Title: The Mistletoe Effect
Author: Melissa Cutler
My Rating: B
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Main Characters: Carina and James
Release Date: October 2014
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot
It’ll be a Christmas to remember when hotel heiress Carina Briscoe falls for cowboy James Decker, the bad boy stable manager of her family’s Texas resort, after they’re roped into pretending marriage. The marriage might be a sham but the sparks between them are anything but. Still, with a little help from the heroine’s interfering family, they might end up with the greatest Christmas gift of all: true love.
I'll admit that when I started this story, I wasn't too sure. It starts with a wedding that doesn't happen on this family ranch/hotel which is famous for its Mistletoe Effect and the 100% success rates of the marriages within the month of December. To not jinx the effect, Grandma states that someone has to get married. As the event planner for the family property and the one who rescued the thrown bouquet by her sister, Carina is the one chosen for sacrifice and James as the best man, gets the other vacancy in this wedding.
The set-up is a bit bizarre and unbelievable and even feels like it came from a different era...like the 40's or 50's. I did not like this section of the book at all and was doubting if I'd be able to finish it. I'm so glad I stuck with it because the rest of the book is fabulous.
Carina and James and their attitudes toward this marriage make this book work...after the marriage takes place...100%. There are no games or confusion in this story between these two. These are two characters who work 16-18 hour days...all the time. They don't have time for sex or romance so they both look at this as a 25 day period where they get to have "free" sex with someone who they are really attracted to with no penalties at the end. Neither one plans to make this marriage a permanent thing...it's just a show with a side of really hot, sizzling sex every night for a month.
I loved that aspect of it because the chemistry between these two is absolutely combustible. But despite everything they also become good friends too. They're living together, having lots of hot sex, and connecting in every way. They truly form a friendship too that made this story so incredibly sweet and romantic in the end. And I really was having a hard time seeing how the author was going to write herself out of the corner the characters are in. They have different dreams and aspirations which in no way should be able to keep them together, but Melissa Cutler managed it.
While the book had a somewhat corny start, the fact that this is a holiday book makes it easier to overlook that. And I promise you, the heat between the two characters and the incredibly romantic chemistry more than makes up for that in my book.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.