Once Upon A Romance

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Holiday Affair by Lisa Plumley


Cover art: Holiday Affair Reviewer: Robyn Roberts
Title: Holiday Affair
Author: Lisa Plumley
Publisher: Zebra
ISBN-13: 978-1-4201-0569-8
Release Date: October 2010
Genre/Sub-genre: Contemporary Romance
Year/Setting: Present day, San Diego CA and Kismet MI
Overall Rating: 4.5
Sexual Content Rating: Sensual
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None
Violent Content Rating: None
Lisa's Website: www.lisaplumley.com

Karina Barrett is a struggling divorcee who is trying to balance children and their activities, work and life post-divorce. Especially since her ex-husband has taken up with a college co-ed and started looking and acting like he’s a teenager all over again. Karina is having trouble mustering up holiday cheer, but she wants this first Christmas since the divorce to be perfect in every way. With bills piling higher and the discovery of all the Christmas decorations taken by the ex, what’s a girl to do? When Karina’s sister begs her to help with an evaluation of a property in Michigan called The Christmas House, her first impulse is to say no. When she realizes it’s an all expense paid trip for the whole family to a place that celebrates Christmas to the highest degree, she decides to do the evaluation.

Across the globe, Reid Sullivan gets a disturbing call to his remote location in the Outback. He is an explorer and adventurer who travels the globe with his two daughters and their nanny/tutor. After his divorce, he has taken his girls to all sorts of countries and remote lands and they have learned more than any child could dream of learning. However, when they receive a call that their grandparents need them to come home ASAP, Reid hits the ground running. He manages to get the girls, the nanny and himself from the Outback of Australia to The Christmas House while worrying the whole time about what major illness has befallen his parents.

Upon arrival at The Christmas House, he learns the emergency is due to the desire of his grandparents to sell The Christmas House. They have purchased a big spread in Arizona and want Reid to work the holiday season and make sure the sale goes through. There’s a mystery inspector coming to evaluate the place and Reid needs to ensure the season goes off perfectly in order to clinch the sale.

When Karina arrives with her kids and the other travelers staying for Christmas, she is stunned by the warm reception she gets from the gorgeous man who welcomes her. He is HOT and has the things she’s been fantasizing about with him. Will she be able to pull off a holiday fling?

When Karina discovers her sexy hunk is the acting owner of the B&B, she decides the fling is off. She needs to keep a professional distance in order to do her job and evaluate the property. As minor mishaps keep happening around the property, she tries to determine how much she should (or should not) report. She becomes so entwined in the lives of the staff that she wants to make all of them happy. And will she be able to keep Reid happy? Only time will tell. She’s not sure he will find her so sexy when he discovers she is the mystery auditor.

Will Reid be able to accept her when he discovers her little lies—done to protect the anonymity of the evaluation? Will either of them be able to move on? Can they find common ground…after all, how does a suburban soccer mom from California compete for the attention of a globetrotting adventurer?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish. The first couple chapters took me a bit to understand what was going on and get the rhythm of the story. From there on out, it was a fun frolic through the snow to the mistletoe. Karina and Reid sure prove the fact that opposites attract. In almost every way they are different. They parent differently, live life differently and have differing philosophies. When they get together behind closed doors, those differences melt away to primitive needs. While it’s not graphic, the love scenes are hot. The story has a lot of humor mixed in and I got quite a few chuckles out of the words and actions of the characters.

I loved Reid and Karina from the start and felt conflicted on whom to root for. I didn’t want Reid to fail his grandparents, but I didn’t want Karina to lose her sister’s job. It was so cute to watch each of them dance around the issues they were having without fully disclosing to the other. Seeing both sides at the same time was a riot. And the ending—wow—I can’t tell you without giving things away, but trust me—you’ll love the ending!!

What a fun book in time for the holidays. I suggest a mug of hot chocolate, your favorite cookies, a blanket and a warm fire while reading this story. It’s a wonderful addition to your Christmas reading list.


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