Genre: Romantic Comedy/Novella/Christmas
“A year ago, Annabelle fell in love at first sight with a mysterious stranger. After a week of unforgettable passion, he walked out of her life. A year of heartache, accompanied by the dirty tricks life can serve up, finds Annabelle back in her hometown, determined to forget the man who still haunts her dreams.
Who should walk into her grandmother’s Christmas party? Why the man who seduced her, lied to her, and betrayed her! He has a new name and a new identity, but his effect on her is as old as time.
Rick Lassiter wants to woo Annabelle back to him. Unfortunately, he has two big problems: he can't explain the past and the sweet-tempered, passionate woman he fell in love with has a will as strong as his and a desire to make him pay for breaking her heart.”
“Joan Reeves is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. She began her career with New York traditional publishers. When the Amazon Kindle came along, she happily embraced a new career path as an independent author/publisher.
Joan lives her happily ever after with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State. They have four kids who think they are adults and a ghost dog--all the ingredients for a life full of love and warmed by laughter. She lives the philosophy that is the premise of all of her romance novels: ‘It's never too late to live happily ever after.’"
Last year at a friend’s Christmas party in Houston, Annabelle Cooper thought she had met the love of her life, but then he disappeared without a word. Tired of grieving the lost relationship, she’s decides to move on and never let a man hurt her like that again. Now back home in her grandmother’s house, she has the job she has always wanted since she was a child: managing editor of her grandparent’s newspaper in the Texas panhandle.
During the New Estacado Gazette’s annual Christmas open house, in walks in the man who broke her heart. The mayor introduces him as the town’s new police chief: Rick Lassiter. Not the same name he was using in Houston last year. Annabelle tries to keep her composure and pretends to trip, tossing her champagne in his face, and grinding her four-inch heel into his foot. His gasp of pain is gratifying until he wraps his arms around her, crushing her breasts to his rock-hard chest as he crashes against a wall behind him. Big mistake on Annabelle’s part, because all those feelings from last Christmas come flooding back.
Annabelle quickly devises a plan to get Rick to leave his position and get out of town. It all horribly backfires on her and she falls for him again. The passion between Annabelle and Rick is hot and genuine. All she wants now are answers and he won’t or can’t give them to her. I loved the way the plot moved along. As the town’s residents embrace Rick, Annabelle becomes willing to accept the mystery surrounding Rick as well. The alternating points-of-view helps develop both main characters well. However, Ms. Reeves maintains most of Rick’s mysterious air until the end, which keeps the intrigue level high. When Rick’s past catches up with him, tension rises and all bets are off. Last Christmas is a captivating story I enjoyed all the way through.
I just have one nitpick about a character name, Eddie became Eddy once during the story. Honestly, I see no excuse for that to ever happen. However, Eddie is a minor character brought in to fill out Rick’s backstory and despite this error I am only willing to take away half a star, because I loved the story. Since neither BigAl nor Amazon accepts half stars, I guess we all know that leaves me at a five-star rating.
Added for Reprise Review: This review is from LOVE, CHRISTMAS 1 – Box set of Holiday stories that will put a song in your heart! Original review ran November 21, 2016. **Originally written for "BigAl’s Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy.**
Just one significant issue, which I mentioned in the body of my review. My other issue was small, a sentence with extra words.
Rating: ***** Five Stars
Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin
Approximate word count: 20-25,000 words