Type: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: St. Martins
My Copy: Net Galley
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 have enjoyed many of the books by this Ms. Cutler and when I saw she had this Christmas book, I jumped at the chance to read it. This is a cute holiday themed story that gets you in the spirit of the season.
Carina is all about the family business, she works long hours to make others happy while they are staying at the Briscoe Ranch Resorts, guests are either enjoying a dream vacation or their dream wedding. There is something special about a Briscoe Wedding, a lasting legacy that many couples want to be a part of, in the fifty years they have hosted weddings at the ranch, there have been no divorces, a phenomenon called the Mistletoe Effect.
Carina’s sister Haylie is having her wedding at the ranch, starting off the wedding season with a grand affair that will include a spread in a national wedding magazine to showcase the ranch. Unfortunately when they are about to exchange vows, the groom confesses to one and all that he did not write his because he was spending the time enjoying a second bachelor party with strippers. Chaos ensues as Haylie runs down the aisle. Carina’s parents and grandmother become nervous about the Mistletoe Effect and quickly decide they need a stand-in for a wedding, as they look at Carina and the ranch foreman Decker.
James Decker has been the foreman on the ranch for over nine years, he has enjoyed working there but is about to make a change, moving to another larger ranch. Decker and Carina do not know each other well, she is always working and he has always known she is the boss’ daughter and off limits. Keeping up with a fake marriage will be difficult for the two but since it is only a month, they feel up to the challenge, it doesn’t hurt that the chemistry between them sizzles.
This is an entertaining story that shares the magic of the season.
Carina is a workaholic, I am not sure how she gets everything done in a day, she not only oversees all the weddings at the resort but she also creates wedding gowns that are in such demand that there is a waiting list. She is torn; wanting to do what is correct for her family and their legacy but also wants to do something for herself. Most times when facing her family, she lets them make decisions for her but Decker is different, he wants her to make her own decisions and waits for her to choose, and he gets mad at times when he feels she is being taken advantage of by her father.
Decker is an interesting man, always stayed away from her throughout the nine years he worked there, I found it amazing that not once in that time did he flirt with her even though there this attraction. It seems all the employees at the ranch had a certain idea about the type of person Carina is, all business and no fun, but Decker found out quickly that she has a totally different side of her, fun and sexy. When they enter into this fake marriage all bets are off and they have enough chemistry to light up a room, the scenes they have together are amazing and make for some fun reading.
The pace is fast as the story is on the short side and it works well as the two have a month together in this fake arrangement. They both work long hours but they strive to make the most of their time together. There are several bumps in the road mainly when he gets angry that she does not stand up for herself and then there is the upcoming end of not only their fake relationship but also their working relationship since he is about to take another job. Secondary characters are key, as this is a family business, I really enjoyed Granny Jane, she is funny and although pushes to get things done no matter who she involves, I like her. And when Carina’s sister comes back expecting the world to be excited for her, I was pleasantly surprised with their father’s reaction, not only about Carina but also about Decker, the ending is perfect.
I give The Mistletoe Effect by Melissa Cutler 4 stars!