Series: Kismet Christmas (Book 4)
In Kismet, Michigan, Christmas is special: big fluffy snowflakes, sleigh bells, carolers singing. It’s a picture-perfect holiday -- you just have to choose who’s in the frame…
Jason Hamilton is on thin ice with the board of his toy company. The young CEO may be a kid at heart, but his party boy reputation requires damage control. So Jason’s off to Kismet to inspect a model store, stay on Santa’s Nice list, and stick to business -- no goofing around. Which is too bad, because the store manager, Danielle Sharpe, is the definition of what makes Naughty fun…
Danielle is thrilled to show off her thriving little toy store -- especially if it’s her ticket out of Kismet. The single mom is tired of manufacturing cheer solo while her ex-husband has all the fun. But if she’d known Jason was this hot, she wouldn’t have offered to host him. With Jason in her house, Danielle is getting warmer than spiked cider. She’s supposed to impress him with her expertise, not daydream about catching him under the mistletoe. Now whatever she does, she can’t get swept up in the magic…
Good story about a man who has a little growing up to do and a woman who needs a little more fun in her life. Jason is the CEO of a toy company that he turned into national chain from its beginnings as a single store. But he really doesn't like the business side of things and tends to take long, party filled vacations. His most recent vacation put him in the center of some really bad publicity, leading his board of directors to give him an ultimatum: Clean up your image or you're out. So he's headed off on a tour of the midwest stores, starting with the one in Kismet. He's supposed to generate good publicity and behave himself, starting with the elderly store manager.
Danielle took over as store manager six months earlier. She's a divorced mother of three, determined to win a promotion that will take her out of Kismet and away from her cheating ex and his new airheaded wife. She has her own methods of making the store work, most of which involve completely ignoring the corporate guidebook. She knows they will get her in a boatload of trouble if they're discovered, but she's confident in her ability to keep the boss distracted.
I loved the first meeting between Danielle and Jason. He spent awhile just wandering the town and getting a feel for it before showing up at the store. It was so much fun to see him jump in and start working the floor like a regular employee. He has great charm and personality and soon has customers eating out of his hand. Even when a group of protesters arrive, he defuses to situation so completely that Danielle isn't quite sure what she just witnessed. When they finally meet and Jason discovers who she is, he's a little bummed. He's really attracted to her, but he shouldn't do anything about it. I really liked how Danielle tries to make Jason see that just apologizing wouldn't be so bad, but he is determined to stand his ground. Danielle thinks she's been promised a promotion if she can bring Jason into line, so she's done some string pulling on her end to make sure Jason is just where she wants him.
I really enjoyed the buildup of their relationship. The chemistry between them is strong and things build up between them thanks to little touches and unexpected emotional connections. It was fun to see Jason have fun with Danielle's two boys, especially since he's almost as big a kid as they are. Her daughter is a harder sell, and she gives Jason a hard time throughout the book. It was sweet to see the way he really wanted them to like him.
There's trouble on the horizon though, as the head of the board of directors is determined to oust Jason from the company and doesn't care how he does it. We see him using Danielle's desire for a promotion to get her to report on Jason's "progress". Danielle feels guilty about the secrets she's keeping from Jason, especially as they grow closer and she realizes that she's falling for him. Meanwhile, Jason discovers that the video he sent to Chip to show him how he's changed has become a social media PR campaign. He's furious, and worried about what she'll say when she finds out. He doesn't want to tell her because he's afraid that it will end the relationship that he's finding increasingly important to him.
I liked Jason a lot. He's a fun loving guy who really has a big heart. He loves his family and is very protective of their privacy. He doesn't publicize how poor they had been and how he got his start in the toy business. I also enjoyed the protectiveness that came out when he saw how her ex was treating her. His pretend relationship with her, to help her shut down her ex's attitude, turned real very fast. It was really sweet to see all the things he did with her and the kids, and the effect it ultimately had on him.
I also like Danielle. She had obviously been the adult in her marriage and it has made things awkward with her ex and his wife. I really understood her frustration with having to be the bad guy with her kids when it came to the things her ex did. Having Jason doing things for her, both big and small, was something so different that she couldn't help but fall for him. I loved the way that showing him around Kismet at Christmas made her realize that she really didn't want to move away after all.
When Chip came to Kismet and started manipulating both Jason and Danielle, the resulting drama was pretty intense. Both Jason and Danielle felt like they had been betrayed, and neither wanted to listen to the other explain what had happened. I enjoyed seeing each of them get life, love and relationships explained to them. I especially loved the appearance of Mr. Moosby himself in Kismet, the reason he was there, and how much he obviously cared about Jason. The solution that they came up with that worked for everyone was fantastic. The Christmas morning scene was sweet and romantic.