Crystal Coast Christmas by Sierra Brave

Crystal Coast Christmas by Sierra Brave
Publisher: Loose ID
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday (Christmas)
Length: Short length (72 pages)
Other: M/F, Anal Play, Toys, Spanking
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

After escaping a bad relationship and moving into her aunt’s guest quarters, marine biologist Jessica Butler has sworn off love and relationships. Still, she can’t resist a night of no-strings passion with hunky soldier, Captain Chase Culpepper. Their evening sizzles, leaving Jessica satisfied but wary. Her ex did a great job of destroying her self-confidence, leaving Jessica reluctant to take the plunge into romance again. While Chase is asleep, Jessica runs.

Chase can’t believe he’s found his sexual equal in Jessica. When he wakes up alone the next morning, he’s determined to make Jessica his, in spite of her reluctance to put her heart on the line.
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Jessica’s sworn off men for good, but the faster she runs, the more Chase finds to love about her. What will it take for him to win her trust and her love?

Jessica is not in the Christmas spirit. Alone after her now-ex cheated with a woman Jessica considered a friend, she just can’t find it in herself to get into the holidays this year. Chase loved Crystal Coast and was enjoying his usual morning jog when he literally bumped into Jessica. They got off on the wrong foot but Chase is pleased when he has the chance later to make it up to her.

This is a light and fun Christmassy story. Jessica has been pretty badly burned by her ex and carries that baggage around for a fair bit of the start of this story. I felt this made the book drag a little and personally would have preferred if she’d had a bit more time (off-screen) to come to terms with the betrayal. While this did admittedly add a good dose of conflict into the story, I just didn’t like how Jessica wasn’t really open to Chase emotionally in the beginning, and how she kept on expecting him to turn into a jerk.

Despite this – Jessica was more than happy to jump into bed with him, which I found weird since she clearly didn’t trust him and I wasn’t even convinced at their first intimacy that she even liked him. It felt a bit too much to me like rebound sex. Jessica was thrilled that Chase paid her attention and was flirting with her, and since he was handsome she decided to have sex with him and didn’t expect it to go anywhere. While it struck me as realistic, it certainly wasn’t romantic and I felt pretty bad that Jessica had been so messed up emotionally by her ex. Considering Jessica’s poor opinion of most men and her running away before Chase woke up the next morning a small part of me was hoping Chase would go off and find some other girl who could love and appreciate him.

While I never really warmed to Jessica’s character after such a difficult beginning, I was extremely relieved how as the story progresses Jessica manages to stop acting silly enough for me to want her out of the story. When her ex keeps on trying to drag her down Chase works overtime to build up her self-confidence and finally Jessica realizes that not every man in the universe is a jerk like her ex and so she starts to become more emotionally and romantically available for Chase. I found the jump from here into sex-hungry kinky woman a bit of a stretch, but have to admit I did love the steaminess of the sex scenes between Jessica and Chase and certainly felt that their emotional and romantic connection improved a huge amount. There’s some very light spanking and a few toys, a little bit of anal play and the last quarter of the book just flew for me in a very happy manner. I do feel it was worth sticking through to reach this far happier space.

This is an emotional story with a fair bit of baggage, about Jessica finding her way again after being seriously burned. While the heroine annoyed me a fair bit I found the ending of the story to be rewarding. With a smoking hot hero who is perfection in almost every way this was a decent read with some steamy sex scenes that helped me keep turning the pages.

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