From the blurb:
Eddie Rodrigues doesn’t stay in one place long enough to get attached. The only time he broke that rule, things went south fast. Now he’s on the road again, with barely enough cash in his pocket to hop a bus south after his (sort-of-stolen) car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, Midwest, USA.
He’s fine. He’ll manage. Until he watches that girl get hit by a car and left to die.
Local shop owner Grayson Croft isn’t in the habit of doing people any favors. But even a recluse can’t avoid everyone in a town as small as Clear Lake.
And when the cop who played Juliet to your Romeo in the high school play asks you to put up her key witness for the night, you say yes.
Now Gray’s got a grouchy glass artist stomping around his big, empty house, and it turns out that he . . . maybe . . . kind of . . . likes the company.
But Eddie Rodrigues never sticks around.
Unless a Christmas shop owner who hates the season can show an orphan what it means to have family for the holidays.
An angsty hurt/comfort, age-gap story about a drifter and a lonely, older man. While there is holiday cheer, you have to wade though lots of pain to get there.
I haven't read much from Amy Jo Cousins, but this was a lovely effort from her. I'm a huge fan of holiday stories, and the cover and blurb for this one drew me right in. However, this one was more angsty than I was anticipating, not that that is necessarily a bad thing.
I liked how the romance was slow burn, though there was some attraction there from the start. The characters carried a lot of baggage, so the romance had to be slow-burn for me to buy into it. Eddie was skiddish and prickly, unwilling and unable to trust that anyone could or would care for him. He was a tough nut to crack, and sometimes I wanted to shake him a bit. However, I saw how difficult his life had been up until this point, and I was fully rooting for his HEA.
Grayson was a loner, having been burned by a lover in the past. I'm not sure how old he was supposed to be (did it say?), but I'm guessing late 40s. I thought that he was too quiet and too in his head at times, but I liked how he cared for Eddie so patiently and without demeaning him.
The story was tender and emotional, though I could have done without some of the misunderstandings in the story. However, I felt really happy at Grayson and Eddie's HEA and it gave me that little umph of holiday spirit that I was looking for. Plus, now I want to learn how to glass-blow, so there's that.
*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*
Catch ya later!