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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Winter Fire by Jess Dee

Winter Fire by Jess Dee
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (82 Pages)
Other: M/F, Ménage, M/F/M
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Holly

Guilty pleasures can heat the coldest winter night…

A Red Hot Winter story.

There’s never been any question in Rachel Ashberg’s mind. Jackson Brooks is the one, and they both know it. The problem? Thanks to his unbreakable rule—never date his twin sister’s friends—he’s completely off-limits. Even if they can’t imagine being with anyone else.

It’s been over two years since their last encounter, when they gave in—just once—to their passion. Now, as the Brooks twins’ milestone birthday approaches, Rachel and Jackson are about to meet again at a gorgeous mountain resort. Needing something to take the edge off the desire that has never faded, she indulges in a fling with sexy stranger Garreth Halt. He even makes her forget Jackson for a while. Or…maybe not.

When she mentions Jackson’s name in passing, Garreth picks up on all the hidden undertones in her voice. And he brings Jackson into their bed, if only in a fantasy they play out together. Funny thing about Garreth’s fantasies, though. Even the most improbable, impossible ones have a way of becoming reality…

Twelve years is a long time to love someone you can’t have.

Rachel Ashberg left everything behind to escape the man she has loved for all that time; a man she can never have because of a promise made to protect his sister, no matter what. Two years after the last time she saw Jackson Brooks, Rachel travels to a gorgeous mountain resort to help her BFF Jenna and her twin celebrate their thirtieth birthday. The problem is, Jenna’s brother is Jackson, and Rachel has to find a way to act like she is nothing more than friends with him. Enter Garreth, the handsome and sexy man Rachel decides to use to try and take the edge off. She hopes that enough meaningless sex will dull the edge of her feelings for Jackson, and she can get through the weekend relatively sane. But when Garreth proves to be more than some stranger, in fact he is Jackson’s housemate, will Rachel be able to make it through the weekend? What is Garreth’s real goal with Rachel and Jackson? Most important, can there be a future, finally, for Rachel and Jackson after all?

Jess Dee has written a touching story of star-crossed lovers, with a bit of a twist. And what a hot twist it is. The emotions in this story pack quite a punch, from the beginning to the end. The characters are well developed, and very likable: these are people you might know or want to know. The location is lovely and seductive and just far enough off the beaten track to work well here. And Jess Dee adds enough hot and sexy action to melt the snow in the whole northern hemisphere.

Rachel is such a strong and loyal friend. She is determined to deny her love for Jackson for as long as it takes, to keep her best friend happy and secure. She takes whatever happiness she can from her life, but there is a hole where her heart should be, because her heart has belonged to Jackson for more than twelve years. I loved her sense of loyalty to Jenna, but I so wanted to see her decide to fight for what she wanted.

Garreth comes to the party with a hidden agenda. On the surface, he seems to just be a hot guy looking to hook up, but there is a method to what he does. He is actually Jackson’s best friend, and he shows Jackson what he could have with Rachel, if only he would wise up. Garreth has all the moves, but what I liked most about him is his determination to see his friend happy, no matter what he has to do.

Jackson, the loyal but long-suffering brother, is also one very hot guy. He has given up his one chance at love and happiness because of a promise he made to his sister. But under it all, he truly loves Rachel, and wants to be with her. I liked his passion and his determination to change his life once he realized what both he and his sister had done to the life he and Rachel should have been sharing.

I enjoyed this story on many levels. Yes, it is a very hot and sexy story, but there is a poignant thread of love almost lost forever running through it. I also loved Garreth’s methods for dealing with the situation, and how he was able to open Jackson’s eyes to what could be. I laughed, and then I cried at the very touching emotions revealed by the three main characters in this marvelous and passionate story. I only hope that Ms. Dee will soon give us Garreth’s story, after the happy ending of this one.

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