For the first time in her sheltered life, Larissa Ascot's wishes for a merry Christmas seem to be in peril. Her father is off to the Colonies on business, but is far overdue to be home. Thus Larissa is left to handle the rumors of her family's bankruptcy, panicked creditors pounding on her door, and eviction. On top of all that, she must now contend with her enigmatic would-be "benefactor," Vincent Everett, the Baron of Windsmoor.
The charming and handsome rogue has offered to shelter Larissa, her little brother, and their few remaining servants in his home, and Larissa has no choice but to accept his proposal - unless she and her younger brother Thomas wish to wake up chin-deep in snow on Christmas morning.
The baron would be the first to admit that it is more than the Yuletide spirit of good will that has inspired his generosity. From the moment he first set eyes on the enchanting Miss Ascot, he was bewitched. And now that she has taken up residence in his home as well as in his heart, he aches with wanting her - a most unfortunate state of affairs, since the proud beauty obviously despises him....And since Vincent had previously sworn to seek a righteous vengeance on Larissa's family.
But Christmas is a time for miracles, after all, when love, at the seasonal peak of its power, can triumph over adversity. The more the lovely lady resists Vincent's considerable attractions, the hotter her desire for him grows. And in these magical days, something truly wondrous could occur - as the spirit of forgiveness reaches down to touch two rivals and shower Vincent and Larissa with precious gifts of tenderness and ecstasy unbound.
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Next time, trust the reviews
I fully admit walking into this one- I read the reviews and listened to the sample and thought "but it's Johanna Lindsey- it'll be okay, even if it doesn't turn out to become a favorite." Next time, I should listen to the reviews.
The hero is vindictive, rude, vengeful, callous, malicious, calculating and in general- awful. There is very little redeeming quality about him. He effectively sets out to destroy the heroine's family, even while pretending that it is only her father he is harming. I don't care how Lindsey and the heroine explain that away, I spent the entire book trying to the find something wonderful or redeeming in him and never did manage it or even get close.
For a romance novel to work, we, the readers, have to love something or find something endearing about the main characters. I am generally a pretty forgiving person IRL and can tolerate a lot more in a romance novel than in reality, after all- it's fiction and everyone gets their HEA. However, this one just made me angry. Pretty impressive, considering it's only just over 4 hours long. I ended up positively loathing the "hero". I still can't figure out how the heroine could see only the good in him when he wronged her and her family so deliberately and so many times. That's not a simple misunderstanding. It's malicious and repetitive, pretty much the definition of abusive. Why would you ever trust such a man again, regardless of his thin excuses and attempts to make amends after the truth comes to light?
This book is a seriously failed attempt at the "protagonist and antagonist are the same person, but it's okay - it was all just a misunderstanding" storyline. If you have little tolerance for characters who abuse situations and people, avoid this book like the plague. It's not one of Mrs Lindsey's finest and if it was the first book I'd read of hers, I'd never read another book by her again.
IMHO, not worth a credit or the time I spent listening to it. Take my advice and listen to the other negative reviews. They're right on this one.