Cookies for Santa (Re-released in August 2013 as Covert Exposure, A Nick Spinelli Mystery) by Valerie Clarizio is a Romantic Suspense that takes us to the time of giving in the Christmas season, but not everything is as it first appears.

Detective Nick Spinelli’s partner has just retired and he’s now at loose ends. He’s a solo cop in Homicide with no new partner in sight. Unfortunately his boss decides to lend him out to the Child Services division. He doesn’t handle children well, not in the least, but the “green eyed angel” he’d be more than glad to get his hands on. Well, right up until the moment she takes a hate for him, then it’s nearly all out war.

Shannon O’Hara is a case worker for the Child Services division of the Social Services Department. Because of the holiday season things around the office are even more stressful and busy. What she doesn’t need is a cop with a chip on his shoulder and major attitude. Not in the job she has to do, not when there are children are involved.

But there’s a lot more going on, most of it revolving around Shannon’s weekend gig as an Elf for Santa at the mall. When the man playing Santa and an Elf turn up dead, things get all the more complicated between her and Nick Spinelli.

This is a great little story; the tension between them could practically be cut with a blade. They need one another and yet are constantly fighting each other at every turn. The author keeps the heat turned up on high between them from the moment they meet until the very last page. A great addition to anyone’s shelf.

PG-13 - Very Interesting
Excellent read - highly recommended