As this is the first, please let me explain. I LOVE Holidays. Holidays of all kinds, big or small. I especially love the Christmas Holidays and last year due to circumstances beyond my control, my family and I kinda got gypped.
Nobody gets gypped this year!
I wanted to share some of my overflowing Holiday joy with you, my readers. So starting this week and running until January 6th, EVERY WEDNESDAY I will post a new Holiday book I've read and reviewed to help y'all get just a little extra Christmas Spirit. You don't celebrate Christmas? That's okay. They are not all Christmas books. Some are full of Winter Wonder thus we are calling this event WINTER WONDER WEDNESDAYS, okay? So grab some of my virtual hot cocoa and cookies and marshmallows then sit back and see what book I have for you today!
A Bad Boy For Christmas
(Second Chance #3)
by Jessica Lemmon
Release Date: September 29, 2015
Length: 416 pages
Genre: Contemporary Christmas Romance
...'Tis the Season to Be Naughty ...
Connor McClain knows what he wants. And after four harrowing years in Afghanistan, that's a quiet life in the lakeside town of Evergreen Cove. But coming home has land mines of its own-the most dangerous of them being long-legged bombshell Faith Garrett. Now getting her into his arms this holiday is going to require more than mistletoe . . .
With a cheating ex behind her, all Faith wants is a relaxing holiday free from man drama. And even though every moment with gorgeous Connor is a sweet temptation, Faith is determined not to give in. But Jack Frost has other plans, and soon Faith and Connor are snowbound in a winter wonderland with only the sparks flying between them to keep them warm. As one hot kiss leads to another, they'll have to decide if they're ready to give each other the best gift of all-love.
"Everything I love in a romance."
--- Lori Foster, 2014
Glitter everywhere. Lining the seams of the car’s seats, sprinkled liberally across the floorboards, and at this point, probably a part of Faith Garrett’s DNA.
She had spent the day gluing pink glitter onto the surface of one hundred pumpkins in various shapes and sizes for a Breast Cancer Awareness dinner. The woman in charge of said dinner had oohed and ahhed over the dinner’s bedazzled centerpieces, going as far to throw her arms around Faith’s neck and sing the praises of Make It an Event. As well she should. Faith and Sofie had busted their butts to pull together the last-minute dinner, which was why Faith had taken a sudden interest in arts and crafts. There wasn’t time to hire out the task.
With the heel of her pump, she kicked off the shop vac and blew out a sigh. This was not working. Maybe she could use tape. She ran the back of her hand over her forehead, feeling a dab of perspiration there. The crisp October weather she loved had yet to make an appearance in Evergreen Cove. Instead, the temperature was in the high seventies, and there was not a prayer of a breeze blowing through the colored leaves still clinging to the trees lining the mansion’s drive.
She leaned back into the car, snagged her fountain Coke from the cup holder, and took a long, delicious, sugar-laden sip. While she stood basking in the noonday sun, she admired her home away from home. The quartz blocks twinkled and the gold turrets stood regally against a blue sky filled with puffy white clouds.
The mansion looked more like a fairy-tale castle than a house, but then it was the host to Sofie’s fairy-tale romance, so that was not an inaccurate description. Since Sofe had closed the doors on her business downtown, Faith was lucky enough to get to spend her workdays here, planning events in the library-turned-office, drinking coffee in the gorgeous kitchen, or helping set up the massive ballroom for the occasional fundraiser.
Maybe it was her way of having a slice of fairy-tale life for herself. Because face it, after the epic mess with Michael last year, a fairy tale was clearly not in the cards for her. Had she listened to her mother about “the curse” (legend had it the women on the Shelby side of the family “couldn’t marry”), maybe Faith could have saved herself the heartache.
Then again, maybe not.
The last thing she needed, the very last thing she wanted, was a relationship. Been there, done that, cleaned the toilet with Michael’s T-shirt. No, what she wanted more than anything was not a man. What she wanted—what she needed—was to find her independence. She wasn’t going to rely on a man any longer. She was moving on. Her life had taken a turn, but not for the worst. For the better. She’d see to that.
