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Seaside Christmas by Stacy Claflin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre: Contemporary Christmas Romance
Book Description: 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.
My thoughts: This is a sweet romance that shows how two people, who appear to be completely different, can be attracted to each other and find happiness.
At first glance, Cruz Hunter would appear to be a rebel. He is an artist who loves tattoos. His dream is to open up his own tattoo parlor and pursue his artistic abilities. The town council and others are afraid that his parlor will attract unsavory characters to their small town and sell the building he had been promised out from under him. They sold it to a pastor and his daughter.
Talia has suffered emotionally from the passing of her mother. She and her pastor father are looking for a fresh start in a new town and are delighted with the old abandoned church they were able to pu
rchase. They didn't realize that their dream would cause heartache to another.
One thing that I appreciated in this book was the harm in preconceived notions. Many judged Cruz because of his appearance. He even harshly judged himself. He is a wonderful guy who never believed that he measured up. I loved the message of looking past the outside appearance of another and finding their character and heart.
I enjoyed Stacy Claflin's writing style. She kept my interest and the book moved along at a nice pace. This is a clean contemporary romance centered around the Christmas season. This book is the fifth in a series. I had only read one before this and had no problem following along. It can be read as a stand alone.
Read an Excerpt
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?”
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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