Guest Reviewed by Ami
Title: Maybe This Christmas
Author: Sarah Morgan
Series: O’Neil Brothers #3
Heroine/Hero: Brenna Daniels/Tyler O’Neil
Genre: M/F Contemporary Romance
Length: 384 Pages
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Available at: Harlequin, Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: This winter, ex-skiing champion, reformed heartbreaker and single dad Tyler O’Neil has only one mission—making sure his daughter, Jess, has the best Christmas ever. The fact that his best friend, Brenna, is also temporarily moving into his chalet at the overbooked Snow Crystal resort is a delicious distraction he’s simply going to have to ignore. Theirs is the one relationship he’s never ruined, and he’s not about to start now.
Ski pro Brenna Daniels knows all about the perils of unrequited love—she’s been in love with Tyler for years. But living with him is absolute torture…how can she concentrate on being his friend when he’s sleeping in the room next door? Then when Tyler kisses Brenna, suddenly the relationship she’s always dreamed of feels so close she could almost touch it. Could this be the Christmas her dreams of a happy-ever-after finally come true?
I have wanted to read Tyler and Brenna’s story from the first time I got my hands on this series. What can I say? I love the best-friends-to-lovers theme in my romance. So I came into this book with high expectations. The question was, of course, did the book deliver?
Oh, hell, yeah, it most certainly did!
While there was nothing new on the reason why Tyler and Brenna weren’t yet involved — Tyler felt that he screwed up all his relationship so far, so there was no way that he would cross the line with Brenna; while Brenna felt that, despite her loving Tyler all her life, she knew that Tyler only saw her as ‘one of the guys’ so she didn’t stand a chance, and his friendship meant a lot more to her — Ms. Morgan was able to inject complexities into it. Most especially related to Brenna’s high-school past. This brought up a few twists that I didn’t see coming – including the one with Brenna’s own mother.
Tyler was definitely my favorite brother. He had this sexy bad-boy image, someone who thrived on challenges, who just wanted to ski, fast, fast, fast; he couldn’t care less about managing the ski lodge. Tyler was devastated with his injury, which stopped him from skiing professionally, but he kept his game face on and did what he had to do. I thought that made him an admirable man.
In addition, it was truly heartwarming to see how Tyler dealt with his teenage daughter, Jesse. Tyler tried hard to be the good father. He stumbled along the way, but it was clear that he wanted the best for Jesse. Gah, I loved him so much!!
And Brenna – sweet, kind but very loyal Brenna. Usually, I love my heroines to be feisty and able to push through to get what they want. In that sense, Brenna should be a bit too meek for my liking. But at the same time, Brenna brought out the protective side of me – just like she made Tyler protective of her. I could understand her fear of losing Tyler if she confessed about her feelings – her terrible past in high school definitely didn’t help her confidence. So I loved how other people – namely Kayla and Élise – were championing for her. The way that Brenna slowly gained inner strength to face her fears and to finally tell Tyler what she wanted made me so very proud of her.
The push/pull from both Brenna and Tyler did feel a bit repetitive. It took almost 3/4 of the book before Brenna and Tyler were finally working on what was inevitable between them. I thought it could have been cut a little bit short since this book felt slightly too long because of it. However, I admit that I was also a sucker for such unsolved-tension between friends, and in here, it was pretty delicious. Pure torture and frustration. But delicious.
Then, the final grand gesture from Tyler? Be Still My Heart!! *swoon*. It was SO romantic. It became one of my favorite grand gestures in romance, most definitely. I gave Tyler a perfect 10 for it *clapping hands, standing ovation*. It was worth reading all the USTs between the two to get into that final point.
So it might not be a perfect read, but Ms. Morgan was able to write a very compelling romance using this classic theme. With lovable protagonists, charming secondary characters that have been part of this series from the beginning, along with that marvelous ending, Maybe This Christmas is my favorite from the trilogy. It was fabulous, and I loved every minute of it. In fact, it is definitely one of my favorite contemporary romances of the year.
Overall Impression: I loved it!
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*