I have a confession to make. I’m behind on Jill Shalvis’ Lucky Harbor books. SERIOUSLY behind. I think there are 5 or 6 of them I need to read. Did that stop me from reading this Christmas story with a Marriage in Jeopardy plot? OF COURSE NOT.

In Merry Christmas, Baby we go back to one of the three original sisters: Chloe. She’s 8 months pregnant and her husband Sawyer is heading out of town for a job for the DEA. As someone who lives with asthma, although nowhere near as debilitating as Chloe’s, she was always the one I connected to the most, and I enjoyed revisiting her and Sawyer to see how they’re dealing with her pregnancy and all the hormones that go with.

While Sawyer is physically gone throughout most of this story, his presence is very much felt, both with Chloe dealing with her insecurities regarding her marriage and being a mom, and with how she’s been acting lately because of those same things. When Sawyer does return, he’s very Sawyer. Strong, steady, and Chloe’s rock. The one who will be there for her forever. Or as he keeps telling her always.

At 65 pages this was a VERY quick read, but Ms. Shalvis delivers. Not only does it not seem rushed, but this book feels slow in the very best way. It’s the kind of slow that comes when you’re preparing for a new adventure, but need to take a few moments to stop and think about where you are and how you got there.

In this crazy holiday season, it was lovely to sit and take a break and enjoy Chloe and Sawyer and a glimpse into the lives of those in Lucky Harbor.

Lynda the Guppy
aka Merry Christmas, Fishy
aka The Fish With Sticks

I love sports romances. I love holiday romances. I love Jaci Burton books. That makes this book a trifecta of Guppy happiness.

This was a quick read, which is a requirement of all my holiday reads. I don’t have a lot of time from Halloween until New Year’s Day, so they’ve got to be fast. I have 4 holidays, 4 birthdays, numerous holiday events, and a lot of holiday knitting to do. My holiday stories must be quick, entertaining, and emotionally satisfying, and this one fit the bill.

“Trick” had a casual thing (don’t call it a relationship!) with Stella previously. Because of their jobs (she’s a dancer on Broadway, he’s a hockey player), they drifted apart. They meet again in a bar after one of his games, and they remember how much they enjoyed being together. They both like each other a lot, and respect each other’s career requirements. There’s no jealousy because she’s at rehearsals until all hours. She’s not freaking out because he’s out of town with the team. This book is all about two people trying to make it work with all the outside demands on them. These are also two people who have commitment issues, especially Stella, so it was nice to watch her take a chance on Trick.

This was a nice addition to my Holiday Novella collection. I’ll be spending a lot of time with this one through the years.

I have been looking forward to Where There’s a Will since last year. Our hero Coe is best friends to Lucy from Starting from Scratch. As much as I loved Lucy and Sullivan (and that’s a LOT), I totally fell for Coe. He was protective and funny and supportive and sarcastic and my favorite type of hero. I was a bit nervous for his book because I worried I built my expectations too high. 

I had nothing to worry about. While Where There’s A Will doesn’t have the soul crushing angst of Starting from Scratch, it’s just as wonderful. Coe’s ex-girlfriend from oh so many years ago has returned to town. He always thought she stole something from him, and he is NOT happy to see her. She wants to see him even less, but she has 60 days to right that old wrong which Coe soon finds out had a devastating effect on her life.

If I thought I had loved Coe before I started this book, it’s nothing compared to how I loved him after. While he’s understandably upset at Miranda, after all these years he’s grown up quite a bit, so he really takes a more honest look back at what happened all those years ago. This time around Miranda is more up front with him about things, and he really listens to her.

Miranda comes with a LOT of emotional baggage. So much it’s a wonder she can even stand underneath all that weight. Lucky for her, Coe sees it and, more importantly, sees what it’s doing to her. He talks to her about it and tries to help her do what she needs to in order for them to move forward.

I loved how Coe is with her. I loved how he really will do ANYTHING for her. He would even let her walk away from him if he thought it was the best thing for her. He loves her and has no problems showing her how much, even if he doesn’t understand what it is he’s feeling. Miranda, for her part, really gets Coe. She knows what he’s telling her, even without the words. Watching Coe learn how to love was unbearably sweet, and Miranda was the perfect heroine for him.

Oh, and don’t forget to stop by Stacy Gail’s website after the release date (November 17) for a Deleted Chapter. It’s worth it. Trust me. *evil grin*

So just like Starting From Scratch, I give Where There’s a Will…

Rating: 5 Stars

Lynda the Guppy
aka The More Angst The Merrier Guppy
aka The Fish With Sticks

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