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Last year I read The Summer he Came Home which is the first book in the Bad Boys of Crystal Lake series. I thought it was ok, that it was a standard romance that I mostly enjoyed. I assumed that The Christmas He Loved Her would be more of the same but to my surprise it wasn’t. The Christmas He Loved Her was a million times better than its predecessor and I was really impressed with it.
Raine has been struggling ever since her soldier husband dies over a year ago, things were made worse when his brother and her best friend Jake left her as well after a one night stand both were sure should never have happened. Months later Jake is back and Raine who has fallen apart doesn’t know if she should be grateful or angry, but the more time they spend together the more they realise their feelings for each other extend far past friendship.
Before starting this book I knew that it would be a rough ride. Raine and Jake were introducing in The Summer He Came Home and those small snippets were full of painful drama so I knew this would hurt. Angst is not something I am ordinarily fond of, I feel like it has to be done right and it rarely is but Stone got it spot on this time. She carefully weaved together this drama and it never felt overdone. What really surprised me was the amount of emotion I felt whilst reading this. This book bought tears to my eyes and I may have cried just a little bit at some points.
What helped all of this was the wonderful characters and great romance. I connected with Raine instantly, she is despairing and has given up on everything and it takes a lot of courage to come back from that. Reading about her picking herself back up wasn’t always easy but it was worth it. I very much admired her strength.
I really loved Jack as well. He was charming and sweet, his feelings for Raine were so pure. The romance was amazing but again not always an easy read. I loved them together and thought they had real chemistry.
My only issue with this book was that I found it a little predictable in parts but other than that this was an emotional and enjoyable read that I recommend.The publisher provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review