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Thursday, November 10, 2011

On the First Night of Christmas… by Heidi Rice

On the First Night of Christmas… by Heidi Rice
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Full Length (250 Pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Foxglove

It was a wild and wonderful ride to Heidi Rice’s first Mills & Boon novel and she’s still going strong! She has been a RITA finalist and topped the Waldenbooks Series Romance Bestseller list twice in a row in February 2009. Heidi’s been a film buff since her early teens and a romance junkie almost as long. She indulged her first love by being a film reviewer for the last ten years. Heidi lives in London and often visits America with her friends.

Sometimes, Christmas wishes can come true, in the most unusual way.

Cassidy Fitzgerald makes her yearly visit to gaze at the Christmas window at Selfridges, wishing her love life could be as perfect as the display. Nine months before, she broke off her engagement when she arrived home to find her fiancée on the couch with another woman, in a very intimate position.

Cassie is not looking forward to spending the holiday alone, for the first time in a long time. Just as she turns to head home, an inconsiderate driver splashes her and she has had enough. No more taking what life dishes out, she jumps into the stranger’s car and gives him a piece of her mind for his actions. But she is stunned to see that the man driving is her grade school crush Jason Ryan-Jace the Ace! He offers to get her coat cleaned, and the new Cassie decides to take a walk on the wild side for a holiday fling with Jace. She’ll be fine, as long as she can keep her heart out of the equation, right? Can Cassie stay detached and just have ten days with Jace, knowing there’s no future? Or can she show Jace love doesn’t have to be painful?

Heidi Rice has written a sweetly sexy romance, with broken dreams and new love, all wrapped in a big holiday package. The characters here are well defined, people you feel like you already know. The idealistic romantic and the successful but bitter former bad boy, meeting again after fourteen years. This is the real world of holiday London, and it is clear Ms. Rice knows her location very well, and has included the reader in the unfolding events.

Cassidy ‘Cassie’ Fitzgerald is determined to change. She is tired of being treated like a doormat by the men she chooses, and decides to have a holiday fling. With the encouragement of her friend Nessa, she embarks on her search for a ‘candy man’ but never expected to run into her old teenage crush. Jace still sends tingle to all the right places, and she decides to explore this new side of herself, aiming for a no strings attached one-night stand. She didn’t expect her heart to become involved.

Jason ‘Jace the Ace’ Ryan is in town for one reason: to sell the online business he owns with his ex-wife, so he can finally get her out of his life. The last thing on his mind is a hook up with any woman, until Cassie literally jumps into his rented car to yell at him for his thoughtlessness. Jace was the sexy bad boy back in school, and he is still handsome, sexy and reckless, but even better equipped to handle life. He is attracted to Cassie, and convinced he can have a holiday fling without either of them ending up hurt.

This is a fast paced romance, and things heat up quickly between Cassie and Jace. When Cassie disappears after their night together, Jace tracks her down to convince her to spend the holiday with him. The story heats up here, and there are some wonderfully sensuous scenes between them. I loved watching the progress of the relationship, as Cassie keeps trying not to fall, and Jace convinces himself he isn’t falling either. The typical holiday activities take on a delightful turn, as Cassie takes Jace shopping, and to a get-together of friends for Christmas. There were some very tearful moments, as well, where I worried for the happy ever after of these two, but I was delighted to see finally happened between them. I recommend this one to be read with a box of tissues at hand.