Christmas Past by Mary Burton #bookreview #suspense #romance #holiday

Title: Christmas Past

Author: Mary Burton

Publisher: Zebra Books

Publication Date: October 29, 2019

Page Count: 96

My rating: 4 stars

About the book:

From New York Times bestselling author Mary Burton comes a captivating tale of romantic suspense set in the heart of a rugged winter . . .

Photographer Nicole Piper moved to Virginia hoping to put a troubled past behind her and start fresh with her baby daughter. But those hopes are dashed when she receives a very unwelcome Christmas gift—from her late husband. It’s a letter that holds clues to an elusive killer’s identity. The victim had helped save Nicole’s life—and paid with her own. Nicole owes it to her to follow the letter’s trail, and perhaps put to rest the fear that stalks her once and for all. But she can’t do it alone.

When Homicide Detective David Ayden first met Nicole, he was looking for a fresh start too. Widowed and raising two teenage boys, Nicole was the only woman who’d stirred his interest—and the attraction was mutual. But that was months ago and she wasn’t ready to trust again. Maybe she still isn’t. All that matters now is that she needs his help—even if it means embarking on a road trip that will take them both into the heart of danger—and desire . . .


Christmas Past by Mary Burton is a novella length romantic suspense story that is now being republished. Originally published in 2012 it once was part of a collection of four novellas from different authors. This one is a standalone story though that takes place at Christmastime.

Nicole Piper has spent the past year picking herself up and putting her life back together for not only herself but for her daughter. Nicole’s place now may not look like much but  it’s hers and she’s proud she found the courage to leave her abusive ex-husband. But just when she thinks she’s finally got him out of her mind she receives a letter from his lawyer.

David Ayden is a homicide detective who is divorced himself and raising his boys on his own. David had met and fallen for Nicole as she was first getting her life back on track but Nicole wasn’ t ready then. When David hears that Nicole plans on seeing this lawyer looking for evidence from the past he insists on tagging along for protection.

Mary Burton did a wonderful job taking what feels like it could easily be one of her longer novel plots and working it into a novella length story. There was never really that moment I felt I missed anything since the past covers the relationship moving quickly and also the danger that befalls the characters. Great little quick read that mirrored the author’s other suspense novels.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

Find this book online: 

Goodreads  /   Amazon

About the author:

Mary Burton loves writing suspense, researching law enforcement and forensic procedures, morning walks, baking, books, and tiny dachshunds. She also enjoys hunting down serial killers, which she does in her New York Times and USA Today bestselling novels of suspense and romance. Library Journal has compared her work to that of Lisa Jackson and Lisa Gardner, and Fresh Fiction likened her writing to that of James Patterson.

Mary is routinely featured among the top twenty writers in Amazon’s Author Rankings for romantic suspense, and her recent novel The Last Move claimed the number ten fiction slot in the Kindle eBooks Store.

Research is a favorite part of Mary’s day. She never tires of learning more about police work, evidence collection and analysis. She’s known for taking a hands-on approach, whether it means interviews with professionals in the field, forensic seminars or lessons at the firing range.

A Richmond native, Mary has lived there for most of her life. She is a graduate of Virginia’s Hollins University and worked in marketing before she began writing full time. Her first book was published in 2000 and she’s now the author of thirty-four published novels, five novellas and four works of contemporary women’s fiction written as Mary Ellen Taylor.

A member of International Thriller Writers, Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Novelists, Inc., and Romance Writers of America, Mary is known for creating multiple suspense stories connected by characters, such as her recent The Forgotten Files novels. Her new book, Her Last Word, and The Last Move, break that mold.

When not traveling for research or visiting with readers at bookstores, book festivals and conferences, Mary remains very much a homebody. She and her husband spend time alternately enjoying and lamenting their empty nest and spoiling their four-legged babies Buddy, Bella and Tiki.

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