Jingle Bell Romance, Chapter One, Part One

Well, a day later than I had planned, but hey, at least I’m in keeping with the book itself!

It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and Julia Stanton was expecting a busy day at Toyland.

See, right on schedule!

This year’s Wintermas romance will be Jingle Bell Romance by Mia Ross. Despite the cute and innocuous title, I have a sneaking suspicion we are in for a real treat with this one: our hero is a DICK.

…she was about to pull open the door of Holiday Harbor Sweets when a man’s black leather glove closed over top of her hand.

“Ladies first,” said a deep voice…

When he opened the door and motioned her ahead of him, she returned the smile. “Thank you.”

“Yeah, thanks. I mean, I WAS already first, but I love it when strangers grab me and act like they’re doing me a favor.”

Oh, and hey:

Set against the gently falling slow… [sic]

Heh, really, editors? On Page 1?

Anyway, this first meeting between hero Nick McHenry and heroine Lucy Stanton, is an immediate meet-cute. Julia notices Nick’s “unabashed male interest,” and they stand in line for coffee. Quick exposition reveals Julia as the recently-transplanted daughter of a U.S. Ambassador, and Nick as a former townie, gone for several years, and a magazine editor.


A random townie lady shows up, and she and Nick pick a fight with each other. Seems they grew up together here in little Small Town, Maine, and it also seems that Nick was rather an ass. The woman’s name is Lucy, but Nick calls her “Lucky.”

I know you and your idiot buddies all thought that was funny in high school,” she snarled, “but it wasn’t. It’s even less funny now.”

“Right. Sorry.” His brush-off tone made it clear he wasn’t sorry at all, and Julia couldn’t understand why he seemed to be going out of his way to make Lucy angry.

Yeah, me neither. So, we’re in the first few pages of a book, and already supposed to see our hero as a high school bully who’s still into being an asshole?

I mean, maybe? Then Nick makes very vague reference to Lucy putting a story about him in the local paper, and Lucy says he deserved it, and I’m just even more confused.

The upshot is that Lucy is so upset by this encounter that she leaves without ordering anything. Our hero, ladies and gentlemen?

(This is Book Two in a series. I think I might grab Book One to see who this Lucy is. I hate when I can’t just treat this as a stand-alone.)

Anyway, Julia calls Nick out for “needling her on purpose.”

There was that wicked grin again. “Yeah.”

Yeah, a bully. How charming.

Nick bizarrely says it was all because he “doesn’t have time to make nice“…because he’s got tons of emails to check.


Yeah, he’s staying with his sister and her family, and yes, they have WiFi, but Nick just “can’t concentrate with everyone yakking all the time.

Boy, this guy just keeps getting better, eh? And what a professional, unable to CHECK EMAILS unless there is absolute silence.

Julia decides to offer Nick the use of the WiFi at her toy store, though she has the presence of mind to acknowledge that his “brooding vibe” might not be great for business.

So, that’s it for Part One. Next time, stay tuned as a character uses another character’s WiFi! Truly, the excitement never ends.

Posted on November 30, 2019, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. InquisitiveRaven

    Anyway, Julia calls Nick out for “needling her on purpose.”

    Does anyone ever needle someone by accident?

  2. The hero in a fundie Christian book is a dick? I’m shocked, shocked!

  3. Julia notices Nick’s “unabashed male interest,”

    and suggests he might want to wear less-tight trousers.

    Well, it’s a change from the usual style in that they’ve both gone out and seen the big wicked world, rather than one of them never having felt the slightest urge to leave Nowheresville, (checks) ME.

    Going by goodreads, the first in the series is Rocky Coast Romance, with protagonists “Journalist Bree Farrell” and “handsome young mayor Cooper Landry”. No sign of a Lucy.

    To be fair, if people are yattering in the background it’s pretty hard to concentrate on what one’s reading and writing. (One of the many reasons why open-plan offices are such a terrible idea.) But given how much Christian™ people are afraid of any kind of independent thought, I wouldn’t think they’d worry about that.

    Julia decides to offer Nick the use of the WiFi at her toy store, though she has the presence of mind to acknowledge that his “brooding vibe” might not be great for business.

    Because obviously he’s going to stand in the middle of the HappyFunLand display, rather than say sitting in the break room where none of the customers would see him.

    • How in the hell is he supposed to concentrate on work in a toy store?

      He doesn’t have time to make nice, but he has time to be an ass.

  4. It’s not bullying if you have a good reason. Like Jesus.

  5. “Set against the gently falling slow”

    I see this year’s winermas novel is set in the Discworld universe.


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