A sexy Texan has the holidays to decide: close the deal or open his heart
Royal, Texas, native Nolan Dane's homecoming is bittersweet -- he'd once lost everything here. But he's eager to finalize a key real estate deal for his mysterious boss by Christmas -- even if making it happen means cozying up to local shop owner Raina Patterson. Falling for the beautiful single mom isn't part of the plan. But when Nolan's secrets catch up with him, he realizes his true feelings for Raina run deep. Now, can he prove he's worthy of her -- before it's too late?
Very good book about two people with painful pasts who have a chance at happiness, if they can put that pain behind them. Nolan has returned to Royal to finalize several real estate deals for his secretive boss. He had left years earlier, after the deaths of his son and wife made staying too painful. He plans to finish his work and go back to LA.
There's one property that is resisting the buyout and Nolan goes there to see if he can find out why. In the process, he meets Raina, one of the shop owners. He's immediately attracted to her and thinks nothing of getting closer to her to see what he can find out. But it doesn't take long for Raina and her three year old son JJ to work their way past his walls.
I liked Raina. She has worked hard to get her life back together. but she is wary of men these days. She has proved to herself that her judgment about them hasn't been good. Her ex-husband cleaned out her bank accounts and left her while she was giving birth, but continues to pester her for money on a regular basis. Her antique store is finally beginning to recover from the effects of the previous year's tornado when rumors start circulating that the land could be sold and the tenants evicted. She has much to be worried about, and Nolan's attentions are a pleasant distraction.
I had a little trouble warming up to Nolan at the beginning because of the way he seemed to be planning to use Raina. I couldn't entirely dislike him because he was so wonderful with JJ right from the moment JJ dumped his ice cream on Nolan's suit. It quickly became obvious that he was developing feelings for Raina that conflicted with his job, and that conflict caused him to question what he was doing. I loved seeing what he did about it, though it came too late to keep Raina from finding out.
I ached for Raina and her feelings of betrayal. She had that pain to deal with, as well as the increasingly insistent demands for money from her ex. Her feelings for Nolan had grown quickly, and she was left feeling that she had failed again. Nolan was hurting also, as he knew what had happened was his own fault. I liked the way that he turned his hurt into action, finding a way to protect Raina and JJ. I also liked that he didn't give up, and was finally able to explain what had happened to Raina. The only thing he had left to confront were his memories of the past and telling her about them, which he keeps putting off. I loved that he admitted his feelings to himself, but also knew that it might be too fast for Raina, and had the sensitivity to give her time to think. His big moment at the New Year's Eve party was sweet and romantic.
In this book, the person behind the land purchases is revealed, but his motivations are not. He definitely does not come across as a very nice person, but there are hints that he may be due for some surprises of his own.