Spotlight & Giveaway: His Holiday Crush by Cari Z | Harlequin Junkie | Blogging about Books Leave a comment

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome author Cari Z to HJ!

Hi Cari Z and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, His Holiday Crush!

Hi folks! Thanks for joining me 🙂

Please summarize the book a la Twitter style for the readers here:

When hotshot NYC lawyer Max Robertson returns to his hometown for the first time in a decade, he ends up connecting with his best friend’s little brother, all grown up and sexier than ever.

Please share the opening lines of this book:

I glanced at my phone, which I’d just hung up a few minutes ago, and suppressed a groan. Why had I said yes to going back home? Why? My best friend had cornered me right before the most important meeting of my career, and I”d made some panicked, vaguely assenting noises. Agreeing under duress was grounds for invalidating any promise, but I didn’t think Hal would care about the legalese.


Please share a few Fun facts about this book…

  • Five fun facts, ooh, let’s see…this book was inspired by a story I read about a city lawyer and a country lawyer who used to be lovers coming together again. I could only handle about writing one lawyer, though, and there’s no history of intimacy with my heroes.
  • I picked some of my favorite tropes for this book, including “snowed in together” and “best friend’s little brother.”
  • Everyone in this book loves coffee (except the kids) because I do. I love it. Loooove it.
    The town of Edgewood in this book has a town mascot, which was inspired by a visit I took to Japan and is explained the same way.
  • This book has a lot of Frozen in it because it’s my 3-year old’s current fave movie, and I’m not ashamed of that, lol.


What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?

Dominic has always been interested in Max, in a “crushing on an older boy” kind of way, but it takes a snowbound rescue for Max to crush back–before he realizes that Dominic is “Nicky,” his best friend’s younger brother who he hasn’t seen for a decade.

Using just 5 words, how would you describe Hero and Heroine’s love affair?

Sweet, slow, sexy as hell.

The First Kiss…

Before another phone could ring or life found another way to block us, I cupped the back of his free hand and drew our lips together in a kiss. I’d expected it to be a slow kiss, but that thought flew out of my head as Dominic moaned suddenly and leaned into me, pressing me back until my shoulders dug into the wall above the headboard.


Without revealing too much, what is your favorite scene in the book?

I feel like this is actually a pretty funny book, and I set that tone early on with this scene:

“Edgewood is now the happy home of Edwina the Blissful Beaver.”
Max almost dropped his water glass. “Hold on, what? Edwina the Beaver?”
“Yep.” I was really enjoying the look on his face. Maybe a little too much. “The mayor made the costume himself. It’s basically a big brown beaver with manga eyes wearing an apron.”
“Creepy as hell,” Dinah muttered, adding her two cents as she poured the coffee. “She tried to get me into it for the Fourth of July parade last year. I’ve never been so glad to be a size twenty in all my life.”


If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would be absolutely crucial to include?

The snowed-in-at-home scene where they bond over evicting raccoons and doing home repairs together!

I grinned and leaned in, Dominic’s lips parting in readiness, and we–
Something crashed from down the hallway. We froze, then Dominic groaned and said, “Oh man, not again,” pulled away and headed toward the living room. I followed him back down the cold hallway and to the front room and found him crouched down, staring into the corner that was filled with stacked floorboards and edging. “They’re back,” he said quietly. “Damn it.”
“Who’s back?” I asked, bending down next to him.
“The raccoons.”


Readers should read this book …

This book is sweetness and joy and holiday cheer leavened with a bit of angst here and there. It’s the fluffy romance I always wanted to write and finally did, and it’s also hot enough to burn in places 😉


What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned?

I’m re-releasing a lot of my romance backlist right now, so look for more books from Cari Z on Amazon!


Thanks for blogging at HJ!


Giveaway: $10 Amazon gift card goes to one randomly-selected commenter!


To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: Have you ever had a holiday go sideways due to family drama?

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Excerpt from His Holiday Crush:

“Oh my God.” Her eyes widened. “Did you sleep with someone last night?” She leaned in closer and whispered, “Was it Maxfield? Oh my god, was it? Is that his shirt? It looks a little tight.”
Oh… I looked down at my chest. Was it his shirt? Our clean clothes had all been mixed together in the laundry basket that morning. I’d looked in my closet and found exactly one clean shirt, which I’d given to Max, and then I’d pulled the first, best-smelling dark T-shirt I’d found out of the basket and put it on. Turned out it was Max’s, his cologne managing to linger even though a wash cycle. “Why do you think I slept with anyone?”
“Because your hair is rumpled like someone’s been running their fingers through it, you haven’t reached for the coffee yet even though it’s usually the first place you go as soon as you walk in, and you’ve been distracted from the moment I saw you. I thought it meant you were having an issue, maybe, but you’re not! You’re distracted because there’s someone on your mind, and that kind of smile usually comes when your someone is very personal, and the only new personal person it could be is Max! And you’re wearing his shirt.” Lauren folded her arms triumphantly.
“You should be a detective,” I snarked, but inside I was pretty pleased I hadn’t had to come out with the news on my own.
“It is Max, though, isn’t it? It is.” She smiled with satisfaction. “I knew it. God, I was three years ahead of him in school, and even I could tell he was going to be gorgeous someday. Is he still gorgeous?”
I mean, yeah, he really was, but… “Don’t we have work we should be doing?”
“We don’t go on patrol for another half an hour, you know that. Talk to me! Let me live vicariously through you. My life is nothing except hockey games and school plays and diaper changes lately.” The smile faded from her face. “I mean, actually, you don’t need to tell me anything you don’t want to. I don’t want to make you uncomfortable, Nicky. I’m just…interested, I guess.”
Seeing as she was the one who had to put up with me all day, and I was kind of dying to tell someone what was going on, I acquiesced. “He’s still gorgeous,” I said. “And we did spend some time together, but it was nothing serious.” It couldn’t be serious. He was leaving today, after all. “He’s heading back to New York City this morning.”

Excerpts. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Book Info:

Workaholic attorney Max Robertson is one meeting away from making partner at a big NYC firm when his best friend calls and guilts him into coming back home for Christmas. But there’s a reason he hasn’t been back to Edgewood for a decade—too many bad memories. The plan was to go for just one night, until a wild deer and a snow bank wrecked everything.

Former Army Sergeant Dominic “Nicky” Bell is the new guy on the Edgewood police force, so of course he drew the short straw and is stuck working the night shift. But his evening gets turned upside-down when he gets called out to a wreck in the snow—and it’s his one and only high school crush, looking even sexier than he did back then.

When they both end up stranded together at Dominic’s house, sparks start to fly and Max isn’t sure what to do. But everyone deserves a present this holiday season, right?
Book Links: Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Goodreads |

Meet the Author:

Cari Z. is a Colorado girl who loves snow and sunshine. She writes award-winning LGBTQ fiction featuring aliens, supervillains, soothsayers, and even normal people sometimes. His Holiday Crush is her first book with Entangled.
Website | Facebook | Twitter |


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