I have to confess for a real thing for stories about two people becoming lovers in a snowstorm, probably because I fell in love with my husband during one. Given my penchant for them, I’m sure more than one romance I’ll write will have this trope as an element.
So I was excited when a couple of snowbound books came across my radar. The first one, North of Need by Laura Kaye, is the first of a series entitled Hearts of the Anemoi and, since one of the characters is a snow god, falls soundly in the paranormal romance category. Young widow Megan Snowe (I know, cute, right?) has decided to spend the holidays by herself at her mountain cabin since she just hasn’t been able to get into the spirit of season. Her wonderful husband died two years ago and many of Megan’s dreams were abandoned then as well. Lonely and sad, she builds a snow family and cries when she realizes that she’s unconsciously created the one thing she believes she’ll never have.
Owen Winters (love the naming, seriously) literally appears on her doorstep practically naked and shivering. An ancient god of winter called into corporeal form by her tears, he has heard Megan’s late husband’s plea to help and protect her. Already in love with her from afar, Owen has taken the opportunity to obtain a temporary human form and use the snow (he needs the cold to survive) to woo her. If Megan can admit to loving him, he would be able to stay with her forever, but her scars run deep. A major snit on the part of one of his brothers, who controls the warm weather, has the snow melting at a rapid pace. With Megan reluctant to admit to fact that she’s fallen hard for this gorgeous stranger, this change of weather puts their future in jeopardy.
Laura Kaye makes this hero and heroine incredibly appealing and easy to love. Megan is a beautiful but damaged heroine who realizes that everything you love can be taken away in a moment, an awareness that has her reluctant to risk her heart again. Owen is temptation personified, not just in his hot body (not hard to believe he’s a god from the description here) but from his loving personality. His indulgence in the sensory ability of his new form make for some of the best and most erotic scenes in the book! No one who takes a chance on this well priced volume (I only paid $4.99 for my Kindle edition) will be sorry with this happily ever after or the hints at the future books in the series.
Browsing my new account in NetGalley led me straight to Carina Press‘ latest offerings and I was thrilled to stumble across the contemporary romance novella Snowbound with a Stranger by Rebecca Rogers Maher. While the snow aspect drew me to the story, I am also on a novella binge since I’m finishing up a class in writing novellas (given by the ever wonderful Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal Chapter of the Romance Writers of America).
Burned out nurse Dannie Marino is hiking with colleagues from her hospital and trying not to notice hunky Lee, a recent addition and expert hiker. As the temperature drops, Dannie gets separated from the group by accident but doesn’t start to panic until the snow begins to fall. Luckily before she succumbs to hypothermia, Lee finds her and is able to get her back to the cabin owned by Dannie’s doctor friend, who has led the rest of the group back down the mountain to safety.
With no electricity or other people to distract them, Lee and Dannie are forced to face the crackling electricity (and I mean crackling, you’ll never look at a Scrabble board the same way again) between them. Lee is flooded with not only desire but emotion he hasn’t felt since 9/11 and losing his wife to cancer nine years ago, while Dannie discovers that, while it’s cold outside, her prickly layer is softening as Lee sees through the job and relationship defenses she’s held in place for years.
Rebecca Rogers Maher could teach her own novella class without a doubt. Even with only 73 pages to play, she not only crafts a compelling love story between two damaged individuals but paints vivid characters with just a few brush strokes. I appreciated that her protagonists were older (late thirties, early forties) yet still just as sexy as the taut young bodies we enjoy reading about in other romance novels. Maher also won my admiration with the way she portrayed Lee’s complex sexuality. While Dannie comments that his occupation of social worker means he’s a nice guy and probably a beta, Lee has no trouble dominating her in bed and taking initiative, while managing not be the typical non-communicative alpha teetering on the brink of the jackass moniker.
The heat of summer will be here soon enough, but for now, I’m going to enjoy my time with a good snowbound romance. Hope you manage to keep warm!