• Happily This Christmas by Susan Mallery
Happily This Christmas Book Cover Happily This Christmas
Happily Inc
Susan Mallery
Contemporary Romance
HQN Books
29 September, 2020

There’s no place like Happily Inc for the holidays…

Wynn Beauchene has a thriving business, a great kid and a mildly embarrassing crush on the guy next door—local cop Garrick McCabe. She’s a strong, independent woman who can’t help dreaming what-if about a man she barely knows. Until he needs her help…

Garrick’s pregnant daughter will be home for Christmas, and his house needs a woman’s touch. Garrick and his little girl were tight once and he’s hoping a small-town Christmas will bring her back to him. But thawing his daughter’s frosty attitude will take more than a few twinkle lights. Maybe sharing the holiday with Wynn and her son will remind her of the joy of family.

As the season works its magic on these wounded souls, Wynn realizes it’s time to stop punishing herself for a painful secret, while Garrick remains haunted by the ghosts of past mistakes. Will he allow Wynn to open the only gift she truly wants—his heart?

Home for the Holidays

Happily This Christmas by Susan Mallery is the sixth book in the Happily Inc series, but my first by this author. I have heard her name many times however, as she is one of my mom’s favorites, so when this came across my kindle I was so excited to get my first introduction to her work. While I do think the story would benefit from having read the previous books, it is a standalone that can be appreciated by itself. 

Our leading lady Wynn (how adorable is that name?) is a single mom of a young teenager who is starting to realize that it is time for her to start prioritizing her needs and venture back into the dating scene.  Coincidentally around this same time her gorgeous neighbor Garrick begs mercy that she help him prepare to host his estranged, pregnant daughter whose husband is deployed.  His daughter Joylyn is less than pleased to spend time with the father that she feels abandoned her as a young teen and makes that obvious at every opportunity. It is up to Wynn to help Garrick reconnect with his daughter so they can have the relationship they both have been missing.  

From the start, the friendship between Wynn and Garrick was genuinely sweet and supportive as she helped him prepare to see his daughter that he no longer knew due to a misunderstanding years back. Their interactions were timidly flirtatious and it was a treat to see their relationship build slowly throughout the story. While Wynn may have provided incite to the female brain, Garrick was able to help her find her way through the terrifying minefield that is dealing with a teenager.  They were the perfect complement to the other’s parenting style and came together as a solid team to deal with the various issues that came their way. It was obvious from reading other reviews that Joylyn was not a favorite character in this book as she came off obnoxious and entitled, but as someone who has been a young, pregnant wife with a deployed husband It wasn’t hard for me to commiserate with her pain and frustrations. People are not perfect all of the time, and this was a tiny glimpse into one of the most painful parts of her life. As she learned the truth about what happened with her father in the past she is able to come to terms with what she lost and how to move forward together with him as a family.  

One thing I feel compelled to mention is that while this was set around the holidays and that was a catalyst for Wynn and Garrick getting to know each other better I would not classify this as a “Christmas book.” This was an extremely adorable friends-to-lovers that happens to occur close to Christmas.  It does not make it any less of a great read, but it doesn’t give you the warm hot chocolate with marshmallow feelings you would expect to get with a Christmas themed addition to the series. 

After getting brief introductions to the characters from the rest of the series throughout I am confident that I will be diving back in to get to know everyone better very soon.  If you are looking for something to read over your holiday break this is definitely one to reach for.