The Last Noel by Heather Graham
The Last Noel
It's Christmas Eve, and all is neither calm nor bright.
With a storm paralyzing New England, the O'Boyle household becomes prey to a pair of brutal escaped killers desperate to find refuge.
Skyler O'Boyle is convinced the only way they can live through the night is by playing a daring psychological game to throw the convicts off their guard. Threatened by a pair of Smith & Wessons, she has to pray that the rest of her family will play along, buying them time. Her one hope for rescue is that the men are unaware that her daughter, Kat, has escaped into the blizzard. But as the wind and snow continue to rage with all the vehemence of a maddened banshee, her prayers that Kat can somehow find help seem fragile indeed.
When Kat stumbles on a third felon, half-frozen and delirious, her shock deepens, because she recognizes Craig Devon immediately. What is the onetime love of her life doing back in town--and in such company? With the threat of death hanging over the O'Boyles, Craig is desperate to unload a vital secret that could change their destiny. But can he trust Kat with the truth? Because one false move and everything he's sacrificed will shatter--and this could be everyone's final Christmas alive.
The Last Noel was a great Christmas suspense. It is easy to find Christmas romances, but not as easy to find other genres. Right from the start The Last Noel drew me in. It starts off in the prologue with the three guys robbing a store on Christmas eve. They are supposed to only rob places where there is no one there, but there is still a guy the store and of course things don't go well.
Then we start with the O'Boyle's setting everything up in their cabin for Christmas. The family dynamics felt more real than most holiday books. The holidays can be a bit stressful, and a lot of books show families all smiles and happy all the time. That is not the case here. Some of the family members have tempers. Mom just wants everything to be that picture perfect like in most stories and starts getting annoyed herself and it just felt like a real family. Of course then the bad guys show up since they got stuck in a snowbank outside the cabin and they are a bit crazy. You know Craig is not really with them, but you don't really know why he is there. There is a slight romance with Craig and Kat, but it is not really a main plot point at all which is nice.
The bad guys with the guns are kind of crazy. Well the one is for sure, the other pretty much does what the big ones says. They want the family to pretend to be having a normal happy Christmas and it is a bit ridiculous. They make everyone eat dinner together, play games, decorate the Christmas tree, open presents, etc. All to have a nice Christmas since they never had one in the past.
The ending worked out nicely. You keep waiting for something to happen, wanting to know how the family is going to get out of this mess. It worked out really well. It just seemed natural and like what happened could have happened. It was a good ending. Overall it was a good read and kept me interested the entire way through.