Thursday, February 14, 2013

Holly Lane by Toni Blake

Toni Blake’s Destiny series is the perfect blend of contemporary and erotic romance, making each story tender, feel good, and incredibly sexy. I guess I'm pretty demanding, but even in my erotic reading I want a believable story and a good solid relationship with people I can care about. I want to feel an emotional connection - to laugh when they laugh, to cry when they cry, and to sigh when they sigh. Well, Holly Lane gave me all that, and more.

From the cover:

The weather outside is frightful, but kisses by the fire are so delightful …

Sue Ann Simpkins is working hard to rebuild her life and find some holiday spirit. A weekend away from Destiny in a cabin on nearby Bear Lake seems like the perfect Christmas gift to herself—until her ex's best friend, Adam Becker, shows up at the door, claiming the cabin is his! And if that's not trouble enough, how had she never noticed how gorgeous he was?

Alone for the holidays and forced to play a reindeer at the local department store, Adam's been feeling rather Scrooge-ish himself. But finding the smart, sexy woman he's admired since elementary school waiting in the house he rented is helping to brighten his humbug mood. And when a sudden snowstorm strands them together in very close quarters, leading to one very hot night together, Adam soon realizes that what he really wants for Christmas is a second chance at love. Now all he has to do is convince Sue Ann…

I’m being totally honest when I tell you that Sue Ann was not a character I ever thought I’d care about because she just seemed so perfect… too perfect, in fact. Perfectly dressed, perfectly married to a perfect husband, being everyone’s perfect friend with a perfect life - perfect, perfect, perfect… So even when I heard about this story, even when I learned that her perfect world was falling apart, I still wasn’t sure what to think, whether or not I’d become invested in her enough to care what happens. Boy, was I ever a fool to doubt Toni Blake’s ability to not only make me care, but to make me care deeply.

From the very first pages my heart broke for Sue Ann who’s learned that her husband has fallen in love with another woman and wants a divorce. She never saw it coming, and now she has to not only put her life back together, but find a way to build a future for her and her daughter, Sophie. So, was the perfect Sue Ann really perfect? Nope! Did I want to slap her silly sometimes because she was being too stubborn? Yep! But these things, her imperfections and her stubbornness... they were actually part of what made me love her. Her struggles, her heartbreak, her trials and triumphs… I was right there with her, cheering her on, getting to know this woman who was able to overcome her own insecurities and was capable of accomplishing anything!

If you've read much of her writing, you know that Toni Blake has a knack for taking everyday characters who’ve just been floating around the peripherals of a story, of bringing them in, and making them shine. That’s exactly what she did with Adam. What an amazing man he is! Understanding, compassionate, caring, hard working, unconditionally devoted – and of course, sexy as sin! I enjoyed watching him put his own past behind him and open himself up to the possibility of loving again. And it was a delight having the opportunity to see he and Sue Ann grow closer as their relationship transformed from one of friends-since-childhood to lovers, and then to something more.

Another real treat was visiting with Jenny and Mick and getting a glimpse into their married life. They have come so very far together, and their future is looking brighter and brighter.

The bottom line: Holly Lane is a Christmas story, it’s true, but this much love, this much happiness, hope and passion should be celebrated all year 'round. I’m so very glad I finally took this off the shelf and spent this Valentine's Day surrounded in the magic of Christmas in Destiny, Ohio.


  1. Love Christmas stories and this one sounds sweet. I love the fact that you get a glimpse at other characters life even after their 'story' is done. Excellent review!

    1. Thank you, again, Lily! Toni Blake is one of my favorite authors, and the Destiny series an auto buy for me.

      And you're right, this is a very sweet - and sexy - story!