by Valerie Bowman
Series: Playful Brides #10
Published on October 30, 2018 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Genres: Adult, Historical Romance, Romance
A spirited lady facing spinsterhood. A common man with a noble mission. And a surprise that just might be waiting for them under the mistletoe. . .
Bow Street Runner Daffin Oakleaf abhors Christmas. Carol singing and holiday cheer only remind him of a dark time. When a close friend calls on him for help, Daffin is happy to capitalize on the distraction. But when he learns the lovely Lady Regina is the one in danger, he’s to become bodyguard to the captivating woman…
Regina has one mission: to find a night of passion in the arms of a gentleman. Considered firmly on the shelf, Regina has given up on marriage—but that doesn’t mean she wants to be denied the pleasure married ladies experience. Daffin has long captured her attention…and when a threat calls him to her side, the sparks between them ignite. But how can a hired bodyguard find his way into Regina’s noble heart?
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The Playful Brides series continues with book #10, Kiss Me at Christmas, and it was alright. A perfectly enjoyable romance but it fell apart with the story. Whether that’s the case of this specific book or the fact that it’s the tenth in the series and this particular group of characters is just running out of steam, I’m not sure.
NOW one of the best things about this book was the romance. Which is good because, you know, it’s a romance novel. Regina stood out as a heroine because not only did she know what she wanted but she wasn’t afraid to go after it (and by “it” I mean one hot night with Bow Street Runner Daffin Oakleaf). I see a lot of timid and shy heroines in romance novels so this was a pleasant change and I loved how it was shown in a positive light. Even when Daffin rejected her initially it wasn’t because of her, but emotional baggage of his own. I loved Regina’s attempts to convince Daffin to change his mind because she didn’t harass him. Despite wanting to win him over, she was respectful of his boundaries and emotions.
Daffin has appeared in previous Playful Brides books (as has Regina but I think he’s been in more?) and I’m glad he got his own story. There are so many facets to his character. I felt like I was reading about a real person with how his story unfolds, rather than the carbon copy mysterious gentleman. And his history and hatred of Christmas? Broke my heart! Watching him heal from a lifetime of disliking the holiday was beautiful.
Where Kiss Me at Christmas lost me was the rest of the story. The romance worked. I liked both characters, they had chemistry, plenty of hilarious banter, and an emotional bond beneath all the simmer. But the book just. . . went on. And on. The whole plot with someone trying to kill Regina seemed far-fetched within the realm of this series and this book. More like the author needed a reason for these characters to be together rather than take it in another direction. They had met previously so it wasn’t as though two strangers were coming together. Something just felt off, and at times the story went on a tangent that didn’t entice me to read further.
Did I enjoy Kiss Me at Christmas? Ultimately, yes. I’ve read several books in the Playful Brides series and one day I might go back and read the first few that I missed. And I’ll certainly read more if we get any. If you like lots of action and mystery with your historical romances, this is a good series for you.