Last Chance ChristmasTitle:  Last Chance Christmas
Series:
Author:  Joanne Rock
Genre:  Contemporary Romance, Christmas Romance
Published:  November 11, 2015
Publisher:  Tule Publishing
My Rating:  5 stars
Source:  NetGalley
Cover Description:

Fashion buyer Shea Walker had a fast track lifestyle until a car accident sidelines her to a painful recovery. Seeking quiet for the holidays, Shea returns to the snowy mountains where she grew up to make peace with her past and spend time with her estranged family. She never expected J.C. Royce–now a hockey star–would return to their hometown, too. Determined to avoid that particular sexy mistake, she’s caught off guard when her first night in town brings them face to face.

Seeing Shea practically fall at his feet is gratifying, until J.C. realizes his proud former friend, who he once thought would become a whole lot more, is truly hurt–and in more ways than she lets on. Lucky for Shea, he’s got a big house just sitting empty and a tree ready to decorate, as she is in no shape to stay by herself. With his bad boy arrogance down to an art form after eight years in the NHL, J.C. is more than a match for feisty Shea. Especially when it comes to her outrageous claim that there was never any chemistry between them…

But when it comes to convincing her to stick around town until the New Year, he just might need a Christmas miracle.

Read on for my thoughts on Last Chance Christmas.  No true spoilers, promise.

Going home again after a decade away isn’t as easy as it sounds.  Especially when you make that a spur of the moment decision while under the influence of post surgery pain meds and a take charge of your life speech from a radio life coach.  Shea had recently had her car smashed, a broken leg that needed surgery, busted ribs, and an ‘oh by the way we’re going bankrupt’ announcement from the company she’d worked for – needless to say it hadn’t been a good few weeks.  When she decides to mend fences with her family, especially her father who hadn’t taken her career choice decisions well or quietly – well, things didn’t work out quite as she had planned.  Spur of the moment decisions rarely do.

The last thing she’d expected was to find her parent’s home dark when she pulled into the driveway after a painful and exhausting drive.  After finding out that her old key didn’t fit the new door, Shea was understandably upset – the absolutely last person she expected to see come around the side of the house was J. C. – the boy she’d once pinned her dreams on, the boy who was supposed to choose her and a life together instead of an early draft into the NHL.  The boy had become quite a handsome, imposing man and once he realized that she really was injured and hurting J. C. did step up and try to help her.  Maybe he neglected to mention that he had a key to her parent’s house in his pocket.  Perhaps he wanted to take care of Shea for just a bit, to remember the attraction they’d had once upon a time.  He certainly didn’t expect that slight oversight to come back and bite him in the ass a few days later.

Shea had loved J. C. as only a teenager could.  She truly believed that they would escape her father’s influence in hockey and head to New York to make a new life together.  When J. C. crushed that dream by heading into professional hockey, when her father couldn’t understand why she didn’t want to follow her own athletic abilities and wanted to study design in New York City – Shea left, walked away and didn’t look back.  But the grown up J. C. drew her back into that dream and a last chance for a second chance at a future together was just too much to ignore.  Would she end up hurt again?  Who knows, but she’s willing to take that chance.

Last Chance Christmas should be on your Christmas reading list this year and beyond.  Shea and J. C. are a compelling couple.  Both strong in their beliefs of right and wrong, both aware that the attraction between them had never really died out.  If J. C. went a bit alpha and wasn’t totally upfront with Shea at first, it wasn’t from a power trip mentality but from a need to take care of a woman who once held his heart and a desire to see if they could get that magic back again.  I enjoyed this story very much.  The emotions between Shea and J. C. shimmered beneath the surface throughout this charming story.  Maybe going home again isn’t easy, but sometimes the rewards are worth the risks.

*I received an e-ARC of Last Chance Christmas from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. That does not change what I think of this novel.*

Available for the Kindle