It’s the most wonderful time of the year…unless you’re single and lonely.
Jinx—one of Santa’s elves—is in trouble with the Big Guy. She’s been charged with bringing holiday happiness to Christopher Ragan, CEO of Wondrous Toys. It’s a big job especially when he’s more attached to the bottom of a bottle than helping his fellow man.
She’s got enough trouble without spilling the secrets of the North Pole, but then along comes Natalie Burnes, a newbie CEO of Enchanted Toys and in trouble of a hostile takeover from Christopher’s company. The woman literally crashes Christopher’s vacation plans in a tucked away Michigan cabin---and the sparks start flying.
As if Jinx’s job of matchmaking the toy makers isn’t hard enough, she’s got to stay one step ahead of the North Pole patrol and keep out of sight of the humans. No way is she gonna screw up and lose her magic again. If the humans can’t find happiness and love by Christmas, Jinx forfeits her chance of seeing her true love too. What’s an elf to do?
Chris headed out to the front room to the warmth of the fire and Natalie. Clusters of shiny tinsel still lay on the floor. “I can see you haven’t cleaned up.”Natalie stood in profile, the fire lighting her copper hair and tan skin. She’d retrieved her coffee mug and folded her hands around it.She turned and faced him, her lips forming a hesitant smile. “No. The tinsel gives this place a cheery feel. Seeing it makes me feel less homesick.”Shame, a fleeting emotion he rarely felt, struck him. She was missing Thanksgiving with her grandfather, and it was his fault. He thought the former CEO a bastard, but she loved him. “We can break out the tree and ornaments in the morning if it’ll make your stay with me bearable.”“Don’t mock me, Reagan. You’re not funny.”“I’m not. I’m serious. We might as well make the best of being trapped together.” He pointed to her half-filled mug. “I have something much stronger than coffee if you’re looking to get warm.”She put up her nose and sniffed. “Trying to get me drunk won’t help distract me from my purpose.”Her purpose. I don’t want to hear it. Chris threw another log on the fire. The wood sparked and popped as it became consumed in the dancing flames. “If I wanted you drunk, you’d already be there. I noticed you’re cold. I have some scotch that’ll warm you from the inside out.”“I hate drinking on an empty stomach.”He turned his back on the room and walked past the bar leading into the kitchen. He massaged the crick in his neck, another reminder of his odd dream. He needed to avoid that couch at all costs. “The resort staff always stocks the fridge before every guest’s arrival. I’m starving. Let’s see what goodies they’ve left us.”When she didn’t get up, he said, “Come on. You have to eat. We might be stuck here for days.”“Days?” The tired, thready whisper doused his irritation. “The weather can’t be so horrible. Surely I’ll be able to leave in the morning.”“Don’t count on it.” Chris regarded Natalie over his shoulder as he perused the refrigerator’s contents. She stood in the doorway, teetering on her stockinged feet, exhaustion written in every frown line crinkling her brow. “I just spoke with my uncle. You’re going to be here for a few days. I’m betting the roads are already blocked. Let’s see what the weather report on the radio says.”She scurried to the bar and turned on the radio. Static blasted through the room. She adjusted the volume and the dial.A perky announcer came on after the romantic, saccharine Christmas carol Let It Snow faded out. “We’ve received notification from the National Weather Service that the entire Upper Peninsula is under a winter storm warning until Saturday morning.”She sagged against the bar, her head flopping against her chest. “A record six inches has already buried towns like Maple Grove. Flights in and out of Sawyer International Airport have either been postponed or canceled. So, folks, hunker down and snuggle up because this freakish storm is slated to dump another six to seven inches before it’s all over.”She jabbed at the unit, silencing the announcer. “I can’t accept it.” Natalie spun away and hastened to the front room. He followed. “Over a foot of snow? Not possible,” she muttered to herself.Concerned and just a tad amused, he watched her lace up her boots and retrieve her coat from the closet. “Don’t go out there.” Her jacket wouldn’t keep her warm in such cold. She ignored him. He scrambled to find his own boots and coat. He couldn’t let her venture outdoors alone. “I’m serious. That coat isn’t insulated enough. You’ll freeze out there.”Her eyes wide and astonished, she pounded against the front door. “Why won’t this open?” She slammed her fist again against the oak. “I’m not really stuck here.”He came up behind her and placed a hand on her stiff shoulder. “Relax.” He rubbed at the tension knotting her muscles. “Panicking won’t get us out of here faster.”
Review by Melissa Snark:
HOLIDAY JINX is an interesting blend of Christmas fantasy and romantic comedy that takes one meddling elf and two CEOs of toy companies and puts them on a collision course. Abbey McInnis' characters are a little bit corny and a whole lotta funny. In particular, I loved the mischievous character the story is titled for, the elf Jinx who has angered Santa and upset the Elfan Council. As punishment, she is stripped of her powers and offered a single shot at redemption. Without magic, she must bring happiness and true love to the hero and heroine.
I read Holiday Jinx in the car during a trip to and from LA and the poor husband had to put up with my sporadic cackles. Certain clever turns of phrase are delightful. In particular, I LOVED this:
She shrieked as she braced herself for the jarring collision with the sturdy sofa. She’d lost her candy-cane gun during her less than perfect arrival. Tinsel spread in a sparkling mess across the carpeted floor, enveloping everything in a shimmering cloud.
She struck the side of the couch with such force it knocked her teeth together and kicked the wind from her. “Mother fluffer,” she panted before assessing the collateral damage to her elfan form.
Christopher Ragan is the CEO of Wondrous Toys, and frankly, not a very nice guy. It took me a while to warm up to the hero who initially comes across as unsympathetic. The fact that he's an alcoholic made it even harder for me even though it becomes clear that he is the way he is because he's had his heart broken in the past. Chris does harbor a secret soft spot, a love of toys, which brought him solace as a lonely child. Love does redeem Chris eventually and he makes a heartfelt effort to change, thanks mostly to the generous and forgiving nature of the heroine.
Natalie Burnes, the heroine, is the CEO of Enchanted Toys, a family owned business which happens to be the target of a hostile takeover by Wonderous. She only recently acquired the position of executive officer from her grandfather. The company is in financial trouble thanks to embezzlement and Natalie doesn't really have the support of her board of directors. She goes to Chris seeking his support and tries to share her idealistic vision for saving her company with him. While her determination is admirable, she's short both on resources and realistic expectations. I really liked her for her loyalty, especially to family members, even when it wasn't deserved.
I enjoyed Chris and Natalie's back-and-forth, especially the sniping that results following her arrival at the cabin. When Jinx's antics are thrown in, there are many snicker-worthy scenes. I liked the snowball fight and the kiss in the snow that follows. But the first sex scene left me feeling bewildered and sorta cheated. Later lovemaking scenes are passionate and emotionally satisfying and the declarations preceding the HEA-ending are ooey-gooey goodness.
HOLIDAY JINX is a recommended read for fans of romantic comedies set during the holiday season that has elves, magic and second chances thanks to the power of love.
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Abbey MacInnis is a published author of Contemporary Western romance. Along with Contemporary, she writes Historical, Paranormal and erotic romance. Whether she’s being swept off her feet by a Medieval knight, regency rake, or cowboy or cop, her heroes are always strong men who’ll love their women unconditionally.
On most days, Abbey can be found at her computer, penning her latest tale. A tale where love, respect, and passion combine to create a satisfying and happy ending. Guaranteed. She invites you to step in to the pages of her romances, to leave your worries behind and get swept up in her world.
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