When savvy, up-and-coming floral designer Lauren Beal returns home to Maple Valley, Michigan, for her sister’s holiday wedding, she’s determined to be the perfect maid of honor. She didn’t expect the best man to be the college crush she’d reluctantly left behind to pursue her Chicago-based dreams.
Family practice doctor Mel Jennings always knew he’d remain rooted in Maple Valley to work for his father’s clinic. He happily juggles his demanding practice with philanthropic endeavors that connect him to his tight-knit community. Sparks fly when he reunites with Lauren, the one who ran away. As they enjoy Maple Valley’s Christmas festivities, Mel remembers how close they once were. But can they ever have a future?
Lauren finds herself falling for Mel and suspects the feelings are mutual. Yet they’re both pulled in different directions by work and family. Will the pair find a moment alone during the hectic holiday season to figure things out, or will they miss their chance at love once again?
This is an adult 18+ story that might contain language, possible violence, and/or sexual situations geared to an adult audience.
Title: Christmas in Full Bloom
Author: Denise N. Wheatley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: October 21, 2021
Publisher: Tule Publishing
My Rating: 4.5 stars
First off – that cover is gorgeous! And I want her dress! If I’m just glancing at covers looking for something Christmas-y in the romance genre… my eyes are gonna be glued to this one! Anyway, on to my thoughts on Christmas in Full Bloom.
Lauren left her small hometown of Maple Valley to live her dream in Chicago. She’s the co-owner of “Full Bloom” with her partner, Sasha, where they design the most lovely floral arrangements and are very successful, not to mention career satisfied, with what they’ve brought to life in their business. Now Lauren has scheduled some time off to return home to help her sister, Tina, with her wedding plans as well as stand as her Maid of Honor. Who would have thought that little sis would turn into a mild Bridezilla needing Lauren’s constant attention – or that she’d run into a man she’d definitely crushed on in their younger days.
Mel left for college but returned to go into his father’s medical practice never intending or needing to go beyond his hometown. Heading out for a house call for a friend, the last person Mel expected to be treated for a flu bug was Lauren, back home briefly as Maid of Honor to his Best Man in the upcoming wedding. She’s still as lovely, if not more so than when he knew her but career obligations and interruptions are going to make that “catching up evening” difficult to manage.
I loved every moment spent in this stand-alone title of Christmas in Full Bloom. It’s full of small-town charm, interesting characters, a slow-burn romance, and adults dealing with location and their careers in a way that didn’t involve huge amounts of angst, or misunderstandings simply adults, well, adulting in love but with an eye to realistic expectations as well. This is why I enjoy this author’s stories so much, I can believe in what’s going on within the story, it has just enough “real life” to balance the unique love story of each couple. If you love a good romance, especially at Christmas-time with a believable couple that had choices to be made for their love to go any further then you’ll want to add this one to your “needs to be read” list – or give yourself an early Christmas present.
*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher. That does not change what I think of this story. It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this book.*
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