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Simply Sixteen Challenge (The Whittler) – Novellas
Hidden Attraction by Crystal Jordan:
The heroine was a veterinarian who mainly cared for retired circus animals. She’d broken up with the commitment-phobic hero six months before the start of the story. The hero felt he did not deserve her and had let her go, believing she was leaving him for another man. The truth came to light when she showed up on his doorstep during a severe storm. The story was too short, but I liked the hero finally buying a clue. Even though I purchased the story for the circus animal angle, since that part of the plot was given the short shift as well, I wish the page time had been spent on the relationship. The hero’s turnabout attitude could have seemed rushed, but the author did a good job of showing it had started with their breakup. So it didn’t read as out of the blue. This was a prequel novella, with a lot of sequel bait characters mentioned. Thankfully they did not actually appear or the novella would have seemed even shorter. Overall I enjoyed it, I just wanted more.

A Kiss from Kringle by Rhian Cahill: This novella also had a super rushed timeline, but the romance did not work as well. Mainly because the h/h had just met. For the hero it was love-at-first-sight and he had no problem telling the heroine so. They spent most of the next day and half together. The heroine didn’t know what to make of the hero’s seemingly outrageous attitude. Much of the story was told from his POV, so the reader knew he was serious. But the line between sweet, romantic gestures and creepy stalker vibes seemed too fine of one. He claimed not to want to pressure the heroine, but it felt like he did. Not so much about sex, but the whole I-want-to-marry-you-and-have-kids thing. If the plot had been spread about over more time it would have worked better for me. I realize novellas have a limited page count, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t tell a complete story. Overall I enjoyed the sweet beginning more than the latter half. I wasn’t 100% sold on the HFN much less a HEA. But I did like both characters. I’m looking forward to the next story in this series.

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