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cover98234-mediumHoliday with a Twist

by Shannon Stacey

New York Times bestselling author Shannon Stacey celebrates the season in this brand-new holiday novella

After a messy breakup, Leigh Holloway is ready to start her life over. Until her parents put the family home on the market and call her back for one final, memory-making Christmas. The last thing she wants to do is deprive her mom of the perfect holiday, so she’ll lie her way through the visit and worry about her future in the New Year. Too bad the only bar in town is owned by a guy she seriously wronged in high school.

Leigh’s best friend broke Croy Dawson’s heart, and Croy knows it was Leigh’s fault. They’ve never liked each other, but Croy isn’t cruel: he’d never turn away a pretty woman in need of some family-Christmas fortification. He doesn’t expect her to drink just enough candy-cane martinis to tell him her secrets—and he definitely doesn’t expect to get caught up in her holiday madness.

Despite the surprising love and laughter, Croy and Leigh can’t escape the truth: he can’t walk away from his family obligations and she has a life and career to reboot. But anything is possible if your holiday comes with a twist…

This book is approximately 30,000 words

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As part of my review process I usually just take a quick look to see what other people say about a book.  And I was a little surprised on this one.  I saw some complaints about a couple of things that just didn’t bother me – first is the length and second is Leigh’s lie.

There is a note in my copy that states that the book will end about the 80% mark.  I guess some people judge how the story is going by how far into it they are?  Kinda makes sense.  If you look down and see you are at 75% but it seems to be wrapping up you might wonder what is going to happen to keep it going.  For me, though, I just want a story that is complete and doesn’t seem rushed, especially in a novella, which this one does very well.  I understand both Croy & Leigh, where they are coming from and where they are going and the way they get there.  I really fell for both of them and how they get to know each other again, falling in love but being too scared to speak up about what they want.  It is handled very realistically and flows well, even with the shorter length of a novella.

The second issue seemed to be why Leigh keeps her single & unemployed state from her family.  But, for me, she explains it very well and it works in the story.  While we may not make the same choice, it is understandable why she does it.  As they start to fall for each other her silence may not be something Croy likes but he also understands.  And it isn’t the big make or break thing that it could be – there is no big drama over cheating or him trying to make a play for a taken woman.  Instead, since it is just between them, it adds a certain bit intimacy to their growing feelings and a kind of compression on the time it takes them to fall in love.  In some short stories the length of pages can cause you to feel like the romance itself is rushed and not believable but here – with the confidentiality and the way they spend time together, added to the fact that they used to be close friends – it doesn’t feel hurried at all.

All around, Holiday with a Twist is a sweet addition to your holiday season reading.