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Book CoverC2’s review of Hold Her Again by Shannon Stacey
Contemporary Romance published by Carina Press 23 Oct 17

Greetings, Faithful Reader! Have I mentioned lately how much I enjoy small-town romances?? Because I really do! I don’t have a fuzzy, idealized vision of what small-town life is like – hometown population? 3,000. So I know most romances set in small towns show all the best aspects and quirks and ignore the rest. But do I care? NOPE. Add in a favorite author and I am there. Let’s go!

Ava Wright is living a quiet life in her hometown – working in her parents’ café, hanging out with her best friend -.the usual. Except she is also pining (although she might not admit it) over her ex-boyfriend, Jace Morrow. Jace is a big-time country music star now, but he and Ava dated for ages and had plans of hitting it big together. Then Jace got an offer he couldn’t refuse from a fancy manager – to represent just him – and off he went. And Ava hasn’t heard from him since. But Ava knows she won’t be able to avoid him much longer. His dad passed away and now Jace is back in town for the funeral and to settle the estate. It’s too much to hope Jace would send a minion to take care of everything, so now everyone in town is whispering and speculating.

Jace has had years of success in country music and has a good life. But he regrets losing Ava – he knows it was his fault, but he regrets it – he even wrote a hit song about it! He thought, after he established himself in the music industry, he would bring Ava in, but that didn’t happen. After he signed his record deal, he called her and told her he would send her a plane ticket, but her response was not happy-friendly-yay, it was more shove it and your bad decisions – and changed her number. Of course, when they meet face to face, the old chemistry is still there. But the circumstances that led to their breakup haven’t changed and there are a lot of old hurts to deal with. Jace hopes they can get past the hurt and, maybe, take another chance with each other. Maybe he just needs a little more time in his hometown?

The church ladies convince Jace to perform at their Christmas party fundraiser. Since he benefitted from their good works when he was a kid, he can’t say no. Besides, it gives him more time around Ava. Jace even convinces her to sing a song with him at the party – initially she says no, but, when she’s there in the moment, Ava can’t resist.

Can they find their way back together? Is there a place for her is his world? Will old resentments spoil their chance of a happily ever after?? You know I’m not gonna spoil things for you, Faithful Reader.

I really enjoyed this story! It was a quick, sweet read filled with believable characters. It wasn’t crazy dramatic or sequel bait-y (although I want Ava’s best friend to get her story). It was the perfect holiday book – just the right length to curl up with on a cold afternoon, drinking hot chocolate. It (and the hot chocolate) will leave you feeling warm and happy when you finish.

CSquareds C2 Icon Grade: B+


A country-music star returns home to win back the woman he loves in this charming holiday novella from New York Timesbestselling author Shannon Stacey.

Ava Wright isn’t happy to see her high school sweetheart rolling into their hometown a few weeks before Christmas. He’s only come back to bury his estranged father, but there’s no way she’ll be able to avoid him. No one can: he’s become a country-music superstar since going solo and leaving Ava behind.

Jace Morrow grew up believing “money can’t buy happiness” was something people said to make themselves feel better. But now he knows it’s the truth: no matter how many number-one hits he has, he’ll never recapture the magic of singing with Ava. Missing her—loving her—and living with making the wrong choice in life were what made him who he is.

When Jace is roped into being part of the town’s annual Christmas party, he only cares about earning Ava’s forgiveness. And though Ava’s heart has never healed, she loved Jace too much and for too long to shut him out when he’s hurting. As they fall in love all over again, they’re both faced with choices for their future…and this time Jace intends to make the right one.

Read an excerpt.