Published by Tule Publishing Three Nights before Christmas on October 26th 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format: e-ARC, ebook
Have yourself a steamy little Christmas…
After three years in prison, freight train engineer Lacey Gallagher doesn’t expect this Christmas to be very merry and bright. At least chopping down trees for her brother’s Christmas tree farm will help her save money to get her life back on track. All her plans derail, though, when her new job puts her in territory patrolled by the man who haunts her dreams—the forest ranger who sent her to prison.
Austin Wilder isn’t thrilled about Lacey working in his forest—but he soon realizes he needs her help. His family is depending on him to restore an old steam train for a spectacular Christmas event, and train expert Lacey is his only hope of finishing in time.
Working together challenges every assumption Lacey and Austin have about each other, and they discover a desire hot enough to melt even the deepest Montana snow. But will the season of second chances be enough to mend the most hardened broken heart?
An ex-convict heroine really grabbed my attention when I read the blurb for this festive romance. Then freight train driver really had me going, ‘this I must read’. Three Nights Before Christmas was an enjoyable read with an engaging heroine in Lacey, who had her life ruined by falling in love with the wrong man and being betrayed in the most awful way. But while I enjoyed the characters, setting and premise, I did have an issue with the beginning of the the romance.
I couldn’t understand or see what Lacey saw in Austin for her to fall in love with him in about three weeks time. The novella started with Lacey on her last day in prison before she was released. Not only did Lacey had to deal with the the trauma of being in prison and then being a free person, she had to return home and to her brother, who had warned her about her no-good boyfriend so there were also family tensions for her to contend with back home. Don’t get me wrong—I did enjoy the novella. It was unique and fresh, but the short time frame is what made me not fully believe in Lacey’s attraction and then HEA with Austin. Austin is the police officer who originally arrested her. Why would she have hot dreams, while in prison, about him? It didn’t make sense to me.
What I did love was Lacey and how she had to adapt again to the outside world. I was far more interested in her personal journey. She not only had mental and emotional changes from being in prison, but there was also physical changes which came across as realistic. From family dynamics with her brother, who was super adorable in a lumberjack way, to showing her face in public, my heart broke for Lacey who had lost so much. She was determined to work as hard as she could at the family business. Her spirit was fierce and so vulnerable. I also really liked Austin, who was only doing his job when he arrested Lacey. He then had to deal with what his actions did to Lacey. There is a power dimension in the novella between Lacey and Austin that the author does address. I loved their interactions and their sexy times. I only wished that the build-up of their romance was more believable and the time frame was longer.
Despite my issues, Three Nights Before Christmas made for a super likeable read with a strong premise that will capture your attention. It does have some Christmas heart in the story which was super sweet, especially towards the end. C+