Title: Do Not Open ‘Til Christmas
Series: Evergreen Lane #3
Author: Sierra Donovan
Format: Kindle, 320 pages
Published: September 26, 2017 (Zebra)
ISBN: ASIN: B01N2ZOBD5
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 4 out of 5 Wine Glasses
What happens when a Scrooge-like boss and a determined young woman have to work together during the holidays? A Christmas of surprises . . .
Bret Radner once dreamed of being a hard-hitting journalist, exposing corruption and writing Pulitzer-winning pieces. But heart-tugging circumstances kept him at the Tall Pine Gazette, where small town life, new neighbors, and human interest stories are the news. In charge for the entire holiday season, Bret is determined to run the newsroom right. Yet with a too-pretty rookie reporter to train, he finds himself challenged on just about everything . . .
A waitress at the Pine 'n' Dine restaurant, freelance reporter Chloe Davenport finally gets her big chance to work full-time for the Gazette. But proving herself to her handsome boss won't be easy. He turns down all her holiday-themed stories and, in fact, doesn't seem to like Christmas at all. Yet the closer Chloe works with Bret, the more she realizes that his tough exterior conceals a hidden hurt . . . and a heart she wants to fill with glad tidings of great joy--for many seasons to come . . .
“What, Rudolph wasn’t available?”
Do Not Open ‘Til Christmas is a lovely, slow-building, small-town holiday romance. Even though it’s the third book in the author’s Evergreen Lane series, and there are interconnected characters, it works well as a standalone read, if that is your preference. Evergreen Lane is the major thoroughfare in the picturesque, off-the-beaten-path town of Tall Pine situated about two hours from Los Angeles amongst snow-capped mountains. This is the story of Bret Radner, an experienced ace reporter, and Chloe Davenport, a rookie reporter. They both work at the town’s sole newspaper, the Tall Pine Gazette. This story made me hungry for some really good hot chocolate… so I’d advise having some on hand before you begin.
As the story opens, Bret is temporarily taking on the job as editor during the busy Christmas season while his boss is out of town. With Bret filling the editor’s position, the department is short a reporter. A female freelancer has been hired to fill the slot and Bret will have the responsibility of training her.
Chloe is excited to leave her waitressing job to put her college degree to good use working full-time at the Tall Pine Gazette. However, her new boss is an attractive nerdy Scrooge: no-nonsense, tough, critical and demanding. Bret requires that she provide a minimum of ten stories a week, but when Chloe proposes any stories related to Christmas, Bret shoots down her ideas. When Chloe decks her desk for the holidays, Bret calls her desk a “distraction”. But, Chloe is absolutely determined. Can these two survive the season working together?
Bret and Chloe are both likeable and genuine, but they are complete opposites when it comes to Christmas. Chloe embraces the season and Bret just needs to live through it. They are each secretly attracted to the other but neither will mix business with pleasure. Then, Bret makes one mistake that may cost him everything...
Following please find a few of my favorite quotes from Do Not Open ‘Til Christmas:
The moment was almost gone and it would never be here again, so before it was over, before he could stop himself, before Chloe could get her keys in the door, he wheeled around, pulled her into his arms, and kissed her.
He felt lightheaded, almost dizzy, as he deepened the kiss, his fingers curling lightly around the tendrils of her hair. His other arm encircled her waist, pressing her closer, and for a moment he went for broke, kissing her with everything he had.
And now that he knew he wasn’t going to get his face slapped, he slowed down to take his time and do it right. The outside world simply ceased to exist. There was only Chloe, warm in his embrace, as her lips responded to his.
Her fingertips dug into his shoulders as she pressed closer. Then her lips parted to his, and there was no mistaking the passion in her response.
Wild and sweet…
His eyes were closed, but in his mind’s eye he saw the lights of the giant tree, and he knew he’d found a Christmas memory worth keeping.
A while back, I read the first book in this series and thoroughly enjoyed Mandy’s story. I don’t know how I missed the second book in the series, but I plan to rectify that omission soon! While this series does not have to be read in order, I have never forgotten Mandy’s memory of Santa Claus from the first book and, that enchanting memory was re-inserted into this story making me hold my breath until the grand reveal. Again, if you are a newbie to the series, no worries, as the author fills in everything you need to know.
The author addresses some serious subjects in a thoughtful manner within: hospice, end-of-life decisions, and returning disabled vets. I appreciate the considerate way she focuses attention on these important issues without detracting from the entertainment of the story.
Do Not Open ‘Til Christmas is a delightful, well-written romance teeming with the magic of the season. The epilogue is absolutely wonderful. I’ve already read it multiple times. If you are searching for a sweet, heart-warming romance to help you catch the Christmas spirit, I’d encourage you to check out Sierra Donovan’s Evergreen Lane series.
Suggested Reading Order:
Do You Believe in Santa (Book #1)
We Need a Little Christmas (Book #2)
Do Not Open ‘Til Christmas (Book #3)