| From RomanceJunkies.com|
An orphan raised by her aunt, Raine grew up with fraternal twins Jesse and Jake, who were her neighbors and she was always tagging along after them. Whereas Jesse always had her back, it was Jake who understood her, which has made Raine and Jake’s relationship a bit tumultuous. Eventually, Raine married Jesse, but they were only together briefly before he and Jake were sent to Afghanistan. However, only Jake returned, having been present when his brother was killed. Knowing that at least Jake would be there to help her get through this difficult period, Raine was devastated when he left two weeks after the funeral, right after they landed in bed together while trying to console each other. In the eighteen months he has been gone, she has stood by Jake and Jesse’s parents, who are the only family she has left. But Jake’s dad has been dealing with cancer and Raine is furious that Jake has not made it home yet to be with his dad.
Memories of the day of his brother’s death haunt Jake, preventing him from sleeping. He has loved Raine for many years, but she belongs to Jesse. So their brief encounter has left him feeling guilty. Intending to only take off for a short time to get his head straight, Jake instead stayed away for over a year and has been watching over Blake, another member of his unit who is comatose, having been injured the same day as Jesse. During his time there, Jake has become very good friends with Blake’s sister Lily, and tries to be there for her. Now, with the holidays fast approaching and his father recovering from cancer, Jake heads home, but Lily, who has nowhere else to go, arrives with him.
Raine feels like she is dying a little more each day and has become a recluse, staying closed in with just her puppy Gibson for company. When Jake arrives home, she is still angry with him, but just being around Jake starts bringing her out of her depression. But Raine is also confused; who is Lily and what is she to Jake?
As they find themselves in each other’s company more often, they struggle with the feelings they have for each other. Additionally, they are both hiding secrets that need to come out in the open if they are to have any chance at happiness. Can they each overcome their personal demons and find happiness in their love for each other?
A heartwarming tale, THE CHRISTMAS HE LOVED HER, the second book in author Juliana Stone’s BAD BOYS OF CRYSTAL LAKE series, is a witty, at times, poignant, contemporary romance that will touch your heart. The characters in this beautifully written story are so well-drawn that I almost felt like I knew them and quickly became invested in their emotional story. Both Jake and Raine are broken since Jesse’s death, each grieving in their own way, but by being open and trusting in each other, they can begin to heal.
Hot romance, a bad boy, tender love, guilt, passion, Christmas, healing, hope and second chances intertwine in this deliciously sexy, angst-filled story. At times, sad, there are also some funny moments in this wonderful story. I enjoyed it immensely. Although this book can be read as a standalone, I suggest also buying the first book THE SUMMER HE CAME HOME, for complete enjoyment. THE CHRISTMAS HE LOVED HER is a keeper, not only for the holidays, but all year long. Since reading my first Juliana Stone novel, I have been a huge fan to the point that just seeing her name on a book makes it a must read for me. Pick up a copy of THE CHRISTMAS HE LOVED HER and find out for yourself!
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