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The Unexpected Santa

(The Sin Bin #5)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  171 ratings  ·  40 reviews
When a rugby bad boy butts heads with a retired Marine, which alpha male becomes top dog?

Scottie Monk came out of the womb angry at the world. He's selfish and bitter. "Bah humbug!" rolls off his tongue far easier than "Happy Christmas."

Gray Baird has dedicated his life to public service as a Marine Corps officer and later as a police chief. The decorated hero finds it imp
Published November 11th 2017 by Hot Tree Publishing
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Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  171 ratings  ·  40 reviews

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Apr 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short and spicy

Oooh this serves up a tasty appetizer for what's coming in the next book as Scottie finally meets someone capable of dealing with his temper and his drinking.

I'm looking forward to more.
Len Evans Jr
Dec 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christmas, owned
This short Christmas prequel to book six of the series was well done. It definitely intrigued me enough to not only want to read book six but the rest of the series as well. The MC's are both quite complex and each have their own issues. I look forward to see how they work toward becoming a couple. Over all an interesting introduction to these two people. ...more
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: m-m-romance, lgbtq
I was so excited when I got this book for read this book as I absolutely love the Sin Bin series. It was great to be back in Wales with this great group of characters and I was so looking forward to hearing about Scottie Monk, the ex-rugby player; he’s so angry at the world and quick-tempered and boy does he need someone to stand up to him and put him in his place. In steps Gray Baird, ex-military and ex-police chief, he’s solid, takes no nonsense and might just be what Scottie needs.

I was chuck

This was a little bit about the autistic twins that worked with Akash and Gray somehow elected to share some Christmas cheer with them. Scottie, who I really don’t get as a character at all, is thrown into the mix and Gray is trying to make him a submissive? Scottie needs rehab and/or a year in AA plus anger management first. First book I wasn’t terribly satisfied with from the author.
Nov 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An appetiser

I hadn't anticipated Gray's background or just how awful Scottie's was but they are kindred spirits.

It will be interesting to see how Scottie takes to submission.

They may have had Christmas dinner but I'm the one who's still hungry.
Emma Jaye
Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
The start of a story rather than the full thing, but I forgave the author due to the bolshie Scottie. Loved his f-bomb first and think later attitude, and that it didn't deter Grey from pursuing him. Looking forward to exploring this dynamic further. ...more
Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
A Fun Holiday Tease

Since I utterly fell in love with this author when I read the previous book in this series, The Royal Marine, I reached out with eager grabby hands to get hold of this one, as well! Let me start by saying that while this is a holiday short, you do need to have read The Royal Marine at the very least for it to make sense, as the characters are assumed to be known and the background info is either brief or absent altogether.

It’s Christmas, and Gray Baird has volunteered to w
Merissa (Archaeolibrarian)
The Unexpected Santa is the fifth book in The Sin Bin series, and this story focuses on a particular holiday, which you can guess by the title. Scottie is one of the Sin Bin members that I have always had trouble warming up. He is brash, obnoxious, and is more than happy to throw his own pity party - drink included. With stalker tendencies, and an amazing ability to sulk when things don't go his way, I wasn't 100% sure about reading this book. However, after seeing how Gray dealt with him in Aka ...more
books are love
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a quick fun and sad read that has you hanging at the end and wanting more.

Scottie has a lot of issues that he tries to drink away. Gray is trying to forget things in his past as well thus the reason he is no longer in the states. Both guys are sweet and fun but Gray is more dominant and gets Scottie all tingly.

