Title: All I Want For Christmas Is You
Series: Angel Falls #3
Author: Miranda Liasson
Format: Paperback/eBook, 689 pages
Publication: Oct. 29, 2019 by Forever
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 3 out of 5 Wine Glasses
Being naughty was nice, but now these friends-turned-lovers are in for an unforgettable Christmas...
Just when Kaitlyn Barnes vows to get over her longtime crush on Rafe Langdon, they share a sizzling evening that delivers an epic holiday surprise: Kaitlyn is pregnant. And if that weren't life-changing enough, everyone assumes they're engaged -- a charade they must keep alive through the holiday season. But Kaitlyn knows Rafe better than anyone, and Rafe settling down is about as likely as Santa skipping Angel Falls this year...
Rafe would rather Kaitlyn believe a lie -- that their night together was a fling -- than face his own dangerous truth: he's falling for her, hard. After a devastating loss, Rafe swore he'd never risk his heart again. Yet the longer they pretend to be engaged the more Rafe starts to want the real thing. But now he has to convince Kaitlyn he wants to be by her side -- and their baby's -- for all the Christmases to come.
Kaitlyn has had a long time crush on her friends' brother and when they have one too many drinks at a wedding, Kaitlyn finds out her life is going to drastically change in nine months.
Rafe was engaged young and lost his fiancee and though not a lot of people know, she was pregnant. Every since then he has tried to wall his heart off but Kaitlyn always finds way to sneak past his guard. When a baby and a fake engagement force him into opening up to her more, he begins to realize that maybe loving again is worth the risk.
And oh, she felt the current between them, strong as always, brought on by camaraderie and banter, but sustained by pure, unholy chemistry.
Third in the Angel Falls series, readers have been waiting for Rafe and Kaitlyn to finally get together. In the previous book, we saw them hook-up and All I Want For Christmas Is You starts off with Kaitlyn realizing she is pregnant from that encounter. Previous characters from the first two books in the series make appearances here but mostly stay to the side as Kaitlyn and Rafe work out their issues. Kaitlyn's troubled niece adds some extra stress to Kaitlyn's storyline and I only really liked her addition as a maybe see these character in a future book with her good-looking and nice kid math tutor.
Kaitlyn was like sunshine, offering warmth and sweetness and… hope. The scary part was that she made him wonder, what would it be like to dare to step into that light?
Rafe's issues with opening up to Kaitlyn were understandable but as I didn't get any flashback scenes with him and his previous fiancee and it was so many years ago, I never felt emotionally connected to his heartbreak. This made his reluctance and dragging feet to accept he liked and loved Kaitlyn feel kind of prolonged towards the middle and end. The whole plot of his grandmother faking a heart-attack and their fake engagement felt like going through the motions of a trope, not many funny moments or tension emotions taken out of it.
Kaitlyn and Rafe do have sweet and cute moments together but the vast majority of emotional energy from the two is Kaitlyn thinking how Rafe is acting toward and what he is doing for her is from a sense of obligation for the baby and Rafe stays in his past hurts purgatory for so long, the pace and tone of the story isn't very upbeat.
“Someone should make you feel special every single day.”
I felt like I got to know Kaityln more as a character and the heap of stresses she had on her plate, unplanned pregnancy, troubled niece, and trying to win a cookie recipe contest to help her bakery out had me feeling for her. I would have liked a couple more scenes with her and her friends to see her communicate and have her personality flourish in that way. Rafe didn't shine as brightly for me, he's a fireman but we almost never see him in that capacity or get a feel for him in that way and he has a certain cloud of moping around him. Like I said, these two did have some sweet moments together but I would have liked to have seen more of a definitive growing and marked decision to choose one another; the surprise pregnancy kind of made the decision for Rafe.
The ending added some extra angst that I wasn't sure fit the previous cozy, low-key tone of the story (obligatory firefighter in danger angst) and again helped make the decision for our couple to come together instead of showing a more emotional journey to get there. Except for holiday baking and some family get togethers, the holiday feel could have been stronger and since I'm a big dog lover, I could have stood for more cute puppy scenes. This had some checklist tropes and additives that didn't quite end up jumping out at me but this also had some quiet sweetness.