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Monday, December 22, 2008

A Cinderella Christmas

A Cinderella Christmas by Stacy Dawn
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary; Holiday (Christmas)
Length: Short
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Hibiscus

Her mother's ridiculous idea to gift her with 'a man' for Christmas is driving Angie Bellini insane! Every bachelor and his brother in Noelle is asking her to save them a dance at the upcoming wedding of Santa Claus Holloran's daughter. What's a girl to do to keep her sanity and thwart a scheming mother? Date the one man in town her mother despises, of course.

Wes O'Connor doesn't like the plan Angie has coerced him into for two reasons: 1) He's still paying for the last time those big brown eyes made him do something stupid and 2) He doesn't want to 'pretend' to date the beautiful baker, he wants the fairytale to turn into a real happily-ever-after. Their ending may not be so happy, though, when they discover they aren't the only players in their little game of make-believe.

I enjoyed this delightful story set in the little town of Noelle. Who wouldn't? It is the personification of small town life. Not only does the story have a baker, a milkman, a diner and a farm but it also has Santa Claus and his daughter's wedding.

I enjoyed the character of Angie Bellini. She was the perfect daughter, helping out her mother in the family bakery her whole life. But her mother begins to drive her crazy when she gifts Angie with “a man” for Christmas. I could see how much Angie cared for her mother in the way she handled the men who kept asking her for a dance. It was cute when Angie decided to use reverse psychology to have her mother stop with her gift. Angie was beginning to fall for Wes from the moment she set eyes on him. Her struggle to accept their pretend relationship as something more was a treat to watch. I loved how she fussed over Wes when he was hurt even assuring that she saved the cookies for him. Then, my heart went in my throat when Wes overheard Angie setting her mother straight at the wedding.

Wes O'Connor is a perfect ten in my book. Tall, blue eyes, black hair and muscles that go on for miles. He works on his dad's dairy farm and is a partner in the business. From the moment that Wes backed into the bakery, I could tell that he still cared for Angie. Unfortunately, the purple hair incident had a way of keeping him far way from Mrs. Bellini and thus Angie. When Angie asked for help, he jumped at the chance to be near her even calling her Cinderella for the amount of dancing she'll be doing at the ball. It was cute how he explained about showing off in his senior year at school.

I enjoyed the minor characters without whom the story could not have happened. Quirky Vita Bellini with her backward English had me in stitches at times as she spoke. Bitty has fantastic one liners that played perfectly into the scenes. And who doesn't love Santa Claus. From the reindeer games to the wedding, things heat up and take several unexpected turns.

I felt warm and fuzzy as I read this story of reverse psychology gone every which way it could. A sweet story to warm up a winter day.