Series: Whiskey Creek #5
Published by Harlequin MIRA on 29 October 2013
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
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Christmas is a time for remembering .
Too bad all memories aren't pleasant. Everyone in Whiskey Creek remembers Sophia DeBussi as the town's Mean Girl. Especially Ted Dixon, whose love she once scorned.
But Sophia has paid the price for her youthful transgressions. The man she did marry was rich and powerful but abusive. So when he goes missing, she secretly hopes he'll never come back—until she learns that he died running from an FBI probe of his investment firm. Not only has he left Sophia penniless, he's left her to face all the townspeople he cheated .
Sophia is reduced to looking for any kind of work to pay the bills and support her daughter. With no other options, she becomes housekeeper for none other than Ted, now a successful suspense writer. He can't bring himself to turn his back on her, not at Christmas, but he refuses to get emotionally involved. He learned his lesson the last time.
Or will the season of love and forgiveness give them both another chance at happiness?
*I received a free ARC of Take Me Home for Christmas from Harlequin MIRA via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review.*
Take Me Home for Christmas is yet another nicely done story in the Whiskey Creek series. Approaching Christmas, everything that can go wrong in Sophia’s life does indeed go wrong. On a yacht with her husband, Skip, and their daughter Lexi, off the coast of Rio to celebrate their 13th wedding anniversary, Skip disappears in thin air. As soon as the boat arrives in Rio, Sophia has to talk to the local police, and she soon learns that there is an arrest warrant out for Skip. The FBI shows up in Whiskey Creek around the same time Skip’s body is washed up at the beach. As the whole town turns against Sophia, to the point of showing up at her house and emptying it of furniture, clothes, jewelry and kitchen supplies. This time, Ted is the one person who feels sorry for her. After fourteen years of hating her, he sees that she just might have paid for her sins now.
In the prior books of this series, Sophia was always in the distance, even if some of the girls tired to approach her. Knowing that Ted didn’t want her around led to her not want to come back for Friday morning coffee, and she continues to be very isolated. In Take Me Home for Christmas, the whole group of friends is still present, but it’s more of a little huis clos with Ted, Sophia and Lexi. I didn’t miss the other characters as much as I could have, because I really enjoyed getting to know Sophia better, and it was wonderful to see how she has dealt with her guilt through the years, and how much strength she has shown in order to survive her life with Skip always belittling her.
I never really hated Sophia, even if I always understood where Ted came from. I was, however, very pleased to see how Ted was able to get past his own hurt feelings to reach out to her and help her in Take Me Home for Christmas. Without having to keep up with Skip’s notions of appearances being important, Ted quickly realized how much Sophia had changed since she was the Mean Girl, and that her life had never been easy. Once Ted understands that Sophia has suffered the consequences of her choices at least as much as he has, he changes the way he treats her. He even lets himself dream of a relationship with her again. Especially because he sees how hard she tries to keep herself and Lexi afloat – alone against Whiskey Creek.
Ted is actually the character that showed the most growth during Take Me Home for Christmas. And he might also be the one who needed it the most as well. Holding on to bitter feelings for over ten years cannot be healthy, and all that time, he never managed to have a healthy relationship with anyone. In the beginning, he is still afraid of his feelings for Sophia, and even tries to start a different kind of relationship with Eve, even if he doesn’t really feel much more than friendship for her. And their other friends are understanding, even if they do tease Ted a little.
As Sophia and Ted grow closer, and Sophia has to deal with threats towards herself, but also kids being really mean to Lexi, it is impossible to not fall for the three of them! Their interactions are mostly light and playful, but Sophia still has a demon to fight. She does so with gusto and is able to pick up the pieces both of her own life and also those missing in Ted’s and Lexi’s lives. Take Me Home for Christmas continues in the same vein as the rest of the Whiskey Creek stories – friendship, love and hardship all go hand in hand. The characters are so likeable and seemingly real it’s very easy to get them and identify with them, even if I have never been in the same kind of situations as they are.
I think the hardest thing to read about in Take Me Home For Christmas is the way Sophia has to deal with the aftermath of Skip’s betrayal. Even his parents are still thinking of him as perfect, and that creepy sheriff keeps being obnoxious and mean-spirited. Seeing Sophia trying her best to be strong, and to move forward with her life both for her own sake and for Lexi’s and even Ted’s is a real pleasure to read about, though. If you enjoy Whiskey Creek, you’ll be sure to like Take Me Home For Christmas as well, and if you’ve never tried this series before, you definitely should if you’re a contemporary romance fan!
Sophia gazed down at the water itself. Had he fallen overboard and drowned in the choppy Atlantic? That thought led to a surge of relief.
his mother should’ve remarried and had other kids, he thought. Then she would’ve had to spread her attention around.