Excerpt, Reviews

The Reluctant Santa by Sylvia McDaniel – Review/Giveaway

Giveaway Info: Prize is 2 eBook copies of “The Reluctant Santa” (1 each to 1 winners). Contest is tour-wide and open internationally. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Ends Dec 4.  Rafflecopter link is at the bottom of the post.  🙂  Good Luck!

The Reluctant Santa

by Sylvia McDaniel

Published by Virtual Bookseller

Genres: Paranormal Romance

Heat Level: Sensual

Length: 200 pages/80,000 words

 

Available at:

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/The-Reluctant-Santa-ebook/dp/B009TGLJHE

 

Blurb:

Colin McDermott has one last chance to get Christmas right. Since his mother abandoned him on Christmas Eve never to return, Colin McDermott has hated Christmas and sworn never to have children. But this year two angels are giving him everything he didn’t want. A Santa suit, a child and a chance at love again. This is his last chance to learn the true meaning of Christmas.

 

Excerpt:

“His soul is mine,”Devon, the devil’s angel, said. He watched the humans, who were oblivious to his presence, gathered in the sales office. One of the best things about being an angel was his ability to pop into just about anywhere and spy on his subjects without their knowledge. He could observe the humans as if were watching a play and even occasionally act as director.

 

A chill wind howled outside the downtownDenveroffice, heralding the arrival of winter and the holiday season. The perfect time of year to increase his soul count.Devonstudied his next soul, a brown-haired young man with expressive brows and a quirky grin. Unbeknownst to him, the salesman’s life meter was about to expire unless he made drastic changes.

 

“Devon,” a voice echoed into the atmosphere before the being that irritated him the most shimmered into his vision. “Doing a soul count before he’s yours?”

 

Slowly, an angel materialized, clad from head to toe in a white leather jacket and white knee-high boots fit snug over white leather pants. A gold belt around her waist, held a cross that signified sergeant, angel, first class. Her halo was tilted at a rakish angle. In earth terms, Gabriella looked hot.

 

“Whoever is in charge of your wardrobe, I like the changes they’ve made,”Devonsaid, letting his eyes rake her until a searing heat reminded him he was crossing boundaries. “Please tell me they ditched the boring robes.”

 

With a toss of her blonde hair, her blue eyes flashed, glinting silver as her brows rose.

 

“My robes are hardly boring, but no, one of my cases is a motorcyclist. I’m riding shotgun today, trying to keep him from splattering all over the highway. The robes kept blowing up in my face, so I found a solution.”

 

“Nice!”Devonshook his head and forced his eyes back to the human whose life he’d soon influence. “I thought your promotion at Easter took you out of the saving souls division.”

 

Gabriella smiled as the air around her shimmered. Why didn’t the angels from purgatory patrol get that shimmery essence?

 

“Devon, we work so…well together” she said, drawing out the word until he wanted to snap at her. He held onto his temper.

 

“We’re all looking for ways to make quota this time of year. Only the strongest stay out of the pit, and every time I come up against you, I lose. But not this time. This one belongs to me,” he announced, staring at the man whose only interest in life was making money. No family, no girlfriends, no friends— just work and money.

 

Gabriella tsked. “Now why would you want to send this poor man to hell for eternity? He just needs a little coaxing to choose the right path.”

 

Devonsighed. “His time is about to expire. I’m here to collect his soul.”

 

“Maybe,” she said. “Unless, I can give him some guidance and save him from evil.”

 

“Not this time. Heavenly angels may not be able to play dirty, but I can,” he said, smiling at Gabriella. “And I intend to win this one.” Gabriella laughed.

 

“Always so arrogant,Devon.” She glanced at their human. “His case is challenging, but I’m certain I can help him.”

 

She turned towardDevon, her brows rising. “Playing dirty landed you where you are now. Why should I expect anything less?”

 

“How I got here doesn’t matter. I need this soul,” he snapped. “You make your soul count or the big man sends you back to the pit to fight and claw your way back for another chance.”

 

“And Colin McDermott needs to be saved,” Gabriella said, swirling back to their subject. “I mean, look at the poor man. He has no idea his priorities are in the wrong place. He’s a selfish, greedy man because he’s unloved.”

 

“Love!”Devonexclaimed. “You heavenly angels think loving someone solves everything.”

