Once Upon A Christmas Eve by Elizabeth HoytOnce Upon A Christmas Eve by Elizabeth Hoyt
Series: Maiden Lane #12.6
Published by Forever Yours on December 5, 2018
Genres: Georgian Romance, Regency Romance
Pages: 92
Format: eBook
Source: Advance Reader Copy
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A heartwarming stand-alone novella from New York Times best-selling author Elizabeth Hoyt!

Adam Rutledge, Viscount d'Arque, really rather loathes Christmas. The banal cheerfulness. The asinine party games. And, worst of all, the obligatory trip to the countryside. His grandmother, however, loves the holiday - and Adam loves his grandmother, so he'll brave the fiercest snowstorm to please her. But when their carriage wheel snaps, they're forced to seek shelter at the home of the most maddening, infuriating, and utterly beguiling woman he's ever met....

Sarah St. John really rather loathes rakes. The self-satisfied smirks. The sly predatory gazes. Oh, and the constant witty banter rife with double meaning. But in the spirit of the season, she'll welcome this admittedly handsome viscount into her home. But as the snowstorm rages, the Yule log crackles, and the tension rises, Sarah and Adam find themselves locked in a fiery, passionate kiss. If love is the true meaning of Christmas, it's the one gift this mismatched pair can't wait to unwrap.

I came late to the Maiden Lane series, so I’m still not finished reading it, and I’ve skipped around a bit too. That being said, I believe this couple have been characters others have wanted to see find their HEA. I didn’t recognize them right off the bat, so maybe that’s why I didn’t love it as much as I wanted to?

This begins with Adam and his grandmother in a broken carriage in a terrible snowstorm. He rides ahead hoping to find someplace to stay the night, and the door he knocks on just happens to be that of a man who hates him. Adam may or may not have flirted outrageously with his wife (*whisper* he did). And this man’s sister absolutely hates rakes. And Adam? Most definitely a rake.

We get to see how Adam is a complex man who adores his grandmother and yet flirts with every woman he meets. Especially Sarah. Sarah, who he’s realizing he’s loved since the moment he met her last year. Being snowed in together only enhances his drive to pursue her, and win her, before the storm lets up.

Sarah has reasons for detesting men like Adam, and they’re good reasons. In fact, I wish we’d had a bit more there, since those reasons are so good. This is where my problem with the novella comes in to play. The pacing was weird. The first 3/4 of the story had a set pacing, that worked with the plot, and the last 1/4 was just BAM! done. The End. See ya.

For such an enjoyable book, and a lovely beginning of Happily Ever After, the abrupt ending kind of kicked me out of the book. I really don’t mind the fact that a novella has limited page time to make them fall in love, truly, but the pacing here made me feel like there would be more. Ms. Hoyt is so talented, and I truly enjoyed the story, but that ending was like smacking into the words The End and then thinking wait, that was it? It can’t be over, they need more pages! If you guys read it, you’ll have to let me know if you felt the same.


***ARC courtesy of Forever Yours