My Perfect Gift (A Christmas Novella)
by EJ Shortall
Christmas isn’t the same anymore for Lara Hollywell, not since she lost her greatest gift of all, her fiancé. Now, she spends her holidays with family remembering Christmases past and contemplating a life without love, a life where only dreams and fantasies keep her company.
Blake Snowden is tired of being seen as nothing more than the man with deep pockets and a handsome face. He wants romantic walks, snuggling by the fireplace and kisses under the mistletoe. And he wants it all with his beautiful Head of Marketing, Lara.
When Blake rigs the company’s annual secret Santa draw to get Lara’s name, will they both discover more than the perfect gift in their stockings on Christmas morning?
★✩★✩★ 5 – Heartbreaking & Sweet Holiday Romance – Stars ★✩★✩★
~this review may contain minor spoilers~
After three years of watching from the side-lines, waiting for the perfect opportunity to prove to her he wasn't all work, work, work, with a side of playboy thrown in for good measure, Blake had finally decided to take the bull by the horns and...take part in Secret Santa. Or at least make it look like he was taking part in Secret Santa.
I love Christmas, everything about it – the songs, the decorations, the TV specials and movies, baking goodies, all of it – it's my absolute favorite time of the year. Throw books and romance into the mix and I'm ALL OVER IT! This not only embraced the joys of the season, it revolved around a woman suffering with moving on from a loss so big it still haunts her after seven years and the man who wants nothing more than to bring her some happiness and is done waiting around. Lara left me in some pretty heavy turmoil. On the one hand, my heart bleed for her, I cannot imagine dealing with a loss like that. On the other hand, her obstinate refusal to move on, her unwillingness to let go of the past and see what was in front of her, irritated the hell outta me. Which in turn made me feel guilty because I haven't been in her shoes and everyone grieves differently. Blake was exactly what she needed, even if it took her for-freaking-ever to figure that out. He was sweet and patient as hell, but persistent without being overly pushy. He knew what he wanted and was just looking for her to give him a chance. Her reluctance in the face of everything he was trying to do for her slowly broke him down, bruised his ego as well as his heart, but he saw something in Lara that he refused to walk away from. It was sweet and heartbreaking, romantic and hopeful, all wrapped up in a shiny Christmas bow. This is a novella, which is inherently shorter than a novel, so we don't get to spend as much time with the characters, but Ms. Shortall still did a fabulous job of making sure we got to really know them, understand them and where they were coming from, and hope for some happiness. The ending isn't what I personally would classify as an HEA, more like a HFN. It was nice and sweet, leaving me feeling more hopeful than concluded – if that makes any sense. But in this case, I think it was more about the journey than the ending. If your looking for a way to pass a few hours than definitely give this a read. It's filled with laughs and tears, love and strength, all wrapped up in the Christmas glow.
“do you know how difficult it is to buy the perfect gift for you? I didn't know what to get you. I bet you hate it.”
“It doesn't matter what it is. There could be a lump of coal in there for all I care. All I want is you, Lara.”
EJ was born and raised in a suburb of West London where she still lives with Mr. T her first love and partner of twenty-two years, and their ‘child giant’ seventeen year old son. Additional snuggles come from Chloe, her fourteen year old black moggy. She's a bit of a character and loves nothing more than to lie down and read with E.J.
Having worked in education for the better part of 12 years, EJ decided a change was needed and, following a moment of inspiration, she decided to put pen to paper and start writing her first novel, Silver Lining. Not content with just the one, she continued with book two and hopes to write many more.
She has always enjoyed reading, but found it was mostly just a holiday extravagance. Then she discovered a certain worldwide best seller, and that was it she was hooked. Reading quickly became an obsession and she couldn’t devour books fast enough. The books on her shelves and reading device range from sweet, Young Adult romances, to smouldering erotic encounters.
Aside from reading and writing, EJ also enjoys amateur photography and cake decorating.
“I am on one amazing roller coaster ride at the moment, meeting new and wonderful people, discovering new music gems to integrate into my stories, and learning so many new skills. I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me.”
If you would like to join E.J. on her journey, please follow or contact her. She would love to hear from you!