HOT WINTER NIGHTS – Jill Shalvis
A Perfect 10
A Heartbreaker Bay Novel
Avon
ISBN: 978-0-06-274183-7
Sept 25, 2018
Contemporary Romance

San Francisco, California – Present Day

Private investigator Lucas Knight wakes up the morning after he combined pain meds with whiskey and discovers a brunette buried under the covers in his bed but can't remember doing the deed with her. As a guy who does one-night stands but not morning afters, he hightails it out of there before she wakes up…and before he can discover who she is. Heading downstairs to the office where he figures he will be scolded by office manager Molly Malone, he is sidetracked by a couple of elderly ladies who want to hire Hunt Investigations to check into a “bad Santa” who may be ripping them off. The ladies are looking for Molly, who hasn't shown up. That isn't like her. After he sidesteps the ladies he goes into the office where he is asked by his boss to keep an eye on Molly because she wants to take on the ladies' case. Everyone knows Molly and Lucas don't get along, so this idea can't possibly work. After he heads back to his apartment, he discovers the brunette still in his bed…and that is when he discovers that she is … Molly.

Molly has an advantage over Lucas. She knows what went on last night and she isn't telling him…yet. She wants to work the “bad Santa” case for the ladies and would do it on her own despite being told not to. No one can stop Molly Malone once she gets a bee in her bonnet. She does agree, however, to Lucas tagging along. As they scope out the case of a Christmas themed business being run by a man dressed in a Santa outfit, they begin to suspect he is skimming the proceeds. Now Lucas and Molly have to prove it. This results in their working very closely together…and the sexual attraction that's simmered between them comes bubbling to the surface. Will Lucas and Molly discover an answer to the  Case of the Bad Santa  and about each other in HOT WINTER NIGHTS?

When you pick up a Jill Shalvis book, you know that there will be an entertaining plot, a couple that spar as the sparks fly, along with some scenes that will have you laughing out loud. Her latest, HOT WINTER NIGHTS, doesn't disappoint and captures all three of her signature traits and is a big reason I am awarding it one of RRT's Perfect 10's. Lucas and Molly have known each other for years and
everyone in the office knows that they don't get along. He comes across as a bit cocky and she doesn't put up with his BS. As the only female in the PI office, Molly can dish about anything these men hand out. Her only problem is one of the men is her overly protective older brother, Joe. She wants to be a PI like them but Joe thinks she can't do it. To keep the elderly ladies and Molly happy, she is assigned their “case.” Lucas is then secretly assigned to keep a close watch on her. As readers figure out early on in HOT WINTER NIGHTS, nobody puts Molly in a corner!

Lucas has lost too many people close to him and it has forced him to close his heart to love. He respects Molly and the idea that they had sex scares him…as much as it tantalizes him. Lucas thinks they are polar opposites, but their Bad Santa investigation leads to them working great together. Of course, things don't always work out as they expect (it is a Jill Shalvis story, after all), yet they smoothly figure things out. Meanwhile, after Lucas begins to have fantasies about Molly, he is soon wanting to find out exactly how it feels to make love to her. Will he get the chance to find out?

An energetic and funny tale, HOT WINTER NIGHTS is the perfect book to pick up on a cool night and settle in for a marathon reading session. While part of the  Heartbreaker Bay  series and prior characters pop in and out, this one can easily be read as a standalone. If you love cute and enjoyable stories with a hot guy and a woman who can go toe-to-toe with him, then you will absolutely love HOT WINTER NIGHTS like I did.

Patti Fischer