It’s December 23rd and while everyone else is rushing home for the holidays, workaholic Leesa Oliver is dreading switching on her out-of-office for the festive season. And it seems her equally driven boss, Cary Anderson, isn’t relishing spending Christmas at his family’s country estate either.
So together, they draft an unexpected Christmas contract: They’ll spend half of the holidays with each other’s families, pretending to be a couple. Leesa knows the insufferably good-looking Cary will make her Christmas more bearable, but what happens after the last of the mince pies have been eaten…?
Leesa signed off on a sensible business agreement, but somewhere, amongst the fairy lights and carols, something seems to have changed… It seems there might just be some magic under the mistletoe this Christmas!
I received a copy of this book from Aria in return for an honest review.
Mistletoe historically conjures up images of the festive season, and romance for me, and this story beginning and ending with Christmas has plenty of magical mistletoe and romantic kisses.
Leesa and Cary are returning to the UK from a business trip in Australia. Both are career-driven, but whilst Cary reels off his criticisms in the comfort of first-class, Leesa is struggling to survive amidst a boisterous toddler and a lady determined to sort out her cavernous handbag. Battered and a little bruised both mentally and physically she plots her revenge. Then he takes the wind out of her sails, by offering her much needed sustenance, and a surprisingly pleasant insight, into his closely guarded personality. Stranded by uncharacteristically festive weather, Leesa accepts an invitation that leads to something unexpected.
I always find Lucy’s books heartwarming, insightful and romantic, and this one is all of these, with a festive twist. There are lots of characters, and sub-plots, which add depth to the story, and provide clever insight into the emotional baggage Leesa and Cary carry around. There is a good use of the fake date trope and slow-burning passion building between the couple, who are so successful in their professional lives to the exclusion of their personal happiness.
Fate and festive magic play their part in this complex romance, which begins and ends at a magical time of year.
Guest Post – Inspiration for my stories – Lucy coleman
It’s so lovely to be back again, Jane – thank you so much for the invite! As an author yourself, I’m sure this topic is one you experience all the time, too!
One of the first questions people ask when they are introduced to an author is ‘where do you find the inspiration for your stories?’
Mine usually come as a one-liner thought and I always carry a notebook and pen as things will spring into my head when I’m in the car, queuing in the supermarket and especially when out walking.
I have a folder full of jottings because that one-liner is just the initial spark. What usually happens, is that by the time I’m ready to pick it up and develop it, there will be a pile of little notes clipped together.
One such spark was triggered by a photograph I saw of Lisbon. This time it was the setting that was going to inspire the story and as my husband and I headed off for a four-day research trip, the two main characters were already introducing themselves to me.
Now I’m not a plotter, so the story reveals itself to me as I get to know the characters. It’s a fun way to write. But sitting on the plane that day, I didn’t really know what this story was going to be about.
We dumped our suitcases with barely a glance at our gorgeous hotel room and off we went to explore. We chose a hotel that was only a ten-minute walk from Cristo Rei – the majestic statue of Christ, similar to the ones in Brazil and Bolivia. Even though it was on the opposite side of the river to the town and in a quieter setting, it was top of my must-see list.
That afternoon as we did the uphill climb, I was buzzing and as I stood looking up at the statue the story was there, in my head. As my husband went exploring, I sat in the little café making copious notes. We went there every day after other sight-seeing trips, and it was the last place we visited before it was time to leave for the airport.
For the first time ever, I have pages of conversation between the characters. On each visit, I saw my characters walking around as if they were really there and I took hundreds of photos so I will be able to spirit myself back to that time and place.
When I returned home, I simply wanted to sit down and write the story, but other work in the pipeline had to be completed and two other books edited, first. I’m currently writing my 2020 Christmas book, then one more little project and Lisbon here I come.
I usually write about locations I know well from previous travels and it’s rare for a location to grab me as Lisbon did, simply from a shot, I saw on TV. Having said that… maybe there’s a pattern developing. In October I’m off to a monastery in Spain after a random idea popped into my head.
That’s the trouble with listening to your imagination – it knows no bounds!
Lucy lives in the Forest of Dean in the UK with her lovely husband and Bengal cat, Ziggy. Her novels have been shortlisted in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards. Lucy won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award.