Blog tour review: Never Kiss a Man in a #Christmas Jumper by Debbie Johnson


Published: November 2015
Publisher: Harlequin impulse
Format: Paperback
Page count: 210
Source: ARC from publisher

Today is my stop on the Blog tour. Hurray!

I was really looking for something to get me in the Christmas mood ( yeah I know it's November but I don't care) after having a hard year and even looking at the cover makes me smile.

Maggie and Marco come from completely different worlds. He's a handsome American hunk and she's a single mum running her own business in the UK.

The world literally collide one day when Marco crashes into Maggie while out cycling. Marco ends up on the loosing end and winds up in hospital with more than his ego battered. Maggie feels a connection to this handsome stranger and even though she has reserves she agree's to look after him while his family are away.

I just loved the characters in the book. I took a real shine to Maggie and her daughter. They were just really down to earth and relate-able. So much so that I really got into this book and managed to finish it in two sittings because the plot flowed really well! 

People sometimes pass over books like this because they don't delve deep into the themes within but sometimes you just need a little bit of magic and romance! I loved watching the relationship between Maggie and Marco develop.

This would be a perfect book to read while sitting by the christmas tree with a glass of mulled wine in hand. Really enjoyable!

Make sure to keep an eye out for Debbie's next novel coming early next year.

Below you can read the first chapter of the book to really get you in the Christmasy mood! And don't forget to visit the other stops on the tour!


