Unexpected pregnancy isn’t usually one of my favourite romance tropes, but Miranda Liasson’s All I Want for Christmas is You totally won me over. Years of unacknowledged mutual attraction leads to a sizzling one night stand between fiercely independent baker Kaitlyn and light-hearted firefighter Rafe. Kaitlyn knows that Rafe has no desire for a wife or kids, so when she realizes she’s pregnant with his child, she has every intention of raising the kid alone. Except Rafe’s matchmaking grandmother low-key tricks them into a fake engagement. Then Rafe’s repairs to Kaitlyn’s apartment requires her to move in with him. And eventually, she comes to realize that there’s a lot more to Rafe than his joking facade.
I absolutely loved Kaitlyn and Rafe. Both are dealing with stuff in their pasts that make it difficult for them to allow themselves to fall in love. Kaitlyn was raised by a single mom, who taught her to take care of herself, and so she struggles to accept Rafe’s kindness and generosity. And a tragedy from Rafe’s past makes him overprotective towards the people he loves. I love how their respective struggles clash so much with each other’s — they have to work hard for their happily ever after, and this just makes the payoff so very worth it.
I’m also a sucker for animals in romances, and I love the puppy in this one. Bandit is totally adorable, but more than that, his story just about melted my heart. First, Rafe discovers him abandoned by the side of the road, and then brings him to the vet to find him a forever home. Then he and Kaitlyn totally fall in love with the dog, but hesitate to adopt him — Rafe because he worries his work schedule makes it impossible for him to give the dog the care he needs, and Kaitlyn because she worries about her ability to care for a dog in her tiny apartment with a baby on the way. Their journey to open their hearts and their homes to Bandit parallels their journey to coming together as a couple, and when they finally make the decision to take Bandit home, it’s beautiful.
Minor detail, but I also kinda liked how Kaitlyn talked about her surprise at the pregnancy when she and Rafe had used two types of birth control. Accidents happen, even when people are taking responsible precautions, and while she and Rafe had clearly been carried away by passion, I like that the author pointed out that the pregnancy was not because they’d forgotten birth control.
Thank you to Forever for an e-galley in exchange for an honest review.