Tyler Burton has had to watch over Marlie Waters ever since they were children. She followed him everywhere and he was her protector. They lost touch through the years, but Tyler now needs Marlie. Tyler needs a place to stay until his condo is finished and Marlie's home is perfect. After her fiancee left her without an explanation, Marlie has plenty of room and Tyler is happy to move in. What he's not happy about is the lack of privacy he experiences whenever his girlfriend comes to visit. Since her engagement ended Marlie has become a bit of a hermit, with no desire to go out or spruce herself up. But after Marlie awkwardly interrupts during a steamy interlude he's having with his girlfriend, Tyler has had enough. It's time she gets past her sadness and finds a new man to get her out of the house so Tyler can finally have time alone with his girlfriend. To help Marlie, and impress his girlfriend with his monetary donation during a charity auction of single men, Tyler buys 12 men who he hopes will bring Marlie a Merry Christmas.
What Tyler doesn't expect is the brand new Marlie that's unleashed. With form fitting clothes and a sexy new hairdo, Marlie dives in wholeheartedly to what each man plans for her. But the more outgoing Marlie becomes the stronger Tyler's protective instincts kick back in. And the more of this new Marlie he sees the more he likes. She too is seeing Tyler in a whole new light and can't help but compare each date to him. He's no longer just her roommate, he's the sexy man who's always cared about her and the only man she truly wants to impress. So will the two of them ever quit arguing long enough to admit their attraction or will past hurts continue to affect their future together?
This is a fun, fast-paced read that I was sad to see come to an end. Both characters are extremely likable with actions that are totally believable. They're both humorous and sexy and you can't help but root for them to admit their feelings for each other. The friends to lovers theme is a favorite of mine and MacAllister writes about it beautifully. Not only are the main characters wonderful but many of the secondary characters are worthy of their own story, particularly Tyler's girlfriend Axelle. She has her own sad story of loss and deserves happiness too. I greatly anticipate any continuation of this story and can't recommend it highly enough to those wanting a holiday read to warm their heart.
For the inaugural use of my rating system I give this an A-!
*Book cover photo courtesy of www.goodreads.com