Twelve years ago, Ethan Rutledge's high school sweetheart Wendy Patterson left Bell Cove on North Carolina's Outer Banks without a word. It was his fault, and he knew it, but he still holds a grudge. Yet this year for the first time, Wendy, now a high-powered Navy WEAL (female SEAL), is coming home for Christmas, and Ethan, a widowed single dad and successful Christmas tree farmer, is more uptight than ever. Tempers flare as they sort out the past and try to deal with the inconvenient truth that their feelings for each other have never died. A picture postcard town with a bell-making history; a quirky assortment of meddlesome townsfolk, family, and navy personnel; and a holiday celebration complete with a Grinch contest and outrageous Christmas traditions provide the perfect backdrop for this heart-tugging romance. VERDICT Sassy, spicy, and often hilarious, this holiday charmer is infused with all the seasonal spirit one tiny town can muster. In the disastrous wake of Hurricane Florence, this title with its Outer Banks setting is especially poignant. Hill (Cajun Persuasion) lives in Pennsylvania.
The Christmas bells are chiming across the Outer Banks town of Bell Cove, North Carolina, but there’s one local ‘grinch’ who’s not listening . . .
He’s got bad-boy looks and a Bah Humbug attitude, so when the local paper asks the villagers to vote on the “Biggest Local Grinch” as a fund-raising project, Ethan Rutledge isn’t surprised to hear he’s made the ballot. He might own the local Christmas Tree Farm, but the holiday hasn’t been welcome in his home since Wendy Patterson left him heart-broken twelve years ago.
But now Wendy’s back, fresh from a tour of duty as a female Navy SEAL. She’s bold, beautiful, and has five Navy buddies trailing after her—as if she needs a bodyguard! And what’s all this about them wanting to start a treasure hunting company right here in Bell Cove’s failing bell factory? Then Wendy learns about how Ethan’s been nurturing the one thing he has to remember her by: a gorgeous Norway Spruce tree.
Can the magic of Christmas and the spirit of the town help rekindle the romance between two people who thought they’d left love behind years ago?