Sunday, November 30, 2014


Sometimes I open up a book and smile a happy smile when I see its a novella. Sometimes you just need a quick read. And that is what this book was for me -- a quick reprieve from the lengthy novels I'd be completely submerging myself in.

That and it was a Christmas novella, and tis the season and all that jazz.

The Kidnapped Christmas Bride by Jane Porter

Publisher: Tule Publishing Group  (11/25/2014)
Series: Taming the Sheenans, book 3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: NetGalley
Buy it for your Kindle || Goodreads

My Rating: ★★★★★

All he wants is a Christmas memory...

Trey Sheenan has cultivated his reputation as Marietta’s resident bad boy, until one day he lets things go too far and he loses everything---his freedom, his fiance McKenna Douglas, and his infant son.

McKenna has loved Trey since they were kids, but she’s had enough. When Trey is sent away for five years, McKenna is determined to do what’s right for her and baby TJ, which means putting her mistakes—namely Trey—behind her, and move on.

When Trey is released early, he returns to Marietta determined to beg McKenna’s forgiveness and become the father TJ needs him to be, only to discover that he’s too late. McKenna’s marrying local insurance agent Lawrence Joplin in a candlelight Christmas wedding. 

Or is she?

Once again, Trey risks everything, but this time it’s for love....and the memory of one perfect Christmas together as a family.
- - -

This was one of my favorite Christmas novellas this year. Yes, it was quick (aren't they all?) -- but again, like I stated in JUST IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS in the SOUTHERN BORN reviews, because of the history, it made the quickness ok. Well, more than ok in the case of this book.

Trey was incarcerated. And as much as everyone has labeled him the 'bad boy' -- it's not like he was thrown in jail for a terrible crime. Yes, what he did undoubtedly would have repercussions, but it wasn't like his actions weren't just.

McKenna and Trey had been dating on and off for years, and finally were on a good 'on' stretch. They were engaged to be married, they had a baby... all really was looking up for them before the incident.  And even after he was put in jail, McKenna stood by his side.

But slowly, as opinions weighed in on her, she realized visiting him in jail wasn't what she wanted for herself, nor was what she wanted for TJ, their son, so slowly the visits dwindled to nothing.

Neither did she respond to his letters.

Trey wasn't a fool. He knew she was letting go.

So when he gets out early on good behavior, he wants to find his family -- even if McKenna doesn't consider them family anymore, she and TJ will always be his family. But then his brother drops the ultimate bomb on him --

She's getting married.

McKenna is marrying a man that she doesn't necessarily love, but he can provide for her and be a good father figure for TJ -- he's a good citizen, a good man... nothing like Trey. Quite the opposite.

However even she isn't dense enough to notice that her son doesn't like him (as much as a five year old can rebel, any way), and her fiance is hardly tolerable as him. Regardless, this is what she wants.

And when Trey shows up at the wedding, simply to talk, he says... well, she puts up a pretty good fit but allows him to talk to her.
"Daddy!" TJ's voice rose higher. "Wait! Wait for me!"
Trey had just put the keys in the ignition but now he froze, shoulders hunching.
Wait for me.
But that was all Trey had done, the past four years. Wait, and wait, and wait.
The pain roared through him, hot, blistering. This was hell... pure hell...
And then suddenly TJ was there, climbing into the truck, his arms wrapping around Trey's neck.
"Don't go," TJ begged, voice trembling, "not without me."
Prison was bad, Trey though, heart on fire, but this was so much worse.
This... there were no words for this... 
...and then he 'kidnaps' her and TJ, shortly after which he realizes will put him back in jail, but he doesn't care -- he wants one good Christmas memory of him and his family.
He'd thought he'd finally grown up. He'd thought he'd changed. He was wrong.
He was still stupid and impulsive, and what he was doing now, heading north on 89 with TJ and McKenna, was illegal. McKenna was right. This was kidnapping. He'd only been out of jail one day and he'd already broken the conditions of his parole. 
"...It’s not a question of if I’m going back to prison, it’s just a matter of when. So, since I’m going back behind bars for another couple of years, I want a Christmas to remember. A Christmas when we were almost a happy family.”
“I understand you don’t love me. I won’t ask you to love me. But I will ask you to let me be my son’s dad for a few days. That’s all I want.”
She looked at him for a long minute, taking in his hard beautiful profile, a profile that glowed in the light of the dash.
He was bad.... he was trouble... and yet whenever she’d needed him, he’d been there. When she’d been terrified of the dark, scared of the bad buys, scared that she’d be attacked and murdered, he’d held her and protected her, vowing to keep her safe. 
This story moves throughout the week following the kidnapping, through both Trey and McKenna realizing their own shortcomings in their relationship. McKenna realizes no one could ever be TJ's father better than Trey (not that she was going to replace Trey, just wanted a positive role model) -- Trey, for all his wrongs, really is a decent man. He just goes about his good ways in unconventional manners.

One of my favorite scenes (and if you have read my reviews, you know I like these types of scenes) was the 'fight' scene, approximately 80% through the book (joyous Kindle app, without page numbers). I love a good fight scene, and raised voices, and pointing out what one person sees as flaws, but the other finds admirable...

"...You're not this great guy. You're not selfless and you're not altruistic and your love is demanding and fierce and you do want me. You still want me, you bastard, and don't ever say you don't!"
Ok, so that's not really the best chunk of her argument, but I can't very well just give you the end of the book, can I?

In the end, if you're looking for a quick read, and cute Christmas novella while the weather is cold and maybe it's snowing by you... maybe you've got your tree up and the fire going..

This is definitely one you should read. 

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