I am a BIG Winter Renshaw fan. The first book I ever read of hers was given to me as an ARC, and I had not been familiar with her writing. That first book grabbed me and made me a perpetual fan.
When I saw that she had another book releasing this week, Exmas, I needed to get my hands on it, and I did. The story follows Joa and Reed, former co-workers with benefits. They have a whirlwind $ex affair that ends with Reed “stealing” a job promotion from Joa. Devastated and feeling humiliated, Joa leaves and transfers to another office near her familial home, separating herself from Reed. A year later, Reed lands in Joa’s office, seeking to rekindle their relationship. Unfortunately, Joa still feels hurt by Reed’s betrayal, and she struggles to forgive and forget. Will they reconcile and become something more? That is the question of this story.
From the outset, I was not a Reed fan. In fact, it took most of the book to like this guy. I’ve never felt that way reading a Winter Renshaw book, and I was worried that he was irredeemable. It’s devastating to read a romance and kind of hate the male hero. However, as is the case with her stories, we soon understand Reed’s motivations for his actions, and he becomes the swoon-worthy male hero typical of most romances.
Enter Joa. I love a smart, strong, driven female hero. I love when she can stand up against the alpha male. I love a woman who is, quite frankly, smarter than the main male in the story. And Joa inhabits all of these characteristics. There were so many times in this story when my heart hurt for Joa. There were also times when I was disappointed in her inability to let go of her hurt. Thankfully, together, Reed and Joa find a way to move forward.
It is in that moment that this book becomes delicious, but it takes most of the story for that to occur. Don’t expect any fast reconciliation in this book. It’s also something I loved about the story. A slow burn or a slow fix keeps me engaged, and Exmas offers that.
Read this book. You will not want to put it down. Be forewarned that Renshaw has fun playing with the timeline of the story, but she labels her flashbacks so well that I never felt lost. You will love this story and its ending, and you will eventually love the HEA for these characters.
In love and romance,