Author: Natalie Anderson
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
May Contain Spoilers
When two frozen hearts collide…
Emma Reed closed her heart to love years ago after a lifetime spent getting kicked around foster homes and bad relationships. Now she’s on a mission to prove she deserves her recent award to paint a mural for a research base in Antarctica. Nothing and no one is going to get in her way.
After months working in recovery zones around the world, Hunter Wilson planned to escape everything this holiday season by rebuilding a lab at the Kiwi Research Base. Alone. No to family, no to fun. It’s isolation not intimacy he’s aching for. But when he sees the determined artist, that ache becomes an urge – after all, shouldn’t someone show her what two people can do with twenty-four hours of brilliant sunlight?
In the coldest place on earth, even the most frozen hearts can melt.
I saw Melt on Netgalley and had to grab it. I have enjoyed several Entangled Publishing titles, and while I have some reservations about their pricing structure, I do find their contemporary romances enjoyable. Melt is under their Entangled Ever Afters imprint, and the novella is about 100 pages. It’s a fast read, perfect for whiling away a short chunk of time when a longer novel proves too time consuming. I read this on my first morning of Christmas vacation, in between cleaning the house and doing laundry.
Emma and Hunter are both likeable characters who have mixed emotions about Christmas. Hunter hates the holiday due to an unfortunate childhood incident, while Emma enjoys spending the day with her Grandma Bee, the foster mother who took her in and provided her with the stable home that she craved. Both of the protagonists have emotional scars they battle daily, and they struggle to find a sense of normalcy. Emma spent her early childhood shuttled from one foster home to the next, and she has deep, understandable issues with trust. Hunter’s parents were not exactly good role models for a normal relationship, and he has learned that life is simpler and safer if he keeps his emotional distance from everyone.
This story worked for me because I totally bought into the protagonists and their resistance to form lasting attachments. Hunter is a love ‘em and leave ‘em kind of guy, and Emma, having been burned before and never really having experienced a loving relationship, just avoids any kind of emotional attachment at all. Now that she has been awarded a plum commission to paint a mural at an Antarctic Research Base, she isn’t going to let Hunter and his provocative flirting distract her from the task at hand. Hunter, on the other hand, is all about having a good time – provided that there are no strings attached.
It is their constant banter and the back and forth attraction that kept me reading. I wondered how they would resolve their differences and reconcile what they thought they wanted from each other from what they expected from each other. They each think they want different things, but as they spend more time together on the frozen ice, their expectations begin to line up ever so slowly. Then they have an inner struggle to contend with – can they set aside their trust issues and reluctance to open themselves up to heartbreak? Can they accept the risk of falling in love, and of not having their feelings returned? That’s what I found so compelling about the read; while at first they seem so different, it wasn’t long before I thought that they were like two pieces to a puzzle and that they needed to be together.
Review copy provided by publisher