Title: Holiday Spice
Series: The Shaughnessy Brothers #6
Author: Samantha Chase
Format: Kindle, 384 pages
Published: October 3, 2017 (Sourcebooks Casablanca)
ISBN: ASIN: B01N39EXY9
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 Wine Glasses
Darcy Shaughnessy has gotten used to her overbearing brothers chasing away any man she wants to date. But a chance meeting with a brooding -- and deliciously handsome -- artist is about to make this holiday season one to remember.
There's only one thing Benjamin Tanner loves more than his woodcarving: solitude. Then he gets snowed in with Darcy in his cozy cabin in the woods, and their heated feelings begin to melt the icy barrier between them.
With Ben's need for privacy and Darcy's love of family and social life, will opposites still attract once the snow clears and the holiday festivities come to an end?
He was the perfectly flawed man.
Holiday Spice by Samantha Chase is the sixth installment in the author’s Shaughnessy Brothers series. It can be enjoyed as a standalone even though the series features a family whose members appear throughout the books. It’s a fun, sexy read despite being frustrating at times. This is the long-awaited story of Darcy, the youngest and sole female in the Shaughnessy brood, and Benjamin Tanner, an artist and a loner. She lives in North Carolina. He lives high in the mountains in Washington State.
The story opens with a prologue illustrating a sad memory of Darcy’s when she was six-years-old and had made a heartbreaking Christmas wish for a Mom that Santa didn’t fill. While Darcy was surrounded by her father, brothers, neighbors and friends, she had never known her Mom and the pain of her loss was palpable.
The story then picks up in the present day where Darcy is grown up with no love prospects and looking for a job. Darcy accepts a temporary assignment helping Ben, a friend of her sister-in-law’s, create a book about his one-of-a kind art carvings. Since Ben lost his parents two weeks before Christmas six years ago, he had stopped celebrating the holiday and had essentially become a hermit focusing on his art and raising his two younger brothers. His brothers have since moved on, but not Ben, who still lives reclusively. Prepare for fireworks when the two prickly, set-in-their- ways main characters share a strong chemistry and, at times, over-the-top bullheadedness.
My heart went out to Darcy at her lifelong sense of loss. However, I confess that the heroine’s lack of maturity seemed too much and grated on me. Darcy ran hot and cold with no in-between and, when things got tough, she would take flight. I found it easier to relate to serious Ben who had immersed himself in his work concentrating on putting food on the table for his brothers and then educating them, without the support of other family. On their way to a HEA, there was a lot of emotional pain, angst, tantrums and family meddling. The two were so pigheaded that sometimes I didn’t care for either, but I definitely sympathized with Ben more. That all said, there’s plenty of love and humor in this tale too. I found Ben’s art to be fascinating and Darcy’s talent for organization to be awesome. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the breathtakingly gorgeous, but treacherous, snowy scenery which the author describes so vividly that I felt it as well as saw it in my mind’s eye. The two get snowed in at his home courtesy of Mother Nature and spend some quality time together which fast forwards their connection. Together the two rocked it… if they could just learn to meet half-way.
Following please find a few of my favorite quotes from Holiday Spice:
“Are you telling me there is something better out there than icing in a can? Because I’m finding it hard to believe. That’s been my dirty little secret for years.”
In a move he didn’t see coming, she chuckled and then shifted to straddle him until they were chest to chest. “That’s your dirty little secret?” She shook her head. “We’re going to have to work on that.”
Right now, all he wanted --- almost more than his next breath --- was to have Darcy in his bed.
“I like order and knowing everything has its place.”
“It does have its place. It’s just not there yet.”
This series has been a wonderful immersive experience. While I experienced many exasperating moments of wanting to shake some sense into Ben and Darcy, their story was infused with the magic of the Christmas season with plenty of redeeming shining moments. The ending was perfect and the book served as the quintessential wrap-up for the series. The epilogue was so wonderful that I confess to shedding some happy tears as I literally inhaled it. For fans of the series, Holiday Spice should not to be missed. I would recommend the entire Shaughnessy Brothers series to anyone who enjoys family-oriented romances.
Suggested Reading Order:
Made for Us (Book 1)
Love Walks In (Book 2)
Always My Girl (Book 3)
This Is Our Song (Book 4)
A Sky Full of Stars (Book 5)
Holiday Spice (Book 6)