Located on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille in beautiful Northern Idaho, Camp Bay Chalet is a discrete and cozy B&B, popular with both locals and minor celebrities for its fabulous holiday weekends.
The pic seen around the world….
The son of Hollywood royalty, North Astor-Ford has lived his entire life in the public’s eye. He knows better than anyone that someone is always watching.
So when one not-so-innocent picture meant for a hook-up accidentally ends up crossposted across all his social media, North is left humiliated and scared. With no one to turn to, he flees to Camp Bay Chalet to be close to the one person he used to count on to protect him from the world.
Liam’s life has been in a holding pattern since the moment North fired him three years ago, even if it was for the best. A romance between a bodyguard and his client would’ve caused exactly the sort of scandal Liam was hired to prevent.
Now that North is back in his orbit, Liam’s going to do what he does best, protect North from the world. And maybe, just maybe, the charm of a Camp Bay Chalet Christmas will be enough to both heal North and bring about the romance they’ve both always wanted.
North’s Pole takes place in the Camp Bay shared universe, but can be read as a stand-alone. Look for more of the Camp Bay universe in Stolen Christmas by Marie Sexton.
North Astor-Ford, son of hotel heiress Susan Astor and actor Deacon Ford, is in piping hot—yes, that’s boiling hot—water! This time over an, ahem, inappropriate upload to his social media accounts. The internet is burning down over this scorching and raunchy shot!
“Why are you looking at that garbage?” I asked my sister.
“What? TikTok?” Maeve ran her thumb over the screen, navigating away from the video discussing the latest bumble my former protectee, twenty-one-year-old North Astor-Ford, had made.
She reclined on the sofa, propping up her swollen feet after a shift on the ER’s hard floors and scrolling TikTok like her life depended on it. “Your ‘garbage’ is my ‘yummy treat.’”
“It’s shameless gossip about a guy who—” I stopped myself.
Maeve glanced up, one perfectly shaped, black brow lifting, as her lips twisted into that annoying smirk, which, as her twin, I was all too familiar with. I’m pretty sure she’d smirked at me like that in the womb.
“It’s also cat-in-Santa-hat videos and old people dancing and puppies in the rain and babies tasting sour things for the first time and KPop idols and holiday memes and—”
“Stop. I get it.”
“Clearly, you don’t.”
“Maybe you’re the one who doesn’t get it.”
Immature and ineffective as a come-back goes, sure, but it was all I had in me when my mind kept circling back to the implications of that TikTok about North.
I gave myself a stern, internal lecture.
You have no right to give a damn anymore when it comes to North Astor-Ford and his sexy problems.
Avoidance had worked in the past, and I could make it work again. I turned my focus to helping my four-year-old nephew put all his Tonka Trucks, Matchbox Cars, and Paw Patrol figures back in the big, blue bin they belonged in. We crawled around on the floor together as Aiden sang the “clean up” song I’d taught him.
A few seconds passed.
“Give me that,” I said, crawling over to Maeve and surrendering to my curiosity.
Grabbing the phone from her hand, I accidentally cued the next video. “How do I…?” I tried swiping up and down, but that just brought me to a video of a black cat eating a holiday-themed treat with a superior expression on his face while a male voiceover narrated the cat’s smug inner-thoughts. “Christ, get that video back, will you?” I thrust the phone back to her.
“Yeah, Christ, Mama,” Aiden echoed. “Get the bideo back.”
“I’ve told you not to teach him to take God’s name in vain,” Maeve scolded. “Mom will have a heart attack.”
“He didn’t take God’s name—”
“He did, Liam.”
“He took His Son’s name in vain.” Shockingly, she didn’t fry me with her glare. “Never mind. Just find that video again.”
She frowned at the phone as she scrolled. “I don’t know why you still care about that spoiled kid. He left you jobless during a pandemic in the middle of a crap economy. You owe him nothing.”
It was true, but it wasn’t the whole story.
I’d never told Maeve the truth about North and why he’d let me go during his senior year of high school. Having a bodyguard, even a nineteen-year-old one like I’d been back then, was always going to be a pain in North’s ass. But having a bodyguard he was attracted to was oh-so-much worse.
I couldn’t blame North for wanting to put himself out of his misery by putting me as far away as possible. The fact it’d helped me out of my misery, too—because the attraction was very much mutual—was something I hadn’t shared with anyone in my family. Though something told me Mom and Maeve both suspected the truth.
“Here,” Maeve said, passing the phone over before heaving herself upright. She patted the sofa next to her. “I want to watch too.”
The TikTok-er was a young brunette woman with hair that was half-long, half-short, but not really a mullet either. She wore enormous peppermint candy-shaped earrings and very long fingernails that were painted with sparkling candy-cane stripes. She seemed more gleeful than outraged as she described North’s mishap.
And it truly seemed like a mishap to me.
Though some on the internet were apparently calling it a gross violation of human decency, and others were saying it was sexual harassment via non-consensual worldwide web exposure.
“It’s true I never consented to see that pic,” the woman said, eyes wide with delight. “But it’s not like I’m mad about it!” She laughed. “If you’re going to upload your tool to the bona fide inter-damn-net in this year of our Lord twenty-twenty-two, at least make sure you’re showing off a nice hammer, am I right? And, oh my God, North Astor-Ford has one divine hammer!” The TikTok-er pretended to gag on a dick before adding, “Just call him Thor! Whew, what a dick pic!”
Not my protectee. Not my problem.
I mentally repeated the mantra: Not my problem. So why did North still feel like my problem?
One of the things I liked about this book is that it was different. Different in that the two main characters have an established relationship (one was the bodyguard of the other) but hadn’t seen each other in 3 years. AND the book doesn’t start with the established relationship. It is explained to us at necessary points in the book. It is a bit strange that Liam became a bodyguard at 19. NINETEEN? Really? And North’s super picky parents were cool with it? I can’t get over that.
That said, there were other good parts. Liam is a caretaker and thrives on it. So when North is back in his life, he has someone to focus on. Someone he really cares about. North needs taking care of. I hate to say someone is dumb, but the one main character, North, is definitely not the brightest crayon in the box.
The setting for the story sounded like a fairytale. A chalet in snowy Idaho at Christmas time.
Liam and North are made for each other. They are adorable of course, but it bothered me that Liam basically ditched his family because of North. Not permanently, obviously. But basically like “sorry, North is here. do not disturb”. And North being that dull crayon is just happy to have Liam all to himself.
There were cute scenes and sexy scenes. North’s parents are ridiculous and his sister is kind of a jerk, imo. And he has the loving grandmother and the nasty grandmother. Liam’s mother is the stereotypical “oh we’ve never met but welcome and let me hug you and do all of the motherly things” mom. Liam’s nephews are super cute, natch, but his sister keeps North at arm’s length.
Cute story, good setting. Some of it was a bit eye rolling. But, yanno, grain of salt. Or flake of sn0w. Whichever.
3.5 pieces of eye candy
Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake‘s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.
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