Christmas with the Best Man by Susan Carlisle

Christmas with the Best Man by Susan Carlisle
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Full length (255 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

A kiss, a fling…a wedding ring?

Dr. Helena Tate still believes in love, despite her past heartbreak, and that one day she’ll have a baby of her own. Her gorgeous but brooding colleague Dr. Elijah Davenport, however, is not the man to pin her hopes on. He’s no longer interested in long-term relationships.

But being maid of honor and best man at a wedding in snow-covered Central Park heightens their attraction. Soon their Christmas fling becomes so much more! Can Helena tame Manhattan Mercy’s playboy—so they both get the love they deserve?

The first paragraph filled me with hope for an ER-style drama-filled love story and it was an immediate hook. “Dr. Helena Tate knew what a madhouse the ER could be during and after a major nor’easter but to experience it first hand was always a draining experience.” I think I’ve watched too many episodes of Code Black and Chicago Med. My expectations were set too high in regards to the emergencies I was expecting to read about. I was expecting some major car accident pile up on the snow covered highway with multiple injuries arriving in the ER all at once. There were three emergencies. One was kind of funny, one was a bit more tense like I had expected and one was heartwarming. All the incidences were relevant in demonstrating to the reader characteristics in each the hero and heroine, making them relatable.

Helena is the heroine and Elijah is the hero. As the author states, “they each have a dark past to overcome. Love isn’t an easy thing for them.” I loved how, despite Helena’s past, she still believes in love and dreams of having that happy ever after with her dream match. Helena’s dark past was much more believable than Elijah’s dark past. However that could be because I grew up with a family more like Helena’s than Elijah’s. I can’t imagine keeping the secret like the one Elijah did. Of course I can’t keep secrets to save my life. I don’t know what I would have done if I was in Elijah’s shoes. The author did a nice job justifying Elijah’s decisions and feelings to the point where I was able to go with it.

Despite their past heartbreaks, the question in my mind was “will they overcome their fears and give love a chance?” I’m happy to say that this story was written very well and never did I feel like banging my head as the couple worked towards their happily ever after. The book flowed nicely and retained my interest from beginning to end. It would have been nice to have a more developed cast of characters for the reader to bond with besides the hero and heroine, but there are honorable mentions for some of them. It also would have been nice to have an epilogue that would have shared with me how things turned out for Marcy and her baby, Olivia. As far as side characters go, the main ones were the most developed and relative to Helena’s character. I would have enjoyed a conclusion where Elijah made peace and reached closure with his parents. Mostly it would have been nice to have a more solid ending with Elijah and Helena five years down the road, perhaps sitting around a Christmas feast at his parents.

The Christmas season was nicely incorporated throughout the story and was a splendid touch to the romance budding between Elijah and Helena. I enjoyed the day they spent in New York doing Christmas related activities. I could feel the Christmas magic.

Overall this was an enjoyable book to pass away a few hours. The love and chemistry between Elijah and Helena was emotionally heartwarming. I would recommend this book despite all the things I wish were different.

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