Author: T.A. Moore
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Mm Holiday
Summary: Ever since ghostwriter Jason Burke ended up in loco parentis for his orphaned niece, Mallory, he’s been trying. He goes to parent/teacher events, and he makes packed lunches, so he definitely didn’t mean to forget about Christmas. He just hasn’t celebrated it since he left home under a cloud years ago.
Put on the spot, Jason makes the snap decision to take Mallory to see where he and her father spent their Christmases as kids. The last thing he expects is to run into Tommy, his ex—ex-best friend, ex-boyfriend—who is still living in town… and working as a sheriff’s deputy.
It’s hard to avoid someone in a small town—and maybe Jason doesn’t want to. He got Mallory a Christmas, and maybe now it’s time to get himself a Christmas boyfriend. But first, he owes Tommy some explanations.
Review: The death of his big brother, Ben, has left Jason with his young niece and while he’s trying, he’s missing things. Like, Christmas. He’s so used to just hooking up to celebrate that he doesn’t remember until nearly too late (and someone else has to remind him) that a young girl needs Christmas. Particularly a grieving young girl.
So he makes up a road trip to do something Christmas for her, back to the hometown of both he and his brother (her daddy). Except getting there finds him with a house that isn’t inhabitable and a broken car and coming face to face with his first love, Tom, who he left without a word years ago and who is now a police officer. “The old grudge was as resilient as a rubber band. Tom ground it between his teeth until it finally gave up the ghost.” I had total sympathy for Tom because whether being left behind was for a good reason or not, he was left blind about it.
Mallory decides she likes Tom and this is where she’s spending her holiday. So the two men are sort of forced to spend time together and go through actions of the past and try to maybe build a future. I did feel the end was too much, too fast. I also wish the ghostwriting had played a more prominent role.
I’m not sure what it was about this holiday book but something was off for me. Perhaps it was that Mallory, who was supposed to be just a preteen, often came across as much older. It could also be that I didn’t really connect with Jason. We get the story of why he left his hometown but I felt like to never have reached out again didn’t seem the act of a friend, let alone a love. Hopeless romantics may, however, enjoy this one more than I did.