Here Gray is working to make Christmas a better one for Alex and Alice but also himself and Scottie. So he has a little Xmas celebration at his home. He shows us that you don’t nee
Kathy Wideman
This is the fifth book in this series and they should be read in order. This book focuses on the characters Scottie and Gray Baird during the Christmas holiday. Neither Scottie or Gray are big on the holidays. Scottie is being his usual self which is assholish. Gray seems to be the only one who can handle Scottie. Gray wants to give the twins a proper Christmas. He will do whatever he can to make sure the twins enjoy the holiday. He twists Scottie’s arm and gets him to celebrate as well. The two ...more
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Review

Rating 4.5 stars out of 5

For the full review visit

From that review: The Unexpected Santa (The Sin Bin #5) by Dahlia Donovan is more like a prelude to the next story, a setup really,  to the much anticipated full blown clash that's coming between Scottie Monk and Gray Baird in The Lion Tamer.

However, taken within that context?  It's a wonderful anticipatory delight of a short story.  For all of the previous four novels, Scottie M
Feb 01, 2020 rated it liked it
This just barely, if even, gets to three stars for me. This one is my least favorite in the series so far. It’s really short and meant as a bridge or teaser to the next installment, The Lion Tamer, but Scottie’s character has been dragged along enough already and this story just seems rather superfluous and could easily have been included as a prologue and opening chapters to the next one, which is also Scottie’s and Gray’s story. I’m cautiously optimistic about what’s to come. Although Scottie ...more
Maria Vickers
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Unexpected Santa by Dahlia Donovan picks up where The Royal Marine leaves off, and I'm hoping that it is the beginning of something more. My only complaint about this book is that it has a HUGE cliffhanger. Fair warning. That said, it is a good in between book and gives you more insight into Scotty. On top of that, I think we got to know the twins a little more, and I have to say that I absolutely love them. They add something to the stories that cannot be found other places. And Gray Baird. ...more
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I didn't read the description before I read this one, because I love the Sin Bin Series and I love the authors others works as well, so I jumped at the chance to read this book. The one book I haven't read of hers is The Royal Marine, which is the one it says to read before this, of course that's my luck! Even without having read that installment, I still enjoyed this short holiday read. I may not have known the entire history, but I knew some of the other characters mentioned from other Sin Bin ...more
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Rating: 4.5*

Scottie has been my least favourite character so far. However we get a sneak peak of what is to come for her and boy its going to be fun watching him fall!!

There is so much more to Scottie than we have seen so far and there comes an understanding as to why he is the way he is. The dominant Gray may just be what he needs even if he resists every attempt by Gray to assert his authority. Gray is still a bit of a mystery but this teaser has me excited for what's to come.

Loved this Christ
Becky Baldridge
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
Having read The Royal Marine, I was familiar with Scottie and was looking forward to reading about the one to finally tame this contrary, not so likable man. Enter the silver fox, Gray, who is almost as cranky as Scottie, but is certainly persistent about what he wants - and may be exactly what Scottie needs. I loved Gray's interactions with the twins and how they grew on him, softening him up a bit for Christmas. The story is very fast paced and did hold my interest, but the biggest dr
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

This short story held so many promises to come! We finally get to see Scottie's POV and we get further insight into both him and Gray. This was the perfect little teaser for the next book in the series where we really get to see Scott and Gray come together. It was sassy and sweet!

I want to add a note that I just love Alex and Alice. The twins are amazing side characters. It was super sweet to see Gray create a nice Christmas for them. For characters who do not make a big physical impa
Sep 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
🎁Short holiday teaser for Sin Bin's The Lion Tamer

Irrepressible hothead drunk/former rugby player Scottie is a swearing grump, but this short prequel for The Lion Tamer takes care of two issues well:

- It provides a window into Scottie's troubled childhood and the reason for his wildly inappropriate behavior; and

- It establishes the power play attraction between Scottie and American security expert/former Marine Gray Baird.

The tension between the two men is palpable and the presence of autistic s
Jenn's Book Obsession
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book has been on my TBR list since it came out. The blurb itself is very intriguing. This book is a great quick introduction into Gray and Scottie's story. I liked how the author gives us a tease on what to expect between these two.

The characters are very well written. I certainly started off not liking Scottie because his whole attitude just sucks. Gray is very likeable from the start. However, both characters are very arrogant and stubborn.

