Welcome Home for Christmas by Annie Rains
Genres: Hero's Welcome #4
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 8, 2016
The bestselling Hero’s Welcome series continues with a juicy Christmas romance, a short novel set in Seaside, North Carolina, where the 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.
Allison is dreading the family Christmas gathering since it's just another opportunity to be hounded about her single-and-no-prospects status. On a whim she bids on Troy during a charity auction with the thought of having him pose as her boyfriend. Problem solved, right?
Troy is a military police officer and is anti-Christmas. Ever since a big argument with his brother he hasn't gone home for Christmas and tries to avoid anything to do with it. But when a buddy tricks him into a holiday bachelor auction he finds himself going along with it since it benefits an orphanage. And he has no complaints when the attractive Allison "buys" him. He's willing to go along with her ruse on one condition: they spend some time together before Christmas so they'll be believable as a couple.
As always, Rains has written totally likable characters that are so easy to pull for. Her main characters are always good people with great chemistry and Allison and Troy are no exception. Troy is truly a stand-out guy. Warm and charming and funny, he helps out when and where he's needed and really goes above and beyond. Allison is dedicated to her work at the veteran's center where she is a director and, like Troy, is civic-minded and always willing to lend a hand where needed. Their "fake" relationship felt real from the very start because it was so apparent they belonged together - they just wouldn't allow themselves to accept it so easily.
My only quibble lies with Allison's constant deference to her mother's opinion. It rankled that an independent, professional woman like Allison would give such credence to her mother's feelings about her romantic relationships. And not just be swayed by them but basically turn them into self-fulfilling prophecies. It seemed odd to me that a grown woman would allow her mother's opinion to matter so much. Because of this I sometimes got a little frustrated with Allison and was antsy for her to show more backbone and make her own choices, regardless of anyone else's opinion.
Even with that one issue, Troy and Allison's story is still completely enjoyable. I liked how they each approached their pretend relationship and what their expectations were. There was plenty of humor and seeing some familiar faces from previous books was an added bonus.
Welcome Home for Christmas is the fourth book in the Hero's Welcome series but can easily be read as a stand alone. Those who like their romance on the sweeter side without a lot of angst will find plenty to enjoy here.
Note: This title was provided to me in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion of the book or the content of this review.