In the meantime, she was content to be happy for her friends. Sofie and Donovan seemed to have found their happily-ever-afters, and Evan and Charlotte had found theirs. Freed of her fiancé and, finally, freed from living with her mother for way too long, Faith was on a different path altogether. The path to find her inner strength.
Had to be in there somewhere.
She strode toward the front door, past thick, neatly trimmed hedges, flowering mums, and decorative rocks interspersed in between. The saplings out front stood strong and tall, accepting their new homes in the dirt like they’d been there from the start.
The beauty of the grounds never failed to amaze her. As someone who couldn’t grow a plant if her life depended on it, the fact that one man and Mother Nature were responsible for this blew her away. The door opened, and she turned her head expecting Sofie to come strolling out, cell phone to her ear.
Instead, Connor McClain walked her way, and Faith’s tongue promptly welded to the roof of her mouth. Broad shoulders molded by a long-sleeved henley, wide frame in perfect proportion, thick legs pressing against worn, soft-looking denim…The only other thing that amazed her more than the grounds was the way this man’s muscular thighs filled out a pair of well-worn jeans.
He moved with purpose, not quite a stride but more of an amble. All those large upper-body muscles—perfectly outlined by his fitted shirt—moved fluidly, which was unexpected. A guy with that much girth should be a little less graceful.
He might be easier to write off if he was only made up of the physical attributes, but no such luck. The guy was ex-military, worked tirelessly for his friends, and had a flirty sense of humor that almost threatened to break down the barrier she’d so firmly erected since Michael had raided the Cookie jar…so to speak.
Her hand went to her hair as Connor brought that amble over to her. Since she was very tall, five-ten to be exact, she guessed him around six-one. She couldn’t be sure, unless she was within kissing distance of his incredible mouth, which he’d stopped just shy of. But kissing that incredible mouth wasn’t going to get her any closer to her independence. So she shouldn’t consider it. Not even for a second, she reminded herself as he grinned at her. Her heart thrummed.
Around his penetrating grin, Connor spoke the words, “Afternoon, Cupcake.”
She was sort of known for her sugar addiction. After a recent stressful workday, he had caught her devouring a bakery box full of Sugar Hi cupcakes. It wasn’t her proudest moment. But showing weakness had its perks, because he’d ribbed her good-naturedly ever since. She recalled lamenting to Charlie some time ago (who Evan referred to as “Ace”) that she’d never had a nickname. Now she did.
Truth was, she liked it way too much to ask him to stop.
“Good afternoon to you, Beefcake.”
His smile didn’t budge, proving he liked her nickname for him, too. And maybe that’s all this was for both of them. A few teasing nicknames and prolonged glances. It was better than nothing. His eyes left hers, narrowing and traveling her face. Self-consciously, she smoothed the hand over her forehead where she felt her hair tickling her skin.
He stepped closer, until her vision was filled with broad muscle and golden-flecked hazel eyes. One rugged, working-man’s hand, so different from any hand that had ever touched her, raised and brushed her hair away from her eyes. Then he dragged his fingertips over her forehead. She tried to keep her eyes on his, but for a scant second they went to his mouth again. Firm lips. Stubbled jaw.
“Maybe I should start calling you Sprinkles instead?” He held his hand up for her to see. Pink glitter dotted his fingers.
It took her a second to reroute her thoughts. Him touching her had sent her brain on a one-way vacation to Neptune. She traded the Coke from one hand to the other, scrubbing her hand along her skirt, which she noticed was already covered in glitter as well.
A low chuckle echoed from Connor’s throat.
“Laugh it up,” she said, but did a pretty good job of laughing with him. “Now it’s stuck on you, too.”
“Damn.” He backed out of her personal space and spread his palm. Thick fingers, blunt nails. A callous here and there. Even his hands were insanely attractive. “How am I going to explain looking like I had a run-in with a stripper when I go on my date tonight?”
