WELCOME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS
A Hero's Welcome #4
Releasing Nov 8th, 2016
The bestselling Hero’s Welcomes series continues with a juicy Christmas romance set in Seaside, North Carolina, where a bustling military base keeps this small town stocked with dedicated, lovable heroes.
Three-hundred-and-sixty-four days a year, Allison Carmichael doesn’t mind being single. It sure beats dating another loser, and it keeps her heart safe. Then there’s that three-hundred-and-sixty-fifth day: Christmas Eve, the traditional time her entire family gathers together—and gangs up on her, demanding to know when she’s going to get married. This year, she swears, is going be different. And that’s why, at a charity auction she’s throwing on-base, she buys herself a man.
Sergeant Troy Matthews insists that he’s not for sale. His time is, though, and he’s happy to donate it. Happier still when he learns the identity of the winning bidder: the redhead with the killer good looks and smart mouth who runs the veteran’s center. Allison needs Troy’s help to fool her family into believing they’re an item, and he’s all too happy to indulge her. But by the time Christmas Eve rolls around, their little charade is working a little too well . . . because Troy’s falling head over heels.
“So there’s one thing I now know about you. You’re a good liar.” Allison folded her arms at her chest.
“Good, maybe. But I value honesty. Sometimes lying to someone is for their own good, though. A little white lie never really hurt anyone. Here’s one for you,” he leaned in closer and lowered his voice, “I have absolutely no interest in dating you, either.”
Her cheeks flushed.
“And I don’t think you’re the most beautiful woman in this room, and the thought of taking you out does not appeal to me whatsoever.” He shook his head. “Nope, not one little bit.”
She smiled. “Now I know two things about you. You lie well and you’re a smooth talker. So, do you agree to my proposal?”
Troy could just say yes, but he was enjoying engaging her in a conversation. “You know, when I was kid, Christmas was always magical. I’d sit with the toy catalog and create this huge, mile-long list of the things I wanted. I never got so excited about a pencil and paper.”
“Did you get everything on the list?” she asked.
“So your family had money?”
He nodded. His family practically owned the town he’d grown up in. He didn’t know what it felt like to want for something until his cousin Dale had died in 9-11, the deciding factor in him joining the military. “I figure the more money raised for those kids, the better their Christmas will be.”
“That’s my goal. I want this to be the best Christmas Mercy’s kids have ever had.”
“So, if I have to take you out . . .” He trailed off, smiling at her.
“We’re just going to talk. Have a meal or something together. No kissing, no handholding.”
Troy held up his hands. “I’m an honorable guy. I don’t force myself on women. Truth is, I usually have to fight them off.” He winked again.
“And you can’t act like that when you meet my mother.”
“Like what?” he asked.
“All flirty and charming. She’ll never believe that I’d fall for someone like that.”
He tried not to take offense because no matter what she was saying, she was attracted to him. He could see it in her dilated pupils and the way her chest rose just slightly under her racing pulse. “No? What kind of guy exactly would you fall for?”
Allison looked around the room. There was still a nice-sized crowd laughing and mingling. Christmas music filled the merry air. “I wouldn’t fall for any kind of guy right now. That’s why I’m pretending with you.”
This year, the Grinch isn’t green. No, ladies. Thanks to Annie Rains, this year the Grinch is tall, dark and deliciously handsome…!
Welcome Home For Christmas is a beautiful and funny Christmas romance that will get you in the right mood for the holidays, and will make you swoon and wish you were in Allison’s shoes.
All books in the Hero’s Welcome series are somehow connected (mainly by the recurring characters) but they can be read in any particular order, so you can start from this one if you’d like. However, I would recommend starting from the first one (which was absolutely heart-melting), and following the stories of each couple in the order they happen, to enjoy the series even more.
Although the trope might seem like something that’s already been seen and read (single girl in need of a fake boyfriend decides to hire handsome guy who’d go to her family meeting with her), I liked how Annie Rains gave a fresh twist to it, creating a beautiful story that will keep you turning pages to find out what happens next.
Allison is a very nice and relatable character, a heroine you can’t help rooting for from the very beginning. She’s torn between wanting to be independent and needing to feel loved by a man who won’t disappoint her. To make things worse, her mother is a renowned psychologist who never approved of any of the boyfriends Allison has brought home in the past—and she was always right about them. It’s no wonder Allison is freaking out about bringing Troy home this Christmas, knowing her mother will shred him to pieces before dinner is through—but this time Allison is stepping into it with her eyes wide open: she won’t get attached to Troy because, after all, she “purchased” him at the Christmas charity auction, so their relationship is purely a business one. No feelings involved, no hopes for a future. Too bad this Grinch/Marine is as handsome as they come…
Troy. Do I really have to comment on him? I mean, can’t you just trust me when I say he’s the most adorable, swoon-worthy Grinch that ever existed? Every hero in this series has something that will steal your heart from the very first moment he steps into the scene, and Troy isn’t any different. He’d appeared briefly in the previous book, Welcoming The Bad Boy, so I didn’t know much about him when I first started the book. Little by little, he took a piece of my heart and held it captive, while I held my breath and wished for his happily-ever-after with Allison. I loved seeing how he slowly evolved from a Grinch who didn’t want to get involved either in a serious relationship and in the Christmas spirit. I enjoyed the cheeky comebacks and how he got a kick out of embarrassing Allison when they were only meant to pretend to be dating. He’s as funny as he’s hot—a deadly combination.
Welcome Home For Christmas is a truly beautiful story, with just a bit of steam and a whole lot of heart-warming and entertaining moments, that will keep you smiling and swooning for a few hours. I highly recommend picking up this book, shutting out the rest of the world and losing yourself in Allison and Troy’s story for a few hours.
Sadly, we’ve come to the final book in this beautiful series, and I can’t deny I’ll miss the people of Seaside. With each new book it felt like coming home to a group of friends, to a town where people care about one another, where love is in the air all year round—and where all men have hearts of gold, protection instincts and as a bonus seem to have come out of a GQ magazine (is there any chance this town really exists? I’d be happy to jump down a rabbit hole or walk through a brick wall at the train station, or whatever it takes to live there.)
Thank you, Annie Rains, for creating these beautiful stories that kept me smiling, crying, swooning and falling in love with a new book boyfriend every single time. I hope you’ll consider revisiting Seaside one day, with some more stories and follow-ups of the characters we’ve loved so much.
USA Today Bestselling Author, Annie Rains, is a contemporary romance author who writes small town love stories set in fictional towns on the coast of North Carolina. Raised in one of America’s largest military communities, Annie often features heroes who fight for their countries, while also fighting for a place to call home and a good woman to love. When Annie isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and 3 children, or reading a book by one of her favorite authors.