A Second Chance Road Trip for Christmas
Having read and loved Jackie Lau’s A Match Made for Thanksgiving, the first in her Holidays with the Wongs series, there was no doubt I’d be reading the next in the series. With a title like ‘A Second Chance Road Trip for Christmas‘ it promised to be full of trope-y goodness. In fact, all that’s missing from the title is the reference to the fact that the road trip happens in a blizzard (oh no! Will they be trapped and have to share one bed?); add that and you’d cover all the bases of another delightful, fun and lighthearted seasonal story.
Gregory Wong and his high school girlfriend Tasha Edwards never had a falling out when they broke up. No, it was just a normal, oftentimes series of events – different plans for the future that required different universities, different cities, and the eventual understanding for Greg that he’d be holding Tasha back if he didn’t let her go. Several years later they’ve run into each other a few times at mutual friends’ places with their families, both being in the small town of Mosquito Bay, but had never spent any significant time together. And that’s a good thing, because the memories of all the good times together are better off buried in the past.
Now, Greg’s plans for a peaceful drive home listening to his favorite radio station have been upended by a request from his mother. Tasha, who now – like him – lives in Toronto, has a broken down car and needs a lift back home for Christmas. And Greg’s mom has volunteered him for the job. With no hard feelings between them, Greg figures he and Tasha can manage a few hours together, no matter how awkward it might be. But when they encounter a snowstorm on the way that forces them to stay overnight at a motel, with limited space and a single bed room, things take a decidedly heated turn. Will it make for a nice memory or spur them to consider something more?
This is a short and sweet novella, with great sexy bits and a couple who fit together well. They are opposites in temperament – Greg is organized, disciplined and quiet and Tasha is spontaneous and exuberant, and those traits haven’t changed since high school. But for Tasha, Greg’s thoughtful and deliberate side was always one of her favorite things about him and makes for many of her best memories. For Greg, Tasha’s wide smile and outgoing personality were what attracted him to her and that hasn’t changed. They are both older and wiser, but at their cores, the same people they originally fell in love with. It takes them a little bit to get over that initial awkwardness when they start driving in the car together but then they are able to reminisce about the past and catch up on where their lives are now.
Getting stuck in a one bed motel room without heat while waiting out a blizzard gives them the excuse to be physically close to each other and one thing leads to another. Sex was never a problem for them, seeing as they first were intimate while teenagers and the love/lust hormones were in full swing. They’ve had other relationships and one night stands in the interim, but it’s never been like those first heady days of sexual experiences. But Tasha is wary; she attempted a reunion with one ex and it didn’t work out, so she has no intentions of trying that again. Still, she can’t say she wouldn’t be tempted, if Greg would give her any indication of being interested.
There are no mysteries in this novella, no sudden revelations or black moments. The setup is clear, the end easy to see. Because the story takes place over two days it’s quick to reach a happy every after, perhaps a little too quick, which is what stopped me from awarding it DIK status. I can see how Greg and Tasha would start dating again, but the author jumps right to the ‘I love yous’ which is too quick given they’ve been apart for so long. But they both feel that the time spent apart has shown them what they were missing and don’t want to waste any more time.
Like the first story in the series, Greg’s family is ever present. I think it’s hilarious that Greg’s mom and Ah-Ma have been reading romance novels and figuring out ways to match-make for the kids. Greg knows his mom is trying to get him to reconsider a relationship with Tasha when she asks him to drive her home for Christmas (though she denies it) and of course, for the romance reader the second chance storyline is a favorite trope. The fact that the author is so blunt about the tropes she is using is what makes it fun. Any reader looking for something low-angst to read over the holidays should definitely consider adding this series to their shelf.
Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo