Today we have the release day blitz of Jennifer Bernard’s Head Over Heels for the Holidays! Check out this gorgeous new romance and be sure to get your copy today!
Title: Head Over Heels for the Holidays
Author: Jennifer Bernard
Genre: Holiday Romance
About Head Over Heels for the Holidays:
Is he the cure for her holiday heartbreak?
Ever since her ex-boyfriend dumped her on Christmas Eve, the holiday season has been tough for Maya Badger—especially since Lost Harbor, Alaska, pulls out all the stops for the holidays. Sure, she could focus on her police work and her father’s recovery from heart surgery. But when her dad’s home healthcare nurse turns out to be her childhood buddy—all grown up and the stuff of her naughtiest fantasies—she may have a solution to her holiday blues. After all, Jay-Jay always was the perfect playmate!
Rune Larsen hasn’t been skinny little Jay-Jay in a long time…not since he and his teen sister were forced to change their names to avoid Cara’s stalker. Taking a job in tiny, remote Lost Harbor seems like the perfect way to stay one step ahead of danger. The fact that his childhood friend is the town police chief is a bonus. Not to mention the fact that Maya has grown into a beautiful bronze goddess. Hell, even her serious cop side is a turn-on…though he’s up for the challenge of bringing some fun back into her life.
In fact, if they can navigate a stalker, a runaway yak, eleventy-billion holiday parties and a criminal investigation into the dark side of Lost Souls Wilderness, Rune just may convince Maya to fall head over heels for the holidays…and beyond.
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I am probably on my fortieth book in this year’s Christmas Readathon, but this book did stand out. First of all, the location is amazing. I fell in love with the little town of Lost Harbor, Alaska, the place where people put aside their differences and genuinely care for each other. This is Book 7 in the series, but if you are a newcomer, like me, you’re not going to feel lost or confused, you’ll just have a great time getting to know the town inhabitants who sure seem to like their holidays and their parties.
Rune Larsen has a good reason for changing his name and moving to Lost Harbor. He is trying to keep his younger sister Cara (Torrey) safe from a dangerous stalker. His childhood friend Maya Badger lives there and Rune never forgot their carefree time together in Hawaii. Only Maya is all grown up now and has turned into a gorgeous woman who does a very serious job of the youngest police chief in the history of her town . Her father, a retire coast guard, is recovering from a serious operation and is in need of medical assistance, so Maya is relieved when Rune, a trained travel health care worker, arrives at Lost harbor and helps her out. Five years ago, Maya’s boyfriend Jerome broke up with her during the Christmas Holidays, so ever since Maya has been very careful not to get attached to anyone. Unfortunately, the holiday season is also a party season in Lost Harbor and Maya is tired of attending all these social events alone. Her friends are all in relationships, and, while Maya is happy for them, she can’t help it, but feel a bit embarrassed by her own single status. A brilliant idea forms in her mind- Rune, her old childhood friend, who she always feels so safe around, can be her fake boyfriend, just for holidays. This isn’t exactly what Rune himslef would have liked- deep in his heart he knows he would do anything for Maya, so perhaps spending some time together and enjoying every minute of being together with this special woman can be his chance for happiness.
If you are a fan of the fake relationship trope or the friends-to-lovers one, you are going to enjoy this sweet, entertaining, and romantic story. Rune is just perfect and swoon-worthy. All he says and does is full of respect and admiration for Maya. I loved the way they took their time to build their relationship and how their feelings grew naturally. There are some hot and steamy scenes- Jennifer Bernard really knows how to write them! Maya is a hard-working and independent woman, a woman after my own heart. She doesn’t say much, but when she does, people listen to her. She knows that her feelings are changing, and she also recognises Rune’s worth (although her impromptu ‘superstar’ speech does create quite a stir in their little town). I hope I’m not going to spoil for anyone by saying that their feelings remain strong and honest, and all the drama comes from the police investigations, including the case of a runaway yak who is believed by his owner to be a reincarnation of her late husband.
Grab your copy, make yourself a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy this sweet, romantic, steamy holiday read!
Thank you to the author and InkSlingerPr for the review copy. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.
About Jennifer Bernard:
Jennifer Bernard is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. Her books have been called “an irresistible reading experience” full of “quick wit and sizzling love scenes.” A graduate of Harvard and former news promo producer, she left big city life for true love in Alaska, where she now lives with her husband and stepdaughters. She still hasn’t adjusted to the cold, so most often she can be found cuddling with her laptop and a cup of tea. Sign up for her newsletter for book news and fun exclusives.
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Without thinking too hard about it, Maya rose to her feet and grabbed Rune by the collar of his jacket, pulling him close. “How about a fake kiss?” she asked quickly. “Just make it look good from a distance.”
He flashed her a pirate grin and cupped her face with his free hand. “My pleasure. I’m an excellent fake kisser.”
“Come on, hurry.”
He bent his head over hers, but he still didn’t go for the kiss. “You can’t hurry a fake kiss, or it will look fake. We’re flirting, we’re completely caught up in each other, we don’t even care that we’re drifting on the open ocean. Keep looking at me, just like that except without the ‘what the hell are you talking about’ expression.”
She smothered a laugh and relaxed her face into a dazzled smile. As if Rune was the most wonderful thing in the world, better than chocolate and bubble baths combined.
He blinked, as if she’d momentarily thrown him off his game with her smile. A personal triumph, she figured.
“That’s…good,” he said, a little more strained than before.
For a fake kiss, he sure was overthinking it. They needed to get this thing done.
She took command and wrapped her hand around the back of his neck. Tugging him down, she offered him her mouth. “Let’s do this,” she hissed. “Tick-tock.”
Honestly, why did she always have to be the one with any common sense? If those men onshore had binoculars, they were already watching. To throw them off, she only had a few moments. If the men thought they’d been busted, they might rework their entire comms system. The lead would be worthless. The source would be burned. The case back to square one.
And then all thoughts of logic flew from her mind as Rune claimed her lips with a kiss that sent shock waves through her system. Warmth…sizzle…sunshine…all of it swirled together in a rush of brilliant pleasure. His lips were firm and generous at the same time, as if they were inviting her into his world. A world where she would be queen and he would be whatever she needed.
A kind of exhilaration swept through her and she parted her lips for more. He gave it to her, sweeping his tongue inside the cave of her mouth, where every surface tingled and warmed at his touch.
Fake kiss, my ass.
This was the real thing and she couldn’t get enough of it. She drank him in as if she’d been starving for this, pining for it. Her mind—always working, always on guard—let go like an anchor releasing her to drift on the current. She lost herself in the flood of pure physical joy.
She staggered as the boat got slammed with a supersized wave. Rune held her tight so she didn’t lose her balance. “I need to steer this thing,” he murmured against her lips before turning back to the helm.
“Yes. Yeah. Of course.” She ran her tongue across her lips, tasting salt from the spray and sweet from Rune. She plopped down onto the bench as he wrestled with the wheel. Picking up her binoculars, she focused on the spot where the two men had been.
They were gone—or maybe her angle had changed and she couldn’t see them anymore.
She dropped her glasses and sighed. Hopefully she hadn’t messed anything up by making them suspicious. “Go ahead and pick up speed. Let’s keep going toward Mount Sage for a bit.”
Was his voice a little gruffer than usual? Was it the effect of the salt in the air?
He put the boat in gear and they cruised farther into the bay. She watched the little cove as it receded into the distance, swallowed up by the greater landscape of forests and rugged outcroppings.
What now? How to handle this? She and Rune had kissed, and there was no way she could forget about it the way she had when she was a kid.
Maybe never mention it again?
Or maybe do it again?
The tempting thought hovered out there like the promise of an ice cream sundae after a long week. Treat yo-self, she could imagine her cousin Reecie in Anchorage saying. Go for it, Kate would urge. I knew it, Jessica would say.
“Tell me when you’re ready to head back,” Rune said. “It’s your call.” His voice had returned to normal. She wondered what he was thinking about this situation. Then again, he didn’t overthink things like she did. He probably wasn’t worried about it at all. He probably kissed people all the time—all those non-girlfriend “girls” he’d talked about.
“I will,” she told him. “Give it a few more minutes.”
“The other thing is your call too,” Rune said softly, his attention still on the choppy water ahead.
“What are you talking about?”
“I know you’re trying to decide what to do about that kiss. I can see your wheels spinning from here.”
“I’m not—okay, I am. I didn’t intend for it to be like that.”
“It’s my fault.” His voice shifted to a jaunty cheerfulness. “My pride was hurt that you forgot the first kiss. I was aiming for ‘best kiss.’ One that you wouldn’t forget. That’s all.”
It wasn’t all. She could hear it in his voice. It was so much more complicated than that. Friendship, attraction, sizzle…all that, lined up against her better judgment. But even so, it touched her that he was trying to make the whole thing easier for her.
“Best kiss? Isn’t that a little arrogant?” She adopted a teasing tone to match his.
“Second best? Third? Just tell me it wasn’t the worst. Gotta start somewhere.”
“It wasn’t the worst.”
That was as far as she could go right now.
And maybe it was the best. Because right at this moment, she couldn’t think of any other specific kiss that might compete with it.