My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Annabeth Albert + a Military MC + a festive setting = complete win!
I knew going into this one that I would – more likely than not – end up loving it as it had all the hallmarks of the great formula which has worked so well in Annabeth’s Out of Uniform series (and if you’ve not read that yet, get on it!
This is magic, a lonely Sergeant Major being pushed into retirement after 28 years service, a younger man who lives in the town he grew up in, surrounded by his extended family and a support network but never taking risks.
They meet when Nick is cajoled by his Commanding Officer into taking over the role of Santa that her husband usually plays when he’s invalided out following a heart attack. Nick is not a jolly Santa at all, he’s a serious character whose really only ever known the Army life.
While there is tragedy in his past, it’s not dwelled upon, it’s something he’s pushed deep inside and so Teddy’s open and expressive way of life and the closeness he has with his own family, even though they too have had a similar painful experience, is something he’s not sure how to deal with.
I loved watching Teddy slowly break down all Nick’s walls, not even deliberately, he just is Teddy and Nick slowly realises there might be an alternative to living the remainder of his days alone in a Florida setting he’s only heading for because he promised an old Army buddy he’d invest in his tour business.
Teddy’s not all fluff though, he knows he’s got his own issues and the safety and security of his small hometown where he knows everyone is just one of the things which holds him back. Nick opens up a future he hadn’t thought was possible.
I love me a good Christmas/festive romance and I love me a good military romance, especially with an age gap and complete opposites attract, and Annabeth delivers on all three. Put this one at the top of your reading list, it’ll make a lovely present!
#ARC kindly received from the publishers Carina Press, via NetGalley, in return for an honest and unbiased review