 

Gabriella shook her head atDevon, her blue eyes darkening with some sort of power. “Even you deserved love,Devon. In fact, if I had been your angel, I would found someone to show you love. Hopefully, you’d have been smart enough to grab the lifeline.”

 

“Well, you weren’t my angel, and now I’m the big man’s soul catcher.”

 

“It’s simple,Devon. Why would you want to lure more men into the darkness you already face?” she asked.

 

Devonclenched his fist, struggling to control the frustration that spiraled through him. Hell was not a place anyone planned on going. “The pit!” he said. “Let’s just concentrate on the human.”

 

“I already was.” She contemplated Colin McDermott. “He’s quite handsome with those long, sandy lashes and sparkling honey eyes. If I were human, one look and he’d melt my heart.”

 

“Women on earth know he’s not a good risk. I could wrap this case up before Christmas, if you weren’t here.”

 

“Too bad. I’m here to keep you from destroying him,” she said, giving him a stern frown. “The poor soul has no idea of what he’s about to face. I’m sure you’ve got some nasty surprises in store for him, some hard to resist temptations. But hopefully, with my guidance, he’ll make the changes his life needs.”

 

Devonshook his head. “No, by Christmas he’ll be mine. Count on it.”

Review:

Can I admit that I don’t usually read Christmas stories?  I know, weird huh?  I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas and have since I was a teenager.  Long story that I might tell sometime.  Well, when I signed up for the tour, the cover sold me.  Yes, it has a dog on it.  I’m a sucker for dogs.  What I didn’t expect was two stubborn, hard headed individuals, a wise beyond her years little girl and two angels fighting over one man’s soul.

 

Yes, there is a paranormal element woven into the story and its perfect.  I will admit that the “bad” angel, Devon made me want to slap the crap out of him with his deeds but Gabriella balanced him out in the end.  This book is as much their book as it is Colin and Brooke.  *hint hint* for a book about them.  Ahem…anyway, the little twist with Devon and Gabriella at the end still has me thinking.  Hmmmm…..

 

Colin is your typical workaholic man.  But underneath that exterior is man haunted by his childhood and the events that happened to him on Christmas Eve when he was a child.  I wept for him when I found out his backstory.  I completely understood him but at the same time, I wanted to shake him to see what kind of life he could have with Olivia and Brooke.  Facing a major promotion and finding his college sweetheart puts a wrench in his life.  Let’s not forget the HUGE secret that Brooke is keeping from him.

Brooke, more than once did I really want to slap.  While her secret was big, she had a lot of explaining to her dad and especially Colin.  I understood her fears but she never gave Colin the chance to voice his opinion or options but in college.  In the end, she came to realize how much she needed him now and back then.  As a mom, I understood her and her actions.

The book made references to my all time favorite Christmas movie, Miracle on 34th Street.  Brooke had a lot of Doris in her and Olivia…she channels Susan in her “wise beyond her years” approach to Santa Claus.  The scenes with Colin in the Santa suit are laugh out loud funny and poignant.  BTW, this is a HUGE compliment to Ms. McDaniel with the references.  🙂

I can not HIGHLY recommend The Reluctant Santa to everyone including readers that don’t read Christmas stories.  This one will warm your heart and realize that not everyone has found memories of Christmas’ past and that’s okay.  This too shall pass…with the help of two angels.

 

It is one of Harlie’s Top Ten books of 2012.  I plan to re-read it right before Christmas.  🙂

 

 

About the Author:

Sylvia McDaniel and her very supportive husband Don, the love of her life, live inTexaswith son Shane, Putz the klutzy dachshund and Ashley our shy dachshund. During the day, she works for a small insurance agency from home, helping clients with their commercial insurance coverage.

 

The weekends are spent working out in the garden until the temperature climbs above ninety degrees. Recently, with the help of her husband, she learned to make homemade blueberry and blackberry jam. Cooking is not her favorite past-time and she prefers Don’s cooking any day of the week.

 

Currently, she’s written fourteen novels.  In the last year, she’s been a finalist in six writing contests and was a 1996 Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalist. Sylvia is very involved with the Dallas Area Romance Authors.

 

She can be reached by email at Sylvia.McDaniel@verizon.net.

 

Visit Sylvia online at:

Website – http://www.sylviamcdaniel.com

Blog – http://plottingprincesses.blogspot.com

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/SylviaMcDanielAuthor

Twitter – @WriterSylvia

 

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