Her Christmas Pleasure

Her Christmas Pleasure by Karen Erickson, is a short, yummy candy cane of a story. And yes, I did want you to think of that particular holiday treat for a reason!

Damien Morton promised his best friend, Lawrence Danver, that he would look after the man’s wife, just before Lawrence died. They were, after all, best friends, and it was the honorable thing to do.

What Damien hadn’t counted on was falling in love with Lady Celia Danver. Hopelessly, irrevocably in love. Or that Lawrence’s family would take him in, and come to rely on him in Lawrence’s place. But Damien knows he’s just a man with no family, an employee, however trusted. He can’t really take his friend’s place. His friend was the heir to Earl of Urswick. Damien is nobody.

A nobody who is in love with his friend’s widow. And has been for years. This Christmas, when he and Celia are caught under the mistletoe, Damien gives in to his one chance to kiss the woman of his dreams, before he has to tell her that he’ll be leaving England after New Year’s Day.

That one kiss awakens Celia to something that she hasn’t been willing to let herself see. Damien is more than a friend. And he’s more than the man her five-year-old son wants to be his father. A man she has allowed to act as his surrogate father for several years now.

Damien is a very handsome man she wants to take to her bed.

These two people, Celia and Damien, have to negotiate the rest of their lives during a family Christmas gathering. Damien has the mistaken belief that his origins mean he has nothing to bring to a possible marriage with Celia, that she can somehow do better than a man who not only loves her, but also loves her son. The boy, Theo, already thinks of Damien as his father–Damien is the only father Theo has ever known.

Celia needs to convince Damien that she really loves him, even through she hasn’t shown any sign of it until that mistletoe kiss. And she doesn’t have much time.  Will the course of true love, not to mention really hot lust, run smooth before the holidays are over?

Escape Rating B-: There was more sex than story in this holiday tale. And very hot and spicy sex it was, too. As far as the story goes, I found Damien’s perspective easier to understand than Celia’s. Her enlightenment came a little bit too suddenly for me to completely relate to, although once it was reached, it was understandable that she wouldn’t want to let him go. My question was why she was that blind for quite that long.

His point of view made more sense to me from the beginning. Damien was simply tired of torturing himself by watching someone he couldn’t have, so he decided to put himself out of temptation’s reach by finding a new position–elsewhere. He kept trying to do the honorable thing, but there were limits to his self-control. When those were reached, the author treated the readers to another sensual interlude.

This story can be nicely summed up as a lovely sensual interlude, as was Karen Erickson’s previous entry in her loosely connected Merry Widows series, Lessons in Indiscretion (review).