Title: Sleigh Bells in the Snow
Author: Sarah Morgan
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Genre: Romance/Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 31, 2013
Rating: 4 out of 5
Once upon a time, Christmas was Kayla Green’s favorite time of year. Now all the workaholic wants for Christmas is for it to be over—as fast as possible! So when duty calls her to snowy Vermont to close a deal with a new client, Kayla is grateful for an excuse to avoid the holidays for another year.
Jackson O’Neil left a thriving business behind to return home and salvage his family’s resort—it’s in his blood, and he can’t let it fail. Now that he’s got marketing whiz Kayla Green working with him to put Snow Crystal on the map, success is on the horizon. The fact they strike enough sparks off each other to power all the Christmas lights in Vermont is just an added bonus.
Kayla might be an expert at her job, but she’s out of her depth with Jackson—he makes her crave the happy-ever-after she once dreamed of, and it’s terrifying. As the snowflakes continue to swirl, will the woman who doesn’t believe in the magic of Christmas finally fall under its spell?
It’s so hard…to write this…when…I keep…twirling! LOL! THIS is the type of holiday romance you want to read. It gives you the warm and fuzzies while making you wish for a romantic wind blasted snow mobile ride during a Vermont winter. *sigh* Sexy, funny, romantic, and heartwarming all in one book. Well done, Ms. Morgan!
As soon as I saw that I had the opportunity to read Sleigh Bells, I was in! I wanted a Christmas romance and this was exactly what I got. Kayla Green wants the opposite. She HATES Christmas. Frankly, I’m not even sure if she’d want to celebrate Festivus either. She avoids it and family at all costs. It was no surprise when she meets her foil in Jackson O’Neil. Jackson is a family man who has come back to help save the family business; a resort named Snow Crystal. Jackson invites Kayla to stay at Snow Crystal for a week so she can understand the business and he ends up melting her heart.
The interactions between Kayla and Jackson are so…I can’t think of a perfect word. They are romantic and sexy and soul bonding. Jackson forces her to have fun. Every obstacle or excuse she gives, he finds a way to make her love the activity they are doing together. He knows that she needs to let loose and enjoy life. Isn’t that what we all want in a hero? Someone who makes us laugh and who looks really sexy frying bacon?
I hope to go back to Vermont one day and meet a family like the O’Neils. Morgan has beautifully written them; each character having their own life and personality. They are living, breathing individuals with characteristics that you may have witnessed in real life. I was never annoyed when one of them took center stage in the book. Usually while reading romance, we want everything to be about the interactions of the two main characters. In this case, seeing the main characters interact with the supporting crew added to their likability.
Sleigh Bells in the Snow is the first of a three part series with each book focusing on one of the O’Neil sons. We get to meet all three sons, Jackson, Sean, and Tyler, in the first book. Let me tell you, they are all different and I cannot wait to see the other two in their own novels!
Upon turning the last page my immediate response was a *sigh* with a ridiculous grin on my face and a lump in my throat. This story was incredibly sweet with lots of layers that makes me want more. The entire O’Neil clan sucked me in, all cozy-like, and I loved every minute of it and it certainly has added a festive warmth to my chilly New England days ahead.
Kayla and Jackson are a great fit and the bubbling tension between them was the perfect amount needed. Nothing felt over blown or unnecessary and each tidbit revealed came at just the right time. These two are perfectly fitted puzzle pieces but not once did it feel like anything other than a real and sincere relationship. Each of them, strong and weak in their own ways, shows just enough flaws to make them even more endearing without tipping the scale on the unrealistic side. Kayla brings some serious anti-holiday cheer to the table and at first I worried that all that bah humbug gruff would tick me off and keep me from enjoying this wintery journey but it had the opposite effect. Each of her worries and concerns that she wore as defensive layers- that has her taking top honors from Mr. Grinch- was peeled back at the right time with the right amount of attention and reason and it just brought me even closer to understanding her and eventually sympathizing with her. Jackson’s side of things is certainly not perfect but what made him skip the line in my favorite fictional guys was his huge heart and his absolute commitment to his family, even when they drove him nuts. He’s the kind of guy you WANT your daughter to meet, even with all that sexy aura. He was never chauvinistic or over the top even with all that attraction and sexual tension that swirled through the pages. Each time he spoke or thought I always knew it came from the heart and he just solidified his place in my heart and bookshelf.
The part that most surprised me about this story was the cast of secondary characters. Between the family bickers, sarcasm, and dotting hugs I fell in love and it surprised me how quickly that happened. Everyone has a crazy family, some that you would even deny relations to, but the O’Neil family just tops it all. They have elements of love, support, and even irritation but it all comes from the deep place within everyone reserved for those held closest. Now…I will admit that Jackson’s brothers, Sean and Tyler, bring some @.@ “ummhmm” with them but I will leave my thoughts on them until their stories come to light. All I can say is they’ve got me for the long haul as well!
Another aspect of this story that I absolutely fell in love with was the setting in snowy Vermont. From the ski slopes, to the log cabins, to the frozen pond, I never once felt an ounce of chill but I was sure as heck standing right in that middle of all of it right alongside of them. The entire feel of the book and the way this magical world was built has me wanting to plan my own trip for two to Snow Crystal. This is my first holiday themed book and I absolutely adored it. The only problem is, I’ve now got to fight the urge to put up my own tree and light a fire in my fireplace and wait for the snow to start falling. *shakes head* Should’ve read this one a tad later 😉
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About the Author:
USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan writes hot, happy contemporary romance and her trademark humor and sensuality have gained her fans across the globe. Described as ‘a magician with words’ by RT Book Reviews, she has sold over 11 million copies of her books. She has been nominated three years in succession for the prestigious RITA© Award from the Romance Writers of America and won the award twice; in 2012 for her book ‘Doukakis’s Apprentice’ and 2013 for ‘A Night of No Return’. She also won the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award in 2012 and has made numerous appearances in their ‘Top Pick’ slot. As a child Sarah dreamed of being a writer and although she took a few interesting detours along the way, she is now living that dream. Sarah lives near London with her husband and children, and when she isn’t reading or writing she loves being outdoors, preferably on vacation so she can forget the house needs tidying.