for her – which stems from some bad relationship he’s had in the past. Yet they can’t seem to keep their hands off each other.

Because of their bagage and backstories, both of them try to fight their feelings and not give in to their sizzling-hot relationship. They do this through quick and witty banter and poking fun at each other. Eventually, dangerous situations make them realise how important they are to each other ad they finally give in to the power of love and the magic of the holiday season.

It’s a longer read, but filled with suspense and some unexpected twists and turns. The side characters add a funny touch and the two main characters fit well together in their witty, loving relationship. A big thumbs up to read this during the holiday season!

Happy reading,

Loes M.

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