The Boss’s Christmas Seduction
by Yvonne Lindsay
(Silh. Desire # 1758, $4.50, PG-13) ISBN 0373-76758-7
The Christmas in this title refers to the leading lady’s name. And there is less of a seduction than an explosion of passion.

Holly Christmas is a woman with some major issues. She was abandoned by her mother at age 3 and is a product of foster homes. None of the foster homes were nurturing and she grew up feeling abandoned with her emotions on “shutdown.” Until she was a teenager, she had no real relationships with anyone. That is when she moved to one foster family who apparently loved her enough to stick with her, despite her rebellions and what is described as “acts of self –destruction.” No real details are given. At this home, Holly meets Andrea, another foster kid, who finally melts her heart. Unfortunately, Andrea develops a major incurable condition that is slowly killing her. For years now, Holly has been living in squalor in order to pay for Andrea’s continual nursing home care.

Luckily for Holly, she is working for Knight Enterprises in Auckland, New Zealand and has moved up in the ranks from the steno pool to the personal assistant for one of the Knight children, Connor, the youngest brother and an attorney. Holly is extremely competent. Connor relies on her for everything. Holly, whose birthday is Christmas Eve, is in charge of the annual Knight Enterprises Children’s party, followed by the employee bash. Every year this control allows her to work while maintaining her distance from most of the employees. This year, however, Conner is supposed to assume the role of Santa Claus from his father. He is not happy and Holly is forced to assist him.

But Holly has issues. Christmas is not an enjoyable time for her and she almost faints due to her unhappy memories of abandonment. Conner notices, and his caring leads to an explosion of passion in his office, where he takes Holly’s virginity. She is not unhappy, feeling she was an active participant. Besides, she is full of unrequited love for Conner, and has been for a long time. She feels like this is something she can hold onto since they cannot possibly ever be together – she is poor and he is rich, etc…

Conner is amazed at the sex and is in fact, just a little in love with Holly, but more as a competent person than as a lover. He is appalled that he took her innocence but has no clue what to do. After all, he has emotional baggage too. Earlier in the day, he discovered that his ex-wife had an abortion when they were married, not the miscarriage he thought she had. Hr wants children more than anything. And now, he gets his wish, because Holly discovers she is pregnant.

The writing in this tale was engaging. Even as I was rolling my eyes at the plot line and the characters’ actions, I wanted to read it to see how it could possibly end happily. But there is a lot of suspension of belief required of the reader to make this work. Holly is characterized as strong and independent, yet she lets Conner bully her throughout the story.

The sexual tension was palpable, yet I couldn’t help feeling that their kind of love is warped. How could two people tell themselves they loved yet treat each other so manipulatively? And the ending was too nicely wrapped up to be realistic, which was another disappointment.

The Boss’s Christmas Seduction is one mixed bag.

--Shirley Lyons

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