From under the mistletoe...to down the aisle!
When brooding bachelor Gabe Arantini learns the innocent beauty he shared a steamy festive night with is the daughter of his business rival, he’s furious. The following Christmas, Abby returns with shocking news – she’s had his child! Gabe knows he must marry Abby to legitimise his son, but can this be a marriage in name only, or will their red-hot chemistry take over?
In this unpleasant Christmas-themed contemporary, a man kidnaps the mother of his child, a setup better suited to a thriller than a romance. Tech billionaire Gabe Arantini and former ballerina Abigail Howard once had a scorching Christmas encounter, but in the year since, he has shunned her after discovering her father urged her to steal his corporate secrets. Upon learning that she's given birth to his child, Raf, he whisks mother and infant away in his private plane (presumably sans passports) to his modernized castle in the Italian Alps. He then isolates Abby by employing only Italian-speaking staff and forbidding her from befriending the Irish gardener. While planning to marry her so that the three can be a family, Gabe repeatedly demeans and insults Abby despite her frequent attempts to apologize for her father and explain that she tried to inform Gabe about her pregnancy. Connelly's story might be more palatable if set in a medieval fortress and written in 1985; modern readers will find it not worth their time.