A bizarre rash of serial purse snatchings has Minneapolis cop, Corinne Bullwinkle, working undercover as a bell-ringing, street-corner Santa. One morning a handsome man who Corinne had seen before passes by, slipping on the icy sidewalk, and taking Corinne to to ground with him. By way of an apology for knocking her down, sexy, British businessman, Grant offers to take Corinne to lunch where they exchange cliched stories. After Grant helps Corinne capture the wrong purse snatcher, they end up at Grant's hotel warming up with hot chocolate and a whole lot more, but Corinne knows that Grant is only in the states for two weeks and doesn't expect that he might want to stay for good.
I am sorry to say that I did not find Undercover Claus to be particularly romantic at all. The two protagonists fall into bed within just a couple of days of meeting and are proposing to each other a couple of days after that without any real build-up of sexual tension or emotional connection of any kind. So far, the other novellas in the Merry Christmas, Baby anthology in which it is found have been sizzling hot, and at least had that going for them even if the plot was so-so, but the one and only love scene in Undercover Claus completely fizzled. The details are pretty sparse and what little the author does describe, was not sexy to me at all.
The heroine, Corinne, was not really to my liking either. She is a tough, no-nonsense, straight-taking, foul-mouthed cop with no vulnerability that I could identify. I don't mind a strong, kick-butt heroine as long as she has a softer side, but Corrine was just too abrasive for my taste. I honestly couldn't figure out what the hero, Grant, even liked about her, unless he was a masochist who enjoyed being spoken to rudely and insultingly on a regular basis.
The purse-snatcher mystery plot was a bust for me too, and ended up being pretty silly, and the character's cliched back-stories were equally ridiculous. The only thing I can really say I liked about the entire novella was Grant, a sweet, sexy, rich Brit who seemed to genuinely want to help people. I wouldn't mind having a guy like him around, but since he seems to be attracted to uber-alpha women like Corinne, I don't think I'd qualify.;-) There is a major continuity error between the cover blurb which gives the hero's name as Tony Danielson and the actual story in which he is named Grant Daniels, and I can't say that Corinne ever mistook him for the purse-snatcher at any point in the plot like the blurb says either. The writing was decent and more readable that some stories I've tried, but I just don't think that Ms. Davidson's style is for me, especially if she writes like this all the time. The bottom line: readers who enjoy smart-mouthed, snappy dialog, alpha heroines, and don't mind the lack of an emotional connection may find some enjoyment in this one, but Undercover Claus just didn't pass muster for me.
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