Dahlia Donovan does a great job with the pace o
Sep 17, 2018 rated it did not like it
You might say that it's my fault I didn't like this book since I totally ignored this was #5 in a series which I haven't read. So this might only be enjoyable if and only IF you have read the previous 4 installments. I wouldn't have minded if I didn't get the full picture but there wasn't a picture to begin with. This was like a poor sketch of a story. There's not even an ending. Nothing really happens and if my body should tingle by the mere possibility of a D/s relationship and the super macho ...more
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A disappointing read.

Maybe my mistake is not reading "The Royal Marine" first so I could be familiar with Scottie's character. My impression was that he was a complete drunken jerk. As for Gray Baird he just seemed to be only interested in self motivation; not helping either of them to overcome childhood angst. The ending wasn't even a HFN ending. It was so abrupt and left me wanting.
Reanna Hanley
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Unexpected Santa

I'm not sure what I expected but this wasn't it, don't take this wrong it was a great read but definitely too short! I NEED Scottie and Gray's story and this was just a tease!!! Unexpedcted, light, and interesting. If you haven't read the rest of the series I wouldn't recommend starting here but I would definitely recommend you start finding out about the Sin Bin!
Ken Cook
Introduction to the novel

The eBook I read was just the initial story setting introductory chapters. The two lead characters are introduced, the stage is set for the story to develop. Enough of a taste to intrigue, and either read the whole book, or, because of the style and voice of the author, start at the beginning of the series and meet the full"team".
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 out of 5 stars

This was a quick read to introduce us to the relationship of Scottie and Grey. I enjoyed seeing how things started and really can't wait to finish their story with their novel, The Lion Tamer. I also liked how much they came to care about the twins in this book. Those two are some great sub-characters that deliver a lot of punch to the books!
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christmas-2018
3.5 ⭐️
Definitely an appetizer before the main course, and you definitely had to read the previous book or books to understand all of what’s going on. Intriguing enough to make you want to find out how Grey actually gets Scottie to bend to his will. I was really happy they guys and the twins were able to have a pleasant Christmas together.
May 04, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tasty little teaser giving us a hint of Gray’s dominant side and whether he can get Scottie to acknowledge his submissive side.
Scottie is slightly less asshole-y in this one as he is mostly sober, though his initial drunkenness does go to type.
The twins feature in a suitably styled Christmas with Gray and Scottie.
Lala Albert
Jan 06, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: no
Terrible. Both MCs were just horrible people. Scottie was a drunken contrarian. Gray Baird is some old dude who gets off on negging his potential conquests. No sex to be had on the page or off. Abrupt ending.

Utterly dismal.
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not gonna lie, when I saw it was only around 63 pages, I was disappointed because you can tell Scottie and Gray are both going to be complex characters and that’s not near enough time for their story. Sooooooo glad to see that there’s more and I can’t wait to read it!
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Can’t wait to read the rest!

I love this series! What a teaser for this book, though - this is going to be one of the best, I think. Chemistry is already there, and it’s just getting started!
Nov 24, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the story line, but didn't realize it would leave off as a cliffhanger. Wanted to see how it ended, not have to wait. Unsure if I will get the next that gives the togetherness. ...more
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Dahlia Donovan wrote her first romance series after a crazy dream about shifters and damsels in distress. She prefers irreverent humour and unconventional characters. An autistic and occasional hermit, her life wouldn’t be complete without her husband and her massive collection of books and video games.

Other books in the series

The Sin Bin (8 books)
  • The Wanderer (The Sin Bin #1)
  • The Caretaker (The Sin Bin, #2)
  • The Botanist (The Sin Bin, #3)
  • The Royal Marine (The Sin Bin, #4)
  • The Lion Tamer (The Sin Bin, #6)
  • Haka Ever After (The Sin Bin, #7)
  • Sin Bin Series: Box Set (The Sin Bin)

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