Second Chance Christmas by Casey Dawes

Findlay Callahan has until Christmas, a scant six months away, to prove to the court she can provide a loving and safe home for her learning-disabled child. So she retreats to the only haven she’s known: her mother’s house in Missoula, Montana, where she can make a new start and find a good job.

Reese Moore can’t believe it when his teenage love arrives to work at his father’s company. But there’s bad blood between their families, dating back to a business partnership that drove Findlay’s father to suicide.

When Findlay is targeted by someone trying to pin corporate fraud on her, Reese is determined to save her—but will their broken hearts be able to forge a new future amid old hurts and new threats during this season of love and goodwill?

Title:  Second Chance Christmas
Author:  Casey Dawes
Genre:  Christmas Romantic Suspense
Published:  November 27, 2017
Publisher:  Crimson Romance
My Rating:  4 stars

Second Chance Christmas is an intriguing mix of suspense, mystery, romance and a Christmas setting (for the majority of the story).  I wouldn’t really call it a Christmas Romance myself, but there is a definite holiday feel to large portions of the story.  The story is a suspenseful mystery with the possibility of a second chance at love for two people who as teenagers had the world ahead of them, a life time of loving each other until someone framed Findlay’s father for embezzlement and he took his own life.  In one fell swoop Findlay not only lost her father, her family’s good name but the boy she loved when his father commanded him to break off their relationship.  They were sixteen and they already knew true, devastating heartbreak.

Findlay moved away, married and had a daughter… and a nasty divorce.  She’s returned home to provide a safe haven for her daughter’s special learning needs, prove to her ex-husband and the courts that Kelly Anne is best cared for in her custody and try to pick up the pieces of her shattered life, once again.

First on her list is a desperately needed job.  When the only one that is available right now is at her father’s old company she hesitates, but no one seems to remember her so maybe this will work… or not.  Reese is incredulous to find Findlay working at the company.  He’s returned home from a diplomatic career to run the company as his father recovers from a heart attack.  Discovering the daughter of the partner who betrayed him working there will probably send him into another heart attack.  Then history seems to be repeating itself with small financial coding mistakes, then more until it’s obvious that what happened in the past is directed toward Findlay this time.  Now it’s a rush to find out who framed her father before… and who is out to frame her today.

There are several story lines within Second Chance Christmas.  While not confusing, it is enough to keep you on your toes and paying attention.  Reese and Findlay still have feelings or more truthfully never really lost their love for each other.  Mistrust, suspicions and life battering events will make it difficult for either to truly trust the other.  Their past has to be dealt with before they can move on, and to have Reese’s trust will go a long way to allowing Findlay to see the good in anyone again.

I enjoyed this one, it set up a fascinating overall tale.  There is more mystery and suspense than romance, in my opinion.  Having former teenage lovers come back together amidst mistrust and issues makes Reese and Findlay really work for the romance aspect.  There were times when my frustration levels with Findlay were through the roof.  She cannot trust, she cannot see any other view except her own – ever.  Yes, she’s been hurt beyond belief by events in her life but she is also making her own problems increase with her attitude.  She’ll not find happiness until she can loosen up and believe in people again.

I would recommend this story to any reader who enjoys suspense, putting together the puzzle pieces and believes in second chances… in more ways than only romance.

*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. That does not change what I think of this story. It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this book.*

*This review also appeared on Keeper Bookshelf*

Available for the Kindle

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