Sep 26

Hot Winter Nights by Jill Shalvis Review



Who needs mistletoe?

Most people wouldn’t think of a bad Santa case as the perfect Christmas gift. Then again, Molly Malone, office manager at Hunt Investigations, isn’t most people, and she could really use a distraction from the fantasies she’s been having since spending the night with her very secret crush, Lucas Knight. Nothing happened, not that Lucas knows that — but Molly just wants to enjoy being a little naughty for once…

Whiskey and pain meds for almost-healed bullet wounds don’t mix. Lucas needs to remember that next time he’s shot on the job, which may be sooner rather than later if Molly’s brother, Joe, finds out about them. Lucas can’t believe he’s drawing a blank on his (supposedly) passionate tryst with Molly, who’s the hottest, smartest, strongest woman he’s ever known. Strong enough to kick his butt if she discovers he’s been assigned to babysit her on her first case. And hot enough to melt his cold heart this Christmas.


A Jill Shalvis novel is a surefire, no fail, smile-the-whole-way-through, joy for me read to read. When I think of classic contemporary romance, she inevitably is one of the first authors who comes to mind. She pens the kinds of stories that are full of heart and soul, rich with humor, vividly detailed, romantic love stories that I can’t help but be swept up in. They’re sweet and sexy with terrific banter and full of as many laugh-out-loud moments as they are passionate, sizzling hot ones. The sixth book in her Heartbreaker Bay series, Hot Winter Nights was a great example of her style of warm and cozy contemporary romance, and it was a cover-to-cover pleasure to read.

A truly engaging story with a dual-pronged arc, Hot Winter Nights was the perfect story to usher in fall. Not exactly a Christmas story, there were, however, holiday-themed elements that contributed to the suspense arc of the plot. Shalvis is known for her swoon-worthy, sexy alpha males, and she gave her readers a strong and seriously hot one in Lucas. He’s suffered through losing people close to him, and as a result, he’s a bit closed off emotionally. Molly is kind of the same, having grown up without her mother but with a military veteran father dealing with severe PTSD who needed substantial care, requiring a young Molly to grow up quickly. An accident in her teen years left her with physical scars and a limp, which, unfortunately for the strong-willed and proud Molly, just makes the (many) men in her life a bit overprotective, something she abhors. What I liked most about Lucas was how he immediately understood that about her, and he looked past all of that to see the capable, clever, resourceful woman that she was, and instead of holding her back under the guise of protecting her, he was the only one who encouraged her to fly.

I really liked Molly and Lucas as a couple, they were very well paired, and I think part of that was because they were so in sync with each other that they actually seemed like a couple before they officially became one. I loved their internal dialogue, and how those private revelations gave the reader insight into the thoughts and feelings of these two characters who weren’t very emotionally demonstrative. Since neither Molly nor Lucas shared their emotions readily, these glimpses into what was going on in their heads played a significant role in building the depth of the relationship. They also had incredible chemistry, something they both fought at first. Where they may not have eagerly or easily communicated what they were feeling outside of the bedroom, they definitely had no problems doing so inside of it.

I can always count on Jill Shalvis to deliver an entertaining and charming story with endearing characters, and she certainly did that here. Hot Winter Nights was a captivating blend of heart-string pulling moments and a steamy love story with lots of wit and humor and a truly interesting suspense plot that kept me just as invested in the story as the romance did. Always well written and developed, Ms. Shalvis’ writing, for me, epitomizes everything I love about classic contemporary romance. Hot Winter Nights by Jill Shalvis gets 4.5 smooches from me!

~ Danielle Palumbo