Daniel Jarvis and Tara Ellison are at each other's throats over one thing or another, nearly every day at work, but they still can't help feeling a hint of an underlying attraction. When the luck of the draw pairs them with one another for the annual Secret Santa gift exchange, Tara issues a bold challenge which leads to an unforgettable night of passion. Now they can't keep their hands off each other every evening, but still fight like cats and dogs at the office during the day. Can this unlikely pair of opposites find a way to compromise?
I have to admit that I'm not a big fan of the love/hate relationship in romance, and The Nutcracker Sweet mainly revolves around this theme. I've just never quite been able to wrap my head around the idea of two people who are at each other's throats in the light of day, but have perfect explosive chemistry during their long passionate nights together. I'm beginning to think this is one of Nancy Warren's favorite themes, because it is the second novella of hers that I've read which is based on it. All that said, The Nutcracker Sweet had a sort of underlying humor and cuteness to it which made it more palatable to me.
Daniel and Tara are definitely a case of opposites attract in the extreme. He is a thoroughly disorganized, but charming salesman who hates Tara's nitpicking of his expense reports. Tara is a perfectionistic accountant who can't stand Daniel's penchant for not turning in the proper receipts. After her daring Secret Santa gift to him, they can't keep their hands off of each other. What little I got to know both characters in such a short story, I generally liked them, and their love scenes were hot and steamy. The only other thing that wasn't quite to my liking was how quickly things progressed between them. They went from driving each other crazy, to jumping into bed, to falling in love in a mere two weeks. Even though they'd been co-workers for a while this was a little hard for me to swallow. However, I decided to try to just go with it, and overall, The Nutcracker Sweet ended up being a fun, sexy and pretty well-written read which has left me open to trying Nancy Warren again sometime. The Nutcracker Sweet is found in the Jingle Bell Rock anthology.
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