by Stacy Claflin
He can’t stand her. She thinks he’s crazy. Will their feelings stay etched in permanent ink? Cruz Hunter has always stuck out in his small hometown. Now that he’s covered in tattoos, the residents peg him as even more of an outcast. It seems like the whole world is against his dream of opening a local tattoo parlor. When he finally finds the perfect place for his new business, Cruz discovers a pastor and his daughter have already bought it. The only thing more irritating than the change in his plan is Talia, a beautiful and feisty argument in a dress. Cruz would like nothing more than to have her out of his life and his mind, but for some reason, she’s the only thing he can think about. If Cruz and Talia can stop arguing long enough, opposites may do much more than attract.
Cruz double-checked the house number and walked up the sidewalk and to their walkway. A street lamp turned on as he walked underneath. He’d gone over what he was going to say countless times. There weren’t any other buildings in town he could use for his tattoo shop—the city council had made it clear the only place he would be allowed to do business was the outskirts of town—so he needed to be convincing if he wanted to talk them out of the building.
His sense of humor and charm had always gotten him out of trouble growing up, so he needed to tap into that. So many times, all he’d had to do was tell a joke and laugh, and his teachers would just melt and let him get away with whatever trouble he’d created. It didn’t work quite as well now that he had facial hair and tattoos, but that wouldn’t stop him from trying.
Cruz walked up the steps to the porch and knocked on the door, avoiding a wreath. It smelled of pine, like it had been freshly made.
Noise sounded from inside, and then the door opened. The blonde chick from the day before—what was her name again?—stood before him, wearing another dress. It was bright yellow with a pattern of tropical flowers. Her hair was pulled back and a floral scent engulfed him—her perfume?
She smiled and stepped back. “Come on in, Cruz.”
And she remembered his name. He forced a smile and nodded a thanks, stepping inside. The house had bare furnishings and almost no decorations, spare a few holiday ones.
Blondie closed the door and then Cruz saw a pile of moving boxes. That’s right. They were new to town. “Nice place.”
“We’re still trying to figure out where everything is. You know how moving is.”
She raised an eyebrow.
“But I imagine it’s a pain in the—uh, neck. I grew up in one house, and the only time I moved was when I went to college, and all I packed fit on my motorcycle.”
Her gorgeous blue-green eyes widened. “Really?”
“Don’t look so shocked. I went to UCLA. I graduated, even.”
“That’s not what surprised me. It was because you got everything on a motorcycle.”
“Isn’t UCLA hard to get into? Less than ten percent get in, don’t they?”
Cruz looked away. “I didn’t really pay attention. Just wanted to hang out in LA for a while.”
“What brought you back here?”
“Sure wasn’t the town. My dad had some health problems and I wasn’t really gettin’ along with the guy I was working for, so I just packed up my bike and came back.”
“Is your dad okay?” Talia’s eyes widened. “Do you guys need anything?”
“No, he’s okay now. Takin’ care of himself and everything. My mom and all five of us brothers help out, too.”
“Oh, good. Well, if you do need something, you have our number.”
Cruz nodded and slid off his jacket. Her eyes widened as her gaze went over his heavily tattooed arms. He tried to tell if she was judging him or checking them out. It was hard to tell because her expression didn’t reveal anything. He’d been judged before by religious people, making wild assumptions based on his body art.
Cruz flexed both arms and then held out his jacket. “Someplace I
can hang this?”
Cruz Hunter was just about to buy the old church/restaurant building in order to open his tattoo shop when he discovers its already been bought by Pastor Allen Tisdale and his daughter Talia who are going to restore it back to its former state as a church and reopen it. Boy is he angry!
The town of Seaside has made it almost impossible for him to find a building anywhere in town for him to find a building for his business and this was the last building that he could find available.
Seaside Christmas is a light, fun clean romantic Christmas read. Cruz at first glance is your stereo-typical tattoo-covered, uneducated biker with poor grammar and speech. He totally resents the Tisdales, but Allen has been nothing but kind to him and Talia, rather than being judgemental of his speech and tattoos seems intrigued. So despite himself, he ends up helping them to restore their building.
The story moves along at a good clip with interesting twists and turns in the plot. I liked the contrast between Cruz’ actual personality and the stereo-typical biker with tattoos personality is assumed to be. I also found the entire Hunter clan to be very engaging (pun intended) and likeable. I especially liked the way they stuck up for one another. The theme of the importance of family came through clearly.
I enjoyed the tension of the rivalry for Talia’s attention between Cruz and Julian. Though Julian claimed to be a Christian, he certainly didn’t act like one. Julian was not very likeable.
If I had to find something negative about the book, I would say that the romance progressed rather quickly, but at the same time I would also have to say that sometimes the heart knows when the right person has come along and it doesn’t take years to make that decision.
If you are interested in a quick, clean romantic story to read this Christmas,
Seaside Christmas would be a good choice. I would highly recommend it. I thoroughly enjoyed it and gave it a rating of 5 stars out of 5.
Thank you to the publishers for providing a copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review. A positive opinion was not required. All thoughts are my own.
Each book is a standalone.
Author Stacy Claflin
I don’t stick to a single genre in my writing, reading, or viewing. My favorite shows include Supernatural, The Walking Dead, Pretty Little Liars, Lost Girl, Vampire Diaries, and Once Upon a Time. I've been writing and telling stories for as long as I can remember. As a kid, my story telling would get me into trouble because I would try to convince others that my stories were real. When I'm not busy writing, I like spending time with my family and friends. I also educate my kids from home.
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