A California Christmas
by Brenda Novak
Release Date: October 13, 2020
Publisher: Mira Books
Book #7 of the Silver Springs series
Number of pages: 384
Source: Net Galley ARC
Contemporary Romance/Holidays M/F
Read 10/3/20 to 10/6/20
Up-and-coming TV anchor Emery Bliss can’t imagine anything more humiliating than the sex tape her ex revenge-posted online. That is, until it causes her to lose her job on top of her self-esteem. Seeking solace—and anonymity—in Silver Springs, Emery isn’t looking to get involved with another man anytime soon. But when she’s thrown back into contact with Dallas Turner, she sees something that his many detractors have missed.
Being home for the holidays and his adoptive mother’s wedding isn’t where mountain climber Dallas feels most comfortable. Thanks to his troubled childhood, he’d rather be on a rock face alone than trying to connect with people. Emery, however, makes him want to overcome his past…somehow.
Both Emery and Dallas had been planning on a quiet, solitary Christmas, but the sparks between them are lighting a fire strong enough to last—possibly forever.
Another lovely holiday tale from Brenda Novak. Silver Springs is such a wonderful place for the holiday. It’s full of acceptance and hope and love, even if it doesn’t always feel that way for the characters.
Nobody judges Dallas’ past more harshly than Dallas himself. He has risen above his upbringing and has become a very confident person when it comes to his adult life and his passion of climbing. Yet, bring him back home to Silver Springs, where he ended up as a child after a traumatic childhood event and hopping from foster home to foster home, and he reverts back to that child who is unsure of his worth. He would never admit those feelings, but those who love him see them clearly.
Emery was also quite a confident person, until a vindictive ex stripped away any sense of security she ever had. Not only has her romantic and professional life started falling apart, so has her personal life. Her dad has unexpectedly left her mom and is being unreasonable, leaving her with a lot of pressure and stress since she’s a loving and concerned daughter.
Put Emery and Dallas together and they are so good for one another. Dallas helps Emery find her confidence and remember who she is on the inside. Emery gives Dallas a place to feel safe to express emotions he never even lets his adopted mom, Aiyana, see. But they’re both so concerned about making sure the other finds their happiness, they forget about finding their own.
This is a very emotional story, especially when it comes to Dallas and his past. His story made me weep while Emery’s story made me furious. Not at her, but at all those around her. Her boss, her ex, her dad, her “fans”.
As much as I adored this story and this couple, I think my favorite parts had to do with Dallas and his brothers. They didn’t let him hide from his own feelings. They are all so supportive, as nobody can quite understand what they’ve all been through the way they can understand each other. I cannot wait for the younger boys to grow up and get their HEAs, and I really hope to see Seth get another HEA.
**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of Net Galley and the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**