All hail Queen Tessa for giving us what we didn't know we needed from her: a grumpy/sunshine Christmas romance. I normally am not a holiday romance kind of gal, but this hit the spot & has me craving cookies, snowflakes, and holiday shopping like nobody's business. And the blurb rhymes...I mean, what? Perfection.
Blurb: Two weeks before Christmas and all through Manhattan, shop windows are decorated in red and green satin.
I'm standing alone in front of the famous Vivant department store, when a charming man named Aiden asks my opinion of the décor.
It's a tragedy in tinsel, I say, unable to lie.
He asks for a better idea with a twinkle in his eye.
Did I know he owned the place? No. He put me on the spot.
Now I'm working for that man, trying to ignore that he's hot.
But as a down on her luck girl with a difficult past, I know an opportunity when I see one—and I have to make it last.
I'll put my heart and soul into dressing his holiday windows.
I'll work without stopping. And when we lose the battle with temptation, I'll try and remember I'm just window shopping.
Review: I'm not even sure where to start here. I just loved this book. It was sweet and romantic, it was hot and filthy, it was touching and beautiful. Sigh.
Stella was an out-of-the-box heroine for sure. She's an ex-con, recently released, and trying to find her way back to society. She could not be a more surly, Grinch-like character but, as with the Grinch, you empathize with her. You root for her. I loved learning learning struggles of reintegration after incarceration: her strained relationship with her family, setting boundaries with the best friend who was partially to blame for landing her in prison, the difficulties of finding work & trusting others. Tessa took a delicate subject and went at it in a respectful way which I really appreciated.
Aiden was the bubble-butted, giant, dorky hero we all love to love. He's the Cindy Lou Who of this story & he wears the role so well with his adorable holiday-themed bow ties and love of hot chocolate & over-the-top Christmas decor. He wasn't without his own demons though and it was a relief to see that there was depth and realism to his Nice Guy persona. He needed Stella as much as she needed him.
Now, this is a Tessa Bailey novel so, of course, it's hot as can be. Though I was surprised that it took longer than usual to get to the actual heat (not long long...just Tessa Bailey long). But, my God, it was worth it. So worth it. Turns out Nice Guy Aiden has a smutty, filthy mouth. And gets a bit rough in the sack. Yum. Stella isn't all Miss Innocence either with her wandering finger (Tessa heard we wanted more ass play in our romances and she delivered, y'all).
Window Shopping comes out October 19th (so you don't have to wait for the holiday season to get your holiday romance fix). Pre-order it immediately.