Jane Zielinski has her hands full this December. The last thing she needs is to be upstaged by her former childhood BFF, Bella Bradley, who blows into town with handfuls of cash and a sexy business partner, Nate Wright. But a little competition never hurt anyone, and Jane’s ready to do whatever it takes– including flirting with Nate–to get Bella to pack up and leave. Fans of Christina Lauren and Sally Thorne will love Grinch Girl, a spicy and humorous Christmas Romance from Michelle Dayton.
“The love story itself is stirring and emotional, and Emily and Bobby’s second chance feels well-earned.”—Publishers Weekly review for Escape Girl
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Sometimes, the real story isn’t the beautiful city girl returning to her small town to save Christmas—it’s the townie chick who never left.
Jane Zielinski has her hands full this December, working three jobs and directing a homemade reality dating web series, Single Bells, as a stunt to keep her small town competitive with the ritzy resort towns luring tourists. Then the gorgeous Bella Bradley, Jane’s childhood BFF who had no qualms about skipping town when times got tough, returns with handfuls of cash and her smoking-hot business partner Nate Wright on her arm.
Jane can’t believe she’s being upstaged again, especially when Bella uses the Single Bells activities to rekindle a romance with her high school boyfriend—the man Jane had envisioned her future with. So if a little competition could convince Bella to leave town—again—Jane is ready to take the mittens off. And she’s not above sabotage, cheating, or flirting with Nate to win. Let the reindeer games begin…
Copyright 2022 Michelle Dayton
Nate’s eyes lowered from the heavens to my face. His expression shifted away from embarrassment as his eyelids lowered a centimeter and his jaw shifted.
Why was my breathing so shallow? Why was I focusing so much on the bottom half of his face?
“Are you familiar with the term ‘competence porn’, Jane?” he asked.
I was so distracted by his use of my actual name and how his night-quiet voice had gotten all roughed up and gravelly that it took me a moment to grasp his actual question. Before I realized I didn’t grasp it at all. “Huh?”
“Competence porn—” he paused to cock his jaw in the opposite direction and take a half step closer to me “—is when a viewer takes great enjoyment in watching someone do something well. Marveling at someone who is insanely good at something.”
I blinked a few times, confused and mesmerized. My lips formed into the shape they needed to make a W sound, but I couldn’t think of the right question to ask him. What does this have to do with me? When did you get so close?
“You fix things and make things and solve situations,” Nate all but whispered. “You order people around, and they do what you say.” He shook his head, as if in bewilderment. “There hasn’t been a problem you couldn’t solve.”
He might have looked frustrated if he didn’t look so…intent. “I’ve always been a bit of a sucker for competence porn, but I’ve never seen it embodied so much in one individual.” Those intense dark eyes became fixated on my parted lips. “So I didn’t know how apt the term actually was.”
“Let me get this straight.” I took a shuddering breath, so warm in my thin coat that I wondered how I could have felt cold earlier. “You’re turned on because I’m so competent?”
This might have been the oddest conversation I’d ever had with a man. A very odd, very hot conversation.
His lips quirked up at the corners. “It surprises me too.”
We were now only separated by inches, and his face was exactly as it had been in the video. Hungry. His gaze made my mouth water, and we were both breathing so hard that our breath made little white clouds around our faces.
I should have been backing away. I should have been rolling my eyes. But his eyes had their own gravity again, and their magnetic force was pulling my mouth to his.
“This is so stupid,” I whispered.
“I know,” he agreed.
Jane never left her hometown as she wanted to support the town and the people she loved. Her latest plan to bring visibility to the town is a dating show but she never expected it would also bring her estranged best friend Bella and Nate, her swoony business partner.
If it isn’t difficult enough for Jane to have Bella return then having them both romantically interested in the same man is sure to amp up the tension. Now Jane finds herself feeling competitive towards Bella as they try to work through the secrets of the past and decide what direction they want their futures to take.
I really enjoyed getting to know all the characters and the pasts that have brought them to this point. Jane is a loyal friend who has always been there for those she cares about and I was glad to see her finally get the happiness she deserves.
About Michelle Dayton
There are only three things Michelle Dayton loves more than sexy and suspenseful novels: her family, the city of Chicago, and Mr. Darcy. Michelle dreams of a year of world travel – as long as the trip would include weeks and weeks of beach time. As a bourbon lover and unabashed wine snob, Michelle thinks heaven is discussing a good book over an adult beverage.
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