Standing toe to toe
by Weston Parker
This enemies-to-lovers workplace romance is very engaging, with lead characters who are much deeper than they initially seem to be, and a storyline that sparkles with the drama and wonder of the holiday season. Ethan and Kathryn have been colleagues for the better part of a decade. Saying that they loathe one another seems a mild way of putting it. Ethan is a smart, congenial and a happy-go-lucky guy who just can’t seem to make a relationship work in the long term. He really just hasn’t found the right woman for him. Kathryn is smart and driven to succeed, but she’s never really experienced a loving and romantic relationship, and so has decided it’s not something she needs in her life. She is laser focused on her career.
Christmas is a perfect metaphor for their differences. Ethan loves everything to do with Christmas and enjoys it to the fullest. Kathryn can’t see the point of the holiday and thinks it’s all quite ridiculous. A joint work project forces them into a direct working relationship and slowly they each begin to see the other in a different light. He is a very likable character, but it takes some time to appreciate the nuances of her character. When they make the jump from enemies to lovers, the chemistry between them is explosive.
This was a very enjoyable book and really embodied the spirit of Christmas in a different way. I really liked the array of secondary characters and the HEA. The foster care system is also mentioned multiple times as a critical part of the story. I liked the fact that the foster parents were not made out to be terrible people, as they so often are stereotyped in books for the purposes of a plot device.