Friday, December 12, 2014

ARC Review: Ring in the Holidays

Ring in the Holidays (Hunk for the Holidays #2)

by Katie Lane


Psychologist Ellie Simpson is about to get a healthy dose of sex therapy. Leaving her cheating boyfriend behind, she has everything she needs for a quick rebound: Vegas, plenty of champagne, and a proposition from the sexiest man she's ever seen. As her handsome stranger helps her ring in the New Year-over and over again-Ellie finds herself blissfully losing all of her inhibitions.
Attorney Matthew McPherson is good at making women lose things, like their minds and underwear. With his athletic build and soulful eyes, he doesn't need to use his powers of persuasion or famous last name to get a woman into bed. But when morning comes, Matthew finds Ellie is the only woman he can't bear to leave-ever. It's enough to make him wonder if what happens in Vegas really has to stay there.

Themes: contemporary, holiday
Rating: 4.25 stars
Heat Rating: 
The Holiday season has officially arrived with the return of the McPherson clan and their holiday and relationship angst fueling this romantic, sweet and surprisingly sad, at times, story.  While I find I prefer seasonal stories to be short and sexy, leaning more towards the erotic side of romance, this full-length novel by Katie Lane is definitely an exception to that, as was the first one in the "series" that I read last season starring Matt's sister Cassie.  This story revolves around two individuals with very definite ideas on the opposite sex and the facts and myths of love, but they soon realize that all the past mistakes and hurts are nothing compared to the rightness you can feel when you meet your true mate.  There were even several small side plots in the story that are a nice reminder that even people that have been together forever can find themselves at loose ends and in need of reminding that love is not just the most important part of a relationship, truly the reason to have a relationship.  Lane shows us that love is the true reason for the season and letting love in is the only way to live life.   Really can't wait for next year to see if Patrick gets his very own holiday love. 
Ellie's relationship was shattered when she discovered her long time fiancée has been cheating on her for years and it calls in to question all her personal and professional beliefs about love and relationships. Which for a therapist whose practice revolves around those two things is a not inconsiderable issue.  When a handsome stranger lures her into a night of passion, her life changes forever, but when faced with the truth in the daylight she runs for it, no matter how much she wishes things were different.  Matt has spent the past year obsessing about the mysterious and passionate woman that rocked his world on New Year’s Eve, but when a series of coincidences puts her directly in his path again, he will force her to admit that the passion between them was more than a fluke.  Ellie is determined to keep Matt away, as much as he turns her inside out and makes her wish that she could believe in the strength and safety he makes her feel.   When she begins spending more time with him, safely in the friends' zone, she begins to think that maybe he's different and is the kind of person she can truly believe in.  When the passion becomes undeniable and explodes with one passionate embrace, these two friends becomes lovers again and soon realize that their friendship with benefits is much deeper than either of them might be prepared for.  In the end the question comes down to whether Ellie can let her past go to allow Matt to love her?
Ring in the Holidays was just the type of story that makes the romance genre great.  These two people are both badly damaged, but the love they find together is one that will last, even with misunderstandings, fears, and insecurities sometimes getting in the way, as evidenced by the minor plot arcs with Matt's loved ones.  Matt has never met a woman like Ellie and though she is obviously passionate, she hides it behind her intellect and tries to fit everyone into a mold, but Matt will not be categorized.  His strength and sweetness run right alongside his fierceness and passion, making him a truly dynamic character and a perfect match for Ellie.  Ellie obviously has some serious issues, ones that will not be repaired overnight, but her wit and intelligence finally kick in and she learns the ultimate lesson, you cannot judge one man by the actions of others.  When Ellie finally allows herself to love Matt and believe that, they have a chance she is quick to repair her mistakes and find a way to show Matt that she is willing to work for their future.  Matt's feelings for Ellie truly seem to slap him across the face in an ah-ha moment that was funny, sweet, and heartwarming.  The passion between Ellie and Matt from the very first moment they meet was palpable and even with a long cooling off period, the minute they are back together the sparks fly again and maybe even more intensely.  Lane is the one author I’ve read that can take a holiday story, which of course usually revolves around the same holiday themes, just updated, and turn the story on its ear; Ring in the Holidays truly is a unique and surprisingly sweet Holiday Romance, that instead revolves around the relationship of two people that are learning the ultimate reason for the season is love. Please, Katie, write Patrick's story ASAP so that we are ready to find out just which woman will grab his heart next year. 

*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

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