Married for Christmas by Noelle Adams

*Note: So, I have a thing for reading holiday themed stories.  The thing is, I generally lag behind by a month or so.  So, here I review a great story set at… Christmas.  Enjoy! ~Anne
18801516
Grade: A-
Hotness Level: Blaze
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary, Marriage of Convenience
Series: Willow Park #1
Published: 12/1/13
Reviewed by Anne
140 ebook pages

Jessica and her best friend Daniel agree to a friendly marriage.  Jessica has had a long time crush on Daniel (unbeknownst to him) and is pretty reserved socially and is despairing of finding someone to start a family with.  Daniel is a pastor who is being considered for the job to lead their small town church, but his unmarried state is a bit of a drawback for the church considering him.  Jessica talks Daniel into this marriage between friends.

So, I was really intrigued by a non-inspy book that featured people for whom religion was a large part of their life – a pastor!  I was lucky enough to get a copy from NetGalley and fired it up on my iPad one night at 11:30.  I was immediately hooked, and very emotionally involved in this book!  I was near tears – and HATE to cry while reading – but I loved it.  So I stayed up until 1:30am finishing the book, despite the fact that I’d be home alone with my four children the next day!  And I don’t regret it!

The thing that had me near tears was watching Jessica truly love Daniel.  He loved her back, but it was more of a friendship love, and he seemed to be working hard to keep a boundary between them.  Then they’d have a moment where they truly seemed close, and he’d pull back and distance himself again.  Even though the story is told solely from Jessica’s point of view, it seemed clear that he was developing feelings for her.  It wasn’t too clear why he was sabotaging those feelings, though!  It was especially painful because his unintentional hurts seemed to pile right on top of some insecurities she was holding onto.

As a character, Daniel was very interesting.  Jessica was almost too perfect.  She was shy and not good at cooking, but, really, who cares?  She was emotionally perfect and a bit of a martyr.  It was believable to me because they were trying to apply logic to a very emotional situation, so I’ll give her a pass on being an emotional Mary Sue.

There was a drawback to the single point of view of the book, and that was that some revelations about Daniel’s character caught me off guard when I read them.  I really did feel like there was much alluding to them.

Despite these drawbacks, the story really worked for me.  And as the cherry on top of this emo romance, there was really well written explicit sex!  What?  Religious people who have on page sex?  I loved it!  I recommend this book and I’ll be watching for more in this series!  (I’m rooting for a book about Daniel’s brother, Micah!)
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