Series: O'Neill Brothers #3
Format Read: egalley
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: October 28, 2014
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Blurb from goodreads:
This winter, ex-skiing champion, reformed heartbreaker and single dad Tyler O'Neil has only one mission—making sure his daughter, Jess, has the best Christmas ever. The fact that his best friend, Brenna, is also temporarily moving into his chalet at the overbooked Snow Crystal resort is a delicious distraction he's simply going to have to ignore. Theirs is the one relationship he's never ruined, and he's not about to start now.
Ski pro Brenna Daniels knows all about the perils of unrequited love—she's been in love with Tyler for years. But living with him is absolute torture…how can she concentrate on being his friend when he's sleeping in the room next door? Then when Tyler kisses Brenna, suddenly the relationship she's always dreamed of feels so close she could almost touch it. Could this be the Christmas her dreams of a happy-ever-after finally come true?
I actually own the first book in this series but haven't read it yet. Now that I've read this one, I am eager to read the first.
Friends to lovers are a trope I enjoy and when done well, it's wonderful. This was wonderful. I am sure I would have been even more appreciative if I had read the first two books as the build up would have been even longer. But this worked fine as a stand-alone, and I loved getting to know Tyler, Brenna, their families, and their friends. They were all interesting and well developed, even the evil ex, with one exception: I was mightily irritated by the depiction of Elise. Name a stereotype of French women and that's Elise. Her book, I have no desire to read.
Tyler is single, with a teenage daughter Jess, whose mother kicked her out a year ago. Tyler and Jess's mom were never married and he had little contact with Jess before she came to live with him. As if that wasn't enough to deal with, he's a former world champion skier who was seriously injured in a crash. He can still ski but his leg is damaged and not able to ski professionally any more. Now, he works at his family's ski lodge, giving ski lessons and ski tours. He hates it. He lacks the patience to be a good teacher or guide and loathes the fame and groupies that his career has brought him.
Brenna is also an expert skier; she grew up with Tyler and his brothers, and learned to ski with them. She's been Tyler's best friend since they were children and in love with him for nearly that long. She's never had the nerve to put herself out there and Tyler's never given her any reason to think he's interested. Brenna is a mix of confident and insecure, shy and gregarious. She's utterly confident on skis but off them, she's more hesitant. Bullied in school and misunderstood by her family, she has a difficult time standing up for herself. Tyler has helped with that but he urges to be more assertive.
"How much have you drunk?"
"Why? Are you going to lecture me on that, too?"
"No. But I've never heard you speak like this before."
"You're always telling me to be more assertive and speak my mind. This is what I look like when I speak my mind. I can drink what I like, I can work where I want to work, I can have sex with anyone I want to have sex with. I don't need public approval."
You go Brenna! It takes a while for that assertiveness to stick, change is difficult. She and Tyler dance around each other and the tension slowly builds. Tyler has not been as unaware of Brenna as she thinks but instead carefully avoiding her because he doesn't want to risk their friendship. But when she makes the first move, with considerable help from her friends, he can't resist.
Tyler may be new to parenting but he's trying, trying oh so hard, to be a dad. He feels insecure and inadequate about parenting Jess, feelings he's not used to. His interactions with Jess and his feelings about her rang true and were enjoyable, even when they were predictable.
I don't know if this series is done, I assume so since all of the O'Neill brothers have been paired off, but I really hope the police chief Josh gets a story of his own. He was sweet, funny, kind, protective, and loyal. he would make a great leading man.
"Maybe This Christmas" was sweet but not tooth-achey sweet, romantic, and a pleasure to read. It's a feel good romance and captures the Christmas spirit.
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There were some good choices for quotes but I like this one as it shows us a lot about both Tyler and Brenna. Tyler's social skills can be lacking and he's supposed to be attending a business lunch.
She wondered if telling Tyler O'Neil to be himself was asking for trouble, and his next words confirmed she wasn't alone in thinking that.
"That's interesting,because Jackson told me to try hard not to be myself for an hour." His eyes were ocean blue so that even in the depths of an icy winter, it made her think of summer. Looking at him sent warmth rushing across her skin and seeping into her bones. It weakened her limbs and melted her tension.
"I disagree. I think they're interested in the real you."
"Apparently, the real me is a loose cannon." His mouth tilted at the corners. "I'm wild and dangerous."
And she wanted wild and dangerous so badly she could almost taste it.