FIRST KISS AT CHRISTMAS (The Off Season #5) by Lee Tobin McClain

Published: October 26, 2021 by HQN Books

Book Summary: At 25 years old, preschool teacher Kayla Harris is embarrassed to admit she’s never been kissed. When Tony DiNunzio and his grieving nephew show up in her classroom, she can’t help being drawn to both of them. If only her insecurities-and his guilt over his sister’s death-would stop standing in their way.

As Christmas approaches, can these three come together to form a family… not just for the holidays, but forever?

5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I have been enjoying The Off Season series. I enjoyed my trip back to Pleasant Shores or the Chesapeake Bay. There is a new resident at Victory Cottage, Tony DiNunzio and his 4 year old nephew Jax. Jax is grieving after the loss of his mother, a shooting which he witnessed. Tony is dealing with his guilt over Stella’s death as he promised his father he would take care of the family. Jax won’t let go of his Uncle Tony and causes an issue with his screaming everywhere he goes. When Tony enrolls him at a private school, he meets Kayla, the woman who will be Jax’s teacher. She is calm, caring and patient with both Tony and Jax and they begin to feel a little more comfortable. Kayla develops feelings for Tony, but is extremely protective of her feelings, and is a bit afraid of a relationship as she has never been kissed. There are a lot of roadblocks and baggage to get past if they are to have a relationship. There is also a parallel story involving Sylvie, a thirty something woman who has been sent to Pleasant Shores to keep an eye on Jax and find out what he remembers. Of course, no one can resist the wonderful people in the community and she soon finds herself wanting to make a home in the community.

This is a story that once I picked it up, I couldn’t stop reading. I very quickly embraced all the characters and wanted them to be happy. Tony’s story is heart breaking and the clumsy way he rallies around his orphaned nephew is both amusing and uplifting. Kayla is the hometown, sweet, never been kissed teacher who has low self-esteem, due to bullying and issues stemming from her childhood. We also meet up with characters from the previous books, but you don’t have to have read them to enjoy this book. Of course Jax and his new friend Davey steal the show, they are so adorable. This is a well written story with a bit of a mystery, grief, healing, friendship and of course romance. This is Christmas magic at its best. I also like how Lee Tobin McClain has set up the next book, at least I think she has. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and definitely recommend it to those who enjoy a good romance with great characters and a wonderful storyline.

Buy Links: BookShop.orgHarlequinBarnes & NobleAmazonBooks-A-MillionPowell’s

About the Author: Lee Tobin McClain is the bestselling author of more than thirty emotional, small-town romances described by Publishers Weekly as enthralling, intense, and heartfelt. A dog lover and proud mom, she often includes kids and animals in her books. When she’s not writing, she enjoys hiking with her goofy goldendoodle, chatting online with her writer friends, and admiring her daughter’s mastery of the latest TikTok dances.

Social Links: Author WebsiteFacebookTwitterGoodreads