A full-length contemporary romance for readers who enjoy Barbara Freethy, Susan Mallery, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and Nora Roberts.
Bailey Sullivan can't stand Christmas, even though her family's business is a store specializing in the perfect holiday. But now her hometown's chief supplier of rooftop Rudolphs and treetop angels is in danger of going under--and it's up to Bailey to save the shop. She has it all planned: She'll arrive on December 1 and be gone by Christmas. Plus there's always spiked eggnog to ease the pain. But "Humbug" Bailey's not the only one home for the holidays. Finn Jacobson, legendary local bad boy turned Secret Service agent and Bailey's long-lost high-school boyfriend, is once again the boy next door. Only this time he's all grown up, and the sparks are flying faster and hotter than ever! Bailey believes in true love about as much as she believes in Santa Claus. But as the holiday draws closer, she's starting to think about one thing she'd like to find under the tree...(synopsis from Goodreads)
I purchased Must Love Mistletoe, for my Nook, because I was looking for a novel to put me in the holiday mood. I have enjoyed other novels by Ridgway and the synopsis piqued my interest. Must Love Mistletoe was a delightful romance about taking risks with your heart, empty nests and small towns.
The novel centers on Bailey Sullivan who left her hometown of Coronado the second she graduated. Despite the fact that she had plans with her neighbor’s bad-boy grandson Finn. Bailey and Finn spent every summer together, had a steamy teen romance and talked about plans after graduation. Bailey decided to to run before things got ugly.
Bailey is a bright, hard working lawyer who drops everything to come home for the month of December. Her Mom and stepfather have separated and someone needs to run the family Christmas shop. Imagine her surprise, when she sees the only man she has ever loved (not that she would ever admit it), all grown up and even sexier. Just looking at him, is giving her flashbacks of their summers together. She is determined to stay as far away from Finn as possible. He got to close once and she can't take that risk with her heart. If only he didn't look so smoking hot in his jeans.
After an injury, Finn has taken time off from work to help his ailing grandmother. He never thought he’d run into Bailey. He’s determined to keep his distance. Bailey broke his heart and he’s never letting anyone get that close again. She made him believe in magic, then left without a word. Keeping away is going to be a problem, because the sight of all grown up Bailey is making him crazy.
The tale that unfolds is humorous and touching. The chemistry between Bailey and Finn is steamy, romantic and heart-breaking. I loved their witty banter and the nicknames they gave each other. Ridgway had me flipping the pages hoping one of these idiots would open up and confess their true feelings. For the delicate reader, I must warn you some of the love scenes were very detailed.
I highly recommend Must Love Mistletoe to fans of contemporary romances. Although, it centers on Christmas, this would be an enjoyable read anytime. Ridgway is the author of How to Knit a Wild Bikini (Malibu and Ewe #1) and Crush on You (Three Kisses, #1). She has over fifty published works. Must Love Mistletoe is available in paper and digital formats. The second book in the series is entitled Not Another New Year's (Holidays #2). Each novel can be read as a standalone.
I gave this book 4 coffee cups out of 5.
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