Chapter 1

The third time she encountered the man she now knew as Marco Cavelli, Maggie gave him a Christmas present to remember. A broken leg and two fractured ribs. Gift wrapped with a few facial abrasions and a very festive black eye.
Of course, it was all his fault. He was cycling on the wrong side of the road, in heavy snow, listening to loud music that drowned out her warning cries as the two of them veered towards each other. Two unstoppable forces, both covered in fluffy white stuff, both bundled up in hats, gloves and scarves. Only one of them looking where they were going.
Sadly, he took the ear buds out just in time to hear her cries of ‘you complete arsehole’, ‘what the hell do you think you were doing?’ and ‘oh shit...hold on, I’m just calling an ambulance.’ Ever the lady, she thought, adding a few even worse words in her own mind.
As she crawled across the ice to reach him, her jean-clad knees soaked through with icy snow, teeth chattering and fingers trembling as she dug her phone from her pocket, she decided that Sod’s Law had well and truly shafted them.
It was her first day off in over a month. The first day she’d had entirely free from sequins and bows and velveteen loops and concealed zips and hooks and eyes and taffeta and lace. The first entire day free of pin-pricked fingers and nervous brides and half-cut mother-in-laws and last minute nervous breakdowns.
And what a day it had promised to be. Gloriously cold and frosty, the sky stretching overhead, a clear shining plain of dazzling blue; virgin snow turning the garden and the streets around her house into a joyful white confection.
Oxford in the snow. It was stunning, and never failed to knock her socks off. Though not literally, as she was wearing two pairs. She cycled carefully into town to do her shopping, excited beyond belief about what was waiting for her at the antiquarian book shop off the Broad. She’d been paying for it for months, and now, finally, it was hers. Briefly. Then, within a matter of weeks, it would be Ellen’s. She couldn’t wait, and realised as she pedalled up towards St Giles that there’d been a sneaky role reversal in her house: Ellen was too cool for Christmas now. It was Maggie who was the little girl.
Aah, who gives a stuff, she thought, as she navigated the slippery roads, keeping a careful look out for the bumbling backpacked tourists who wandered in front of her like blind sheep, and the few students who were still around.
Term had finished the day before, and the whole city had been clogged with cars – all loaded up to the rafters with duvets, dirty clothes and crumb-shedding toasters as they headed off home for Christmas. It was a different Oxford once they’d gone – quieter, less congested, but a lot less lively as well. They’d avoided the snow, which had snuck in like a thief in the night, laying an inch thick on all but the busiest roads.
She’d arrived safely, if a little soggy, at Kavanagh’s Books of Note. She’d gleefully accepted the brown-paper wrapped package that had cost so much, and stashed it in her backpack before getting back in the saddle and heading towards the Covered Market, where she planned to treat herself to some hot chocolate and a small shed-load of tiffin. It was Christmas, after all. Almost.
Along the Broad she went, past the colleges of Balliol and Trinity, before veering off onto the ancient cobbles of Radcliffe Square. As she jiggled along, threading her way around the scarf-wearing academics heading to the majestic Bodleian Library, she noticed the lights were still on – it was after nine, but the hallowed halls of learning were still glittering with electricity, throwing tiny neon clouds through the glass. Must be all that dark wood panelling, cocooning them from the dazzling sunshine of the day. The steps up to it were dusted with snow, the cobbles coated and damp.
She was heading down the side of St Mary the Virgin, with its towering spire and dizzying staircase, looking all the more like a postcard through the fuzzy haze of still falling snowflakes. Inside, she could hear the sound of angelic voices rehearsing their Christmas carols – a crowd of undoubtedly less-than-angelic little boys transforming the Holly and the Ivy into something splendid and magical.
Then it was on, towards the High Street, accompanied by the random thought that Ellen might not like the book at all. That maybe she should have jacked in the idea completely, and given her the equivalent in cash. Maybe she’d prefer beer tokens to a first edition. Maybe she was just holding on to an image of her little girl that was long gone, eaten alive by the coltish young woman she now shared a home with. When Ellen bothered to come home at all, that was.
Later, she admitted to herself that possibly – just possibly – she’d been a little bit distracted. The much-used passage down to the High was relatively clear of snow, and she’d stepped up her speed just a tiny bit. Teeny tiny – so much so that her legs had hardly noticed the difference.
Sadly, that teeny tiny acceleration meant that when she saw the other bike – heading straight towards her and at what seemed like an impossible speed for a non-motorised vehicle to achieve – it was too late to do anything but screech like a banshee and hope for the best. Which was kind of her motto for life – she should probably get it printed up onto a T-shirt.
Catching a glimpse of startled, deep hazel eyes and a look of horror as he realised what was about to happen, they both attempted to swerve. Too late.
The next thing Maggie knew she was flying through the air, her bike free-wheeling into the wrought iron railings, the spokes crumpling and crunching as they slammed into them. She clenched her eyes shut as the world turned upside down, and braced herself for a crash landing. It came, with a dull thud, her backside skidding along in a pool of frost and slush and her helmet bouncing off the floor in a way that made her go temporarily cross-eyed.
For a moment she was too stunned to move. She lay there, feeling the moisture creep through the many layers of her clothing, a slow, paralysing sog of freezing cold snow wrapping itself around all her limbs. If this was a cartoon, she thought, Tweety Bird would be flapping round my head right about now. Wearing ear-muffs.
She lay still for a few seconds, allowing the fog to clear, before blinking her eyes and cautiously running a mental and physical check on her battered body parts.
Legs: yep, still moving. Arms: definitely all right. Head? A bit jiggered around, but essentially okay. Probably no worse than usual, anyway. It was only a searing pain running from her coccyx that was giving her any trouble. She’d landed on her arse – which, thankfully, had enough padding on it to have saved her from anything more serious.  Three cheers for fat-bottomed girls.
She looked up and around, saw other people making their way towards them. Saw the man – the stupid, stupid man, with the big hazel eyes and the inhuman ability to cycle at 700 miles per hour – lying spreadeagled a few feet away from her, his few tortured, jerky movements making an abstract art snow angel around his big, twisted body.
She crawled up onto her hands and knees, and inched in his direction, all the while yelling words of both anger and concern. He’d knocked her off her bike. He was an idiot, and deserved a good shouting at.
Her backpack had spilled open, and her precious edition of Alice in Wonderland was lying tattered and torn and dirty, soaking slush up into its beautiful illustrated pages. And her bum hurt. A lot. She felt like karate chopping him in the nether regions. Except...he seemed to be in a lot of pain. And that leg of his was kind of pointing the wrong way. And...shit, where was the phone? And why couldn’t she feel her fingers?
As she got close enough to see his face, she realised who he was. It was Him. The Hot Papa from the Park. The Man with the Tux. The Guy Who Made Christmas Jumpers Sexy. The gorgeous American hunk-a-rama who had accidentally tripped in and out of her life over the last few days.
She glanced around, saw his bike. The bike with the child seat fitted on the back. The bike that was crumpled and buckled and lying abandoned by the rear wall of Brasenose College.
“The baby!” she shouted in complete panic as she finally reached him. “Where’s the baby?”


★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

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