She felt her face blanch as her blood raced from her cheeks to her toes. Connor had a…a date? She tried to reel her emotions in, but the effort was too little, too late. No doubt he’d seen the abject disappointment flit across her face.
Misplaced. Misplaced disappointment. She reminded herself she did not need or want a man. It didn’t matter if he was going on a date. Connor was ridiculously attractive. And insanely, ridiculously attractive men with great senses of humor went on dates. But she also silently acknowledged that she preferred not to think about who he dated. Or what they did on those dates…
She forced a smile. Even though she’d justified everything to death, it took a lot of effort to get the words, “Ohh, a date. Have fun!” past her lying lips.
“I plan on it.” His eyes jerked to one side, a strained silence settling between them. “I should get started so I can get out of here on time.” He lifted a tool belt full of garden trowels and other implements for digging in the dirt.
“Yeah. I have to get back in there.” She showed him her pink-glittered palm. “Try and clean myself up.”
His grin returned and she had to remind her knees to stay strong. Her entire body seemed to forget it was one cohesive unit whenever he was around. One by one, parts of her turned to jelly. Kneecaps oozed, her spine melted, and the part between her legs…Well, she just wasn’t going to think about that part.
Being alone was best. She had spent three years believing she was half a unified whole and had spent three seconds learning otherwise. No. Regardless of the way the landscaper’s pectorals tested the strength of the henley he wore, Faith was an independent woman. Hear her roar. Or meow.
She might be able to rustle up a hearty purr.
“Have a good day,” she told him, finalizing her decision to stop ogling him and get back to work. De-glittering herself was at the top of her to-do list.
“You got it, gorgeous.” He stepped past her, not sending another look over his shoulder, not giving her a flirtatious wink, not saying another word. Just a brief interaction before he walked to the far side of the house and vanished around the corner.
What her friends Charlie and Sofie had was fine, and Faith was happy for them, but it wasn’t something she wanted personally. A relationship with a man from the Cove was not in her future. No man from anywhere was in her foreseeable future.
Things were better this way.
I love the Holidays and Holiday books make it seem just that much more fun. So when I had the chance to read Jessica's newest edition of her Bad Boy series, I was a happy camper. Faith and Connor made the perfect couple for this book. Connor having recently returned from a 4 year tour of duty in Afghanistan made for a timely and relatable story for many. He'd come home knowing that life is for the living and can be over far too soon. Settling down and starting a family was high on his priority list. Faith was having a string of bad days. She caught her ex cheating, had to move home with her Mom and quit her job, kind of all in one fell swoop. It took a lot of wind out of her independence sails but she was trying to right that ship. When they meet and fall for each other, it skews their priorities a little, giving them the usual relationship things to work out if you want it to last. They have no trouble in the bedroom department and between that and their banter back and forth, they will keep you easily entertained.
Jessica has a knack for knowing how much time needs to pass for a relationship to thrive and she gives Faith and Connor's more than just the Christmas Holidays to make it work. Have to admit I loved them being snowbound. *grin* Love these characters and found them so relatable as were their emotions and situations. I was talking to them the whole time - cheering them on, telling them when they were being stupid and yelling, "Yes, Yes, Yes!" at a certain perfect moment in time. Bring your Kleenex because you'll probably need them and if you haven't read Jessica's other Bad Boy books, you, like me will be looking for the next one as soon as you close the book on A Bad Boy For Christmas. 5 Stars!
Rating: 5 Stars - A Must Read
Heat: 3/5 - Blush Worthy
I received this book in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. No further compensation was received.
Meet Author Jessica Lemmon:
A former job-hopper, Jessica Lemmon resides in Ohio with her husband and rescue dog. She holds a degree in graphic design currently gathering dust in an impressive frame. When she’s not writing super-sexy heroes, she can be found cooking, drawing, drinking coffee (okay, wine), and eating potato chips. She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want.
Jessica is a social media junkie who loves to hear from readers.
You can also find her here: