A Wedding for Christmas
A Wedding for Christmas is the latest instalment in Ms. Wilde’s popular Twilight, Texas series. This book tells the tale of Katie Cheek and Ryder Southerland, both natives of the small town who have known each other all their lives. For Katie, there’s been an element of torture to their friendship as she’s loved Ryder for years. But Ryder has never thought of Katie as anything other than his best friend’s little sister. One Christmas they unexpectedly meet away from Twilight and chemistry trumps logic, leading to a night of passion neither of them anticipated. Fast forward a year and they’re both back there having to face the memories of that night. Can Ryder choose hope and trust after a lifetime of broken relationships? Can they find their happily ever after in the person both of them least expected?
Katie is slowly but surely getting her personal organizer business off the ground. As someone who has always valued order, she finds great pleasure in helping others make sense of their chaos. One of her popular mantras is that no one needs a junk drawer, everyone simply needs a system. On a whim and as a break, she and a friend swap houses one Christmas. Said friend lives in LA, and so Katie adopts her life for a night, ending up at a fancy party in a fancy dress.
The last person she expected to see in probably the entire world was her brother’s childhood best friend, Ryder Southerland. Living in LA, working as a personal bodyguard for celebrities, Ryder hightailed it out of Twilight as soon as he could and has never looked back. When they bump into each other, literally, at the party, one thing leads to another and pretty soon they’re having the best sex of their lives.
Katie disappears without a trace after that, heading back to Twilight and expecting to never see Ryder again. Imagine her surprise when, a year later, in response to his father’s recent bout of ill health, Ryder shows up in Twilight.
After a bit of initial panic, Katie decides she can get through it. After all, it’s not just his father’s health that has brought Ryder back, it’s her brother’s wedding. They’re both in the bridal party, sure, and that’s stressful and awkward, but Ryder’s clearly going to leave again right after the wedding, so why start something that’s only going to end again?
To complicate matters further, Ryder’s dad is in need of Katie’s professional services. His recently deceased wife – Ryder’s stepmother – was a hoarder and following his illness, Ryder’s father cannot return to his house without it having a serious cleaning. Katie gets hired to sort out precious treasures from calcified garbage and is shocked when Ryder begins to help as well. The longing they’ve both felt for each other since that night the year previous simply cannot be ignored through all the time they spend together.
The rest of the story deals with how the past is not really the past because it’s still happening, and how family members can damage each other even with the best intentions not to. Ryder has to decide if he can make a home in a place where he once felt rejected and Katie has to decide if she can live with life being a little messier than she prefers. As one client reminds her, everyone does, in fact, need a junk drawer.
With the exception of a plot-twist towards the end of the book that felt a touch unnecessary and hamfisted for my personal taste, I really enjoyed this book. I loved reading about Christmas traditions in the small town and parts of it just felt magical. I sighed happily at the conclusion, confident that Ryder and Katie were, in fact, going to live happily ever after.
We’re getting into the season where people are starting to think about gift ideas for the holidays. If you’ve got someone on your list who likes Christmas romances, this would be a good one to pick up. The various relationships all reach resolution – Ryder with his father, Katie and Ryder with each other, Katie with herself – in ways that feel complete but not trite. Christmas trappings feature but do not overwhelm, and the romance is believable.
Additionally, if you’re looking for a sweet, yet sexy, read about love at Christmastime for yourself, A Wedding for Christmas would do perfectly,