Devon Vaughn Archer
Harlequin Kimani Romance, Dec 2007, $5.99
Seven years old Audrey Beaumont is excited as she expects presents from Santa Claus having been a good girl for the most part all years. She says goodnight to her parents and goes to sleep so St. Nick can come and do his job. However, she awakens to the smell of smoke and the sound of fire. Pearson the firefighter rescues her but dies when he goes back to bring her parents out; they die too.
Over two decades later, Audrey raises her seven year old daughter Stacy by herself; the father ended their relationship once he learned she was pregnant. Audrey honored the courageous firefighter who saved her life with a portrait of her hero. Conrad Pearson has come home after years away to visit his late father. He holds the little girl that his dad died rescuing culpable for his father’s death. Unable to let go he meets Audrey and Stacy, but hides his identity from the two females. He learns how much Audrey honors his dad by listening to Stacy tell him the story of the brave firefighter who saved her mom at the cost of his life as much as by the hero worshipping portrait. As he falls in love with mother and daughter, he found closure with his dad, but will never obtain closure with Audrey and Stacy once they learn who he is.
CHRISTMAS HEAT is a terrific contemporary romance starring two individuals who never met before but are connected by the tragic fire that killed her parents and his father. Audrey and Stacy are perhaps too well-adjusted with all that has happened to them especially the mom. However, Conrad steals the show as the audience will know early on when he talks to his dad at the cemetery how much he still hurts and misses his father. Fans of deep character driven tales will want to read Devon Vaughn Archer’s strong story of love coming out of the ashes of tragedy.