Saturday, July 9, 2016

All Wrapped Up by Kimberly Kincaid (review)

Talk about a hot lead…Christmas is coming to Pine Mountain—and it has a way of stirring up memories, good and bad. Nick Brennan may manage the Double Shot bar smooth as good whiskey, but his past is a hot mess. When he runs into a burning building to save a little boy, some people start thinking there’s more to his heroism than holiday spirit. And then the local reporter assigned to the story turns out to be gorgeous Ava Mancuso, the girl who got away.
Ava knows what it’s like to have a past. But the changes she’s seen in Nick since she knew him do more than set off her natural curiosity—his warm eyes and gruff charm have her instincts fired up. Still, all the chemistry in the world doesn’t erase history, even when Nick invites her to his little sister’s mistletoe wedding. Does he have a heart under all those secrets? Or is this going to be just another Christmas past?


My review:

4.75 out of 5 stars

All Wrapped Up by Kimberly Kincaid is part of the ‘Pine Mountain’ series and follows bar manager Nick Brennan who is blindsided when his rescue of a young boy brings unwelcome media attention, particularly from reporter Ava Mancuso who inexplicably abruptly ended their love affair 7 years prior. Dealing with Ava’s persistent curiosity and coping with his past demons and current physical limitations pushes Brennan’s buttons and tempts him to retreat, but Ava is determined in more ways than one and refuses to make the same mistakes she made in the past. The only problem is that Nick also has his own share of mistakes to deal with and he may never be ready to move past them.

This contemporary romance tale piqued my interest because of the quirky and snarky imagery and kept me interested as Nick Brennan’s history unfolds. Who can resist characters who declare things like: “Pardon me while I fly the bullshit flag with your name stitched to the side.”? It was enthralling to watch as the mystery of his recent life is gradually revealed to the reader as well as to reporter Ava Mancuso, whose shared past history with him complicates their current relationship.

I was immediately drawn into Nick’s struggle with pain and impressed by his refusal to let it handicap him and touched by the close relationship he has with those around him, but I was frustrated by Ava at times. Her persistence at her job for so long in the face of such negativity and her actions in the past were both a little puzzling to me but I had to admire both her ethics and her compassion. I’m not usually fond of an overabundance of clich├ęs and slangy phrases in books but I thought they fit perfectly with the breezy and speedy pace of this story, and I was caught by the first page and delighted by the balance between angst and lighter moments as the drama escalated until the emotional reveal. This was another great story by a talented author and I look forward to even more tales in this series.

A copy of this story was provided for review
A version of this review was submitted to Night Owl Reviews

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