The Trouble with Christmas
By Debbie Mason
Author’s Website: authordebbiemason.com
Resort developer Madison Lane is about to lose the one thing she loves most in the world—her job. Dubbed “The Grinch Who Killed Christmas,” Madison spoiled a deal that would turn quaint Christmas, Colorado, into a tourist’s winter wonderland. Now the citizens want her fired but the company gives her one last chance, sending Madison to the small town to restore the holiday cheer.
For Sheriff Gage McBride, no hotshot executive from New York City is going to destroy the dreams of the people he loves. But one look at this beautiful woman and it’s his heart that may be broken. In just a few days, Madison causes more trouble than he’s had to deal with all year. He can’t decide if she’s naughty or nice, but one thing is for certain—Christmas will never be the same again.
I am a fan of Debbie Mason’s, having read the Harmony Harbor series, but I must say that she has outdone herself with this introductory novel The Trouble with Christmas in the Christmas, Colorado series. From the very beginning I was entrenched in the lives of the townspeople of Christmas, Colorado and just could not put this story down. It had everything I love in a good romance read: relatable (i.e. humanly flawed) characters, romance, a hiccup to overcome in the relationship department (in this case….a business deal for the town gone bad), hunky male character (can I loved her!) and finally…..a happy ending.
Madison Lane must travel to Christmas, Colorado to appease the townsfolk over the decision that Hartwell Enterprises is not going to build up their town as a tourist winter wonderland. Madison has crunched the numbers and it is just not an economically viable project for Hartwell. Unfortunately, the bosses’ grandson, Harrison, has other ideas. He has leaked to the press (New York Times no less) that this project will not go through as a result of Maddie’s report. In fact, the article has dubbed Madison as “The Grinch Who Killed Christmas”. What is he Harrison up to? Never fear, that will become abundantly clear as one continues to read.
Madison’s arrival in Christmas is anything but low key…and provided quite a chuckle for me – Madison loses control of her car as a result of very icy conditions and runs into and topples over…you guessed it:
“…Three-quarters of the way down the treacherous hill, as she was about to release the breath she’d been holding, a movement to her right caught her attention. A deer leaped from the woods, darting in front of her. She braked hard, the car fishtailing as she slid along the road. From behind a cluster of evergreens at the side of the road, a twelve-foot Santa holding a “Welcome to Christmas” sign seemingly sprang out in front of her like a giant jack-in-the-box.” …….Her last thought before the airbag slammed into her face was that she’d finally succeeded in killing Santa.”
Madison finally arrives at the town hall meeting and encounters MANY hostile townsfolks. But she also encounters a VERY hunky sheriff – Sheriff Gage McBride. I knew I was going to like him and his family from the beginning (okay…mostly because he was hunky but also because his family members were far from ordinary):
“Sheriff Gage McBride stood in the doorway of the old town hall, scanning the familiar faces in the standing-room-only crowd for he one person who could turn the law-abiding citizens of Christmas into a teeth-gnashing mob in ten seconds flat.
His great-aunt Nell.”…..
Gage noted – “Today has shitshow written all over it.”
Over and over again throughout the story Nell provided many chuckle worthy moments. And let me tell you…she is one slick schemer. Needless to say, she is a notable character throughout. A beloved family member who pulls no punches and uses every advantage she has to get what she wants ☺. And her buddies Ted and Fred were hilarious. The three of them definitely got into trouble!
I loved the support Madison has from her friends Vivi and Skye…mostly virtually through skype. Bringing technology into the mix adds a “new age” bit of realism, which as a reader I appreciate. The author also brings in a bit of realism to Maddie’s character – she can’t be good at everything and does have her flaws:
“Madison loved to sing, even though her friends encouraged her not to. No matter what they said, she didn’t believe she sounded that bad.”
One thing leads to another at this “meeting” in the town hall and Maddie ends up having to stay in Christmas longer than anticipated. It goes without saying…..the attraction between Maddie and Gage is palpable. I thoroughly enjoyed how the growth of their relationship was told and the pace in which it did grow. Early on, Madison definitely appreciated Gage’s finer qualities:
“Sweet baby Jesus, it should be illegal for a man to look that good in a pair of jeans. She touched the side of her mouth to make sure she wasn’t drooling.”
Depiction of the local scenery had me wishing for a trip to Colorado:
“Madison opened the French doors off the living room to step onto the deck. As much as the frigid, pine-scented air stole her breath, so did the view. The majestic mountains towering above the pristine snow-covered valley and spruce forest filled her with a sense of reverence. Up until that moment, she’d thought there was nothing more beautiful than the city vistas from her twenty-third-floor apartment window.”
Throughout the story, I was engaged, entertained and quite literally swept away into another world. Fun characters with a few twists and turns, which were unexpected but definitely amusing. I highly recommend this series by Debbie Mason. I shall have to get the second book in the series, Christmas in July and carry on with the series ☺.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*