A country-music star returns home to win back the woman he loves in this charming holiday novella from New York Times bestselling author Shannon Stacey
Ava Wright isn’t happy to see her high school sweetheart rolling into their hometown a few weeks before Christmas. He’s only come back to bury his estranged father, but there’s no way she’ll be able to avoid him. No one can: he’s become a country-music superstar since going solo and leaving Ava behind.
Jace Morrow grew up believing “money can’t buy happiness” was something people said to make themselves feel better. But now he knows it’s the truth: no matter how many number-one hits he has, he’ll never recapture the magic of singing with Ava. Missing her—loving her—and living with making the wrong choice in life were what made him who he is.
When Jace is roped into being part of the town’s annual Christmas party, he only cares about earning Ava’s forgiveness. And though Ava’s heart has never healed, she loved Jace too much and for too long to shut him out when he’s hurting. As they fall in love all over again, they’re both faced with choices for their future…and this time Jace intends to make the right one.
This was such a “real” book. By that I mean the characters felt like they really did exist, and they were so everyday (even with the hero being famous), and acted so normal. I loved that about it. Shannon Stacey has built a solid and well-deserved reputation for writing contemporary romances about everyday people, and she is excellent at it.
I also loved that this was a reunion story – not just my favourite trope, but also one that works really well in shorter books.
I loved the angst in this one. As a talented young musician, the hero was faced with a choice: stay with his long-term, childhood sweetheart girlfriend who had been building dreams of a music career with him, or dump her and get a big recording contract on his own.
He chose to dump her, and went on to become a star. The heroine went home heartbroken, losing not just him, but also all of her dreams. And then she had to hear the song that made her ex famous every time she turned on the radio: it was about her.
There’s some serious grovelling to be done here, and there is a very strong reason why she doesn’t want to get back together with him when he finally returns home years later.
I loved the setup for the story, and I also liked how it was resolved in a shorter word count (30 000 words).
This was a great little reunion romance by an author I rely on to deliver a good read.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.