Unexpected Gifts -- Book 1 of Castle Mountain Lodge
Unexpected Endings -- Short story from Castle Mountain Lodge series (#2.5)
-- Elena Aitken
This was a short and sweet Christmas-y fluff piece that has a cute, even if predictable plot device:
Due to some tragic and heart-breaking events in her recent life, Andi Williams runs off to Castle Mountain Lodge to escape the holiday cheer all around her. But upon arrival, the lodge had some mix-ups and her room reservation is no longer available. To the rescue is an old friend, Colin Hartford, who offers up one of the rooms in the villa suite he's staying in with hopes that he'll be able to get to know Andi a little bit better and maybe even change her bitter outlook on Christmas.
Setting aside the fact that I personally, would probably NOT agree to stay in a villa suite with a stranger, once again, once the story got going it was rather cute. Sure, it tries to make Colin out to be a long time friend, but technically, he's a friend of Andi's ex and they've met all of one time. So he's still technically a stranger. Given my own personal paranoid self, I probably would have just taken up the hotel's offer of sleeping on a couch in the staff residency.
But that's me and that's probably why I'm still single after all these years.
And then there's that one last stretch for romantic angst at the end of the book that probably could have been avoided if everyone would have just stopped being sneaky or secretive or too bothered to talk to each other...
Nonetheless, setting ALL of that aside, I found the book serviceable as a holiday romance. And then I found out that there's a "Steamy" version of this book (and subsequent books in this particular series) and wondered if I might have enjoyed that one more given the lack of sexy times in this version (not that I'm a nympho or anything...).
As for Unexpected Endings, it just felt like an unnecessary short story addition.
I read it because it was included in the Kindle book version at the end of Unexpected Gifts, detailing some extra stuff about Andi and Colin. It could have probably just been added as an epilogue? Or something?