Christmas at the Corral by Debra St John

christmas
Christmas at the Corral by Debra St John
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (66 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

Maggie Pearson has no time in her busy life for love, but an immediate attraction draws her to a mysterious stranger at The Corral, a local bar. However, any romantic feelings are ruthlessly squashed when he accuses her of having an affair with his brother.

As a divorce lawyer, Van Rawlings has seen the ugly side of marriage too many times to believe in love. But having gotten off on the wrong foot with Maggie, and genuinely contrite over his faux pas, he offers to help her with an upcoming Christmas charity dinner. The more time they spend together, the more he realizes he’s never met anyone like Maggie, who gives so generously of her time.

Can Maggie and the magic of the season help Van believe again? In Christmas and in love.

“What are you wearing ‘Jake from State Farm’?” “Uh, Khakis.” “She sounds hideous!” One of my favorite commercials on TV and illustrates that only hearing one side of a conversation can lead a person to jump to some outrageous conclusions. Either that or Van Rawlings has the worst pickup line in the history of the bar scene.

I can tell a lot about how well I’m going to enjoy a story from it’s opening paragraphs. This one drew me in pretty quick because I knew going in that Van’s assumption was totally off base. I wanted to see if Maggie would be the type to be stubborn and hold a grudge or smart and seize the opportunity. Her personality won me over quickly.

One of the things that made this a fun read is the flirty dialogue. After they get past the initial misunderstanding, Maggie and Van’s story really began to heat up with some palpable tension, the good kind. The chemistry has to be there for a story of this length to work and the author didn’t shy away from making them completely aware of their reactions to each other. It was like little zings of electricity. Very nice! And then she brought the heat. Really nice!

The second thing that kept me vested in this story was the conflict that came after the first one. Van is a divorce lawyer living in Dallas with zero interest in marriage. This seemed like a lot to overcome in a short time but it’s Christmas in our story and miracles do happen.

I loved how the author ultimately resolves Maggie and Van’s story, especially how Van grows from jaded divorce lawyer to someone who sees the good in others. I’ll just say the ending with “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” was way better than the way it opened with a State Farm commercial.

This is a holiday themed book but I would suggest reading it anytime. I was also tickled to see that there are three other books in the series, including Zach and Jessica’s story that made this one possible. This author is going on my auto-read list.

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