Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Spotlight Review- HAVE YOURSELF A NAUGHTY LITTLE SANTA by Karin Tabke


HAVE YOURSELF A NAUGHTY LITTLE SANTA – Karin Tabke
Pocket Star
ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-6458-4
November 2008
Contemporary Romance

Evergreen, California – Present Day

Ricco Maza is a complicated man with a lot of family drama in his life. He is a policeman, and every year at Christmas, he returns home to Evergreen to be with his family. Years ago after his father left the family with three girls and a little boy behind, they were almost destitute. After his mother was raped, they left their town with no money and found their way to Evergreen, where people accepted and cared for them and took them in with love and friendship. Evergreen is that quintessential small town, especially during the Christmas season: friendly people, beautiful scenery, and a Christmas spirit that brings people from far and wide to visit every year, just as Ricco does. But the past few years, storms have prevented people from driving to Evergreen, and with the highway impassable, money is tight and huge loans have been made trying to save everyone's businesses. This year, Ricco makes a small stop in Reno on his way home and meets a beautiful woman, with whom he shares a night of outstanding sex. But the next day, he drives to Evergreen and jumps on the new snowplow and starts plowing up the highway, making way for all the tourists with money to spend, which the town needs. But who ends up running off the road in a rental car but Ricco's Cinderella from the night before.

Kimberly Michaels is a shark. Along with her boss, Nick Gold, their company finds companies or cities ripe for the picking. Then their company takes them over and runs them the way they want. Right now, Nick wants Evergreen, California for a new casino and resort town. Thanks to Kim's research, they know the city is on its last legs. As a winter town, with most of its money flow during the months of December and January, several years of snow storms that blocked the way to Evergreen have just about completely ravaged the town of its livelihood. Loans have been taken out, and now there is a balloon payment due, and Kim is going there to make them an offer they can't refuse. Her night in Reno involved several outstanding climaxes, of a quality seldom seen in her life. But first thing in the morning, she decides she must get her mind off sex and onto business and find a way to Evergreen despite the snowstorm closing down all the roads. When she drives into Evergreen, the first thing she does is run off the road, and when the man who rescues her is her Latin lover from the night before, she decides to remain incognito and pretend she's just visiting.

Kim has been married twice and is now almost engaged to her boss, Nick. Nick thinks they are such a good team in business, it's logical that together in marriage they would be unstoppable. Kim's early life echoes Ricco's. The only child of extremely wealthy parents, the only person who ever cared about her was her grandma, and the locket that she wears everyday is her only connection to someone who actually loved her. Deciding to investigate all areas of the town, Kim is decidedly uneasy dealing with Ricco, his sisters, their children, and his mother. Kim's never been surrounded by so many people before in her life!

When things start happening in town to scare visitors off, Kim doesn't know whether to be happy or scared. Her job identifies her, and just the thought of losing it and her tentative connection with Nick scares her. And Ricco is overwhelmed by his family, especially when his father returns home like the proverbial bad penny; does he really have cancer, or is this just another way to play everyone? Kim and Ricco have a sexual connection that almost overwhelms them; is it the real thing, or just two healthy people assuaging their desires? And will Evergreen survive the Christmas season and pay off its debts, or will Kim's company strike while the iron's hot as it usually does?

Karin Tabke has provided us with a stellar reading experience and two characters who pull at our heartstrings, especially Ricco. Written from Ricco's and Kim's points of view, we can easily see why both of them are afraid of relying on anyone else for their happiness. Ricco stays in Evergreen just long enough until family responsibilities totally engulf him, and then he returns to his police work the rest of the year, preferably undercover where the action is nonstop. Kim is outstanding at her job, and perhaps marrying someone who believes in the ethics of work, as she does, will be the perfect mate for her. In spite of that, the excellent sex with Ricco is pretty hard not to think seriously about. But first Kim must finish her assignment, even though friendly people in a town who talk to you actually freaks her out. Why are these people so nice?

Ricco's family and the citizens of Evergreen provide a boisterous, loving background to this wonderful story. Ricco's mother and sisters and their families are both his love and his despair. They rely on him so much that the tension of trying to be all things to all of them makes him crazy. And Ricco's father, Enrique, is at the heart of Ricco's fear of abandonment and the hatred that is such a part of his being that he cannot separate himself from the childish hurt he caused his whole family. Every person in Evergreen is trying his or her hardest to keep their town growing. And of course there is Nick Gold, Kim's boss, and almost fiancé.

HAVE YOURSELF A NAUGHTY LITTLE SANTA is a book with not only a sweet story and hot romance, but it shows the results of a whole family growing up with a father who left them and put his life ahead of his family's, and how that act changed his son's life forever. If you enjoy family dynamics and a very interesting, fast paced, sexy story, this should be at the top of your list this month.

Carolyn Crisher


Note: I will be drawing the winner of Holiday Seduction Thursday evening.

3 comments:

Estella said...

Ms Tabkes book sounds like an interesting read.
I don't think I've ever read a book about someone trying to take over a town to build a casino.

Karin* said...

Carolyn, I'm so happy you enjoyed Kim and Ricco's story! It was a blast to write.

Happy Holidays!

Caffey said...

Oh A naughty Christmas read! I love holiday stories and this is perfect!