Must Love Mistletoe
Holiday Duet Series, #2
Self-Pub, Sep 2011
Kindle, 383 Pages
Also available in paperback
Genre(s) Christmas, Holidays, Contemporary Romance, Hometown Romance
Source purchased at current price
Other books in this series
Not Another New Year's #2
I purchased a copy of this book at the current price. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review
What it's about...
Bailey Sullivan had left home after high school hoping never to have to come back. Now she was back in town to help out her folks with the family business, The Perfect Christmas. For a woman who has always hated Christmas, this couldn't be worse. Or could it?
Mrs. Jacobson, next door to her folks, has a grandson Bailey knew when she was growing up. He was a bad boy type and she couldn't resist him then. He's staying with his grandmother while she recovers from an illness. It appears he hasn't forgotten any of their time together and might like to spend more time together. Can she resist him now?
Two battered people holding their secrets tightly tucked away so no one will see. Especially not each other. Will these two damaged lovers be able to uncover all the secrets and find the love they once shared?
The cover is very attractive with a nice saturation of color and a cute couple. You can tell there's heat between the couple, too. But I'd like to see some mistletoe there somewhere.
The storyline is great. The golden girl and the bad boy are childhood sweethearts. She takes off before things can go bad, advised by her father's heartfelt advise. "Get out before things get ugly." So she goes to college and law school and runs a law office that specializes in family law. And she never visits home. The bad boy has gotten his GED, gone to college, and now works for the Secret Service. They're on equal footing now. And they still have feelings for each other. Those feeling keep getting in the way as things work out leading up until Christmas. And neither one can say "I love you" until all the secrets have been revealed.
The characters are well explained and seem to be nicely developed. The two main characters are totally developed to the point that you can almost think along with them.
The pace in the beginning almost caused me to give up on this book with its back and forth between the present and what she remembered from their shared past. Once it picked up and things stayed in the present, then it was much better.
The tension was a nice easy pull from the beginning with a couple of sharper tugs towards the end.
And this is where you STOP if you don't want to see any SPOILERS...
The good, the bad, and the ugly...and how much it lit up my life... ✰✰✰✰⭒
If you have a title like Must Love Mistletoe, then why isn't there some mistletoe on your cover especially when you have a young couple in a clench on there? It would have been just fine to put a small sprig of mistletoe in one upper corner or at the top center above the couple. Or put a bunch of it down below the whole thing. But no mistletoe!
There was a nice balance to this book between regular scenes and love scenes. And the love scenes were done very well. I had to laugh at the one between Tracy and Dan. She was so surprised at herself afterwards. And so pleased, too! It's great to see an older woman who has thought herself totally unwanted and beyond all that suddenly realize that she is still a sexual being. Kudos to Ms. Ridgway for writing the role for the mother this way.
I always love when the secrets start getting unwrapped. This time was no exception. With Finn, it was all that angst from the assassination attempt he'd been involved in when the young, female agent had been killed and he had been injured. He felt that somehow he should have known she would react that way because she was in love with him. That somehow he should have been able to prevent her death. He also kept trying to convince himself that he didn't love Bailey anymore because he knew she would leave on the 25th and there was no point in carry a torch for her. As hard as he tried with that one, he just had to accept it in the end that he loved her and it was a permanent situation.
Bailey's secret went much deeper than anyone's. It was one that everyone else really felt they already knew. But Bailey had denied it to herself for so long that she couldn't very well admit to it now. What she really hated was not Christmas, but December the 26th. The day after Christmas when she had to go into the store, The Perfect Christmas, and see what was left after the whole Christmas rush. The broken things. The unpopular things. The beginning of the down-time. And knowing that this was her life. Her family business. This was the ugliness that her father seemed to have warned her about in her mind. It was what she was running away from as much as anything else. That and deep emotional attachments. Something her father really was not qualified to advise her on, he being the one to cheat and leave. But that saying had become her mantra. "Get out before things turn ugly".
So here she is on December the 26th and she has a burned down store and a big decision to make now that her secret is out. What do you think she'll do? Will she get back in her car and continue on her merry way to her law firm? Or, will she stay in Coronado and with Finn rebuild The Perfect Christmas and make it her own? Who know?