Kiss Me at Christmas is the tenth book in Valerie Bowman’s Playful Brides series of Regency-era historical romance novels. I was excited about the opportunity to read this book because I’ve enjoyed the other Playful Brides books.
Readers were first introduced to Daffin and Regina in the last book- A Duke Like No Other. As this next adventure begins, Regina has given up on marriage, but she has decided that she wants to lose her virginity to commemorate her 30th birthday. She attempts to recruit Daffin, a Bow Street Runner, to help her with this, but naturally, he refuses. However, when it appears that someone is targeting her family, her cousin Mark hires Daffin to serve as bodyguard. Despite some initial awkwardness stemming from Regina’s earlier request, they strike up a friendly rapport. Soon enough, they realize that there really is a genuine attraction that is getting harder and harder to deny. But even though they have retreated to the countryside for Christmas, it seems as though that threat has followed them from London. Who is trying to hurt the family and why?
At its core, this is a sweet story, but there is an undercurrent of danger throughout the narrative. The big reveal of the mystery element was a little unexpected, but this is forgivable because of the attention to character development. We don’t get to see all of the characters from the previous books in the series, but young cousin Delilah (and her parrot) return, so that was a nice treat. Daffin makes for an interesting hero because he isn’t titled (or even from an aristocratic background), so he has had to work for everything he has. Daffin does not enjoy the Christmas season because of his past, and spending Christmas in a manor house is out of his comfort zone, but he has a responsibility to protect the family. Regina is a delightful heroine. She’s smart and resourceful, and she’s not afraid to go after what she wants. She’s just perfect for Daffin- he just needs to figure that out!
I would recommend Kiss Me at Christmas. Even though this book is the tenth in a series, it functions pretty well as a standalone. If readers are looking for somewhere to start, A Duke Like No Other features many of the same characters. This is a good book to get into as the holiday season approaches. I am definitely looking forward to the next book in the series!
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book.