In the seventh Byte of Life, newlyweds Stephan and Jessica Connellan are solidifying their relationship while expecting their first child. Nothing will stop Stephan from protecting the dream he’s always yearned for—a family—but his concerns for Jessica and their baby’s health could be more harmful than the eye can see.
Jessica’s joy in the new life they are creating together is crumbling. As her pregnancy progresses, Stephan appears distant, detached. Worried that their whirlwind romance is about to explode in her face, she’s anxious to bridge the distance between them. Will she be able to remind him of what they have together before his promise of forever slips through her fingers?
Lovely. Simply lovely. Christmas Wish by Chris Almeida and Cecilia Aubrey is the seventh novella in the Countermeasure: Bytes of Life series and is one of my favorite Bytes so far. Christmas Wish features Stephan and Jessica who were introduced to us in Countermeasure and their love story begins in To Russia With Love. This book is a side story and continuation of their romance. I get so freaking excited when authors write novellas like this so I don’t have to let my favorite characters go.
Stephan and Jessica are newlyweds and parents-to-be so we get to peek in on what life is like for them right now. The authors do a phenomenal job in general of writing about couples who have been together for a long time. It is not easy coming up with new story ideas with the same characters, but I am always surprised when I read a new one from Chris and Cecilia. Their stories are real and engaging. Christmas Wish is no different. I enjoyed the simple scenes of everyday married life between Stephan and Jessica just as much as the bigger parts of the story. There was a very heartwarming scene where the two of them are just talking in bed and it makes your heart swell at the openness of it. It’s so refreshing in fiction to have the real substance of life that isn’t heartbreaking, but joyful.
Everything is not all sunshine and rainbows for this couple, though. Stephan is worried. Fearful. And going a little out of his mind. He is so scared of losing Jessica and the baby he thought he would never have that he takes things to the extreme. He inadvertently pushes Jessica away and this only causes concern from Jessica. She has been down this road with him in the past and really doesn’t want to travel it again. The scene in which everything comes to head is genius. It is real and raw and emotional. Your heart breaks for both Jessica and Stephan as they deal with their own personal version of hell. It is a fantastic scene that results in some incredibly passionate and steamy intimate moments.
There is so much hope for this couple when you see the way they can work things out. My favorite quote is from Stephan spoken to Jessica: “You awe me. And you scare the hell out of me.” It is a loaded statement and you really want to read the book to find out how he explains it to her. You might just swoon. Christmas Wish is a captivating romance that draws you in from the first page, tangles with your emotions and leaves you both satisfied and wanting more at the same time. If you haven’t read this series yet, I highly recommend you get started now.
Reviewed by: Amy R.