One Christmas Eve
Shannon Stacey’s Cedar Street series continues along with this brisk novella, One Christmas Eve.
Now that Zoe Randall’s divorce is over, done and in the can, she’s setting out to enjoy life for herself for once. Back in her home town, she and her cousin Carly have opened a bookstore together, and she seems to have everything she wants out of life. .
But when she and Carly put up a racy Halloween window display to attract customers, it doesn’t sit well with estate planner Preston Wheeler, who’s new to the block and rents the office next door. It’s hard to help people plan for their inevitable demise when you’re being stared in the face by witches in fishnets.
In spite of that inauspicious beginning, Zoe and Preston start to get to know one another. By the time Christmas rolls around, will they be in love, or forever separated?
One Christmas Eve is a perfectly fun little novella with a lot of kick, but running to only ninety-seven pages, it suffers from novella syndrome in that a lot of plot development gets jammed into the short page count and isn’t allowed time to breathe.
Zoe’s kind of an annoying heroine; a little self-centered, a little sharp-tongued, but good hearted. Preston is your average buttoned up dude, just waiting to be loosened up by firecracker Zoe. Their chemistry is warm, comfortable, properly spicy in the novella’s sole sex scene. They’ve both been through lousy relationships in the past and are cautious about commitment, yet cannot resist one another.
But what elevates the book – in spite of its short length – is Stacey’s prodigious writing talents, which anchor the reader into the plot and keep them interested in the romance that’s central to it.
Zoe hates snobby, judgmental types, and buttoned-up Preston seems to fall into that category, but they fall in love thanks to the magic of the holidays – and the reader will fall in love with their romance as well.