A cowboy and an heiress find themselves a pretend marriage—and a very real passion—in THE MISTLETOE EFFECT, a delightfully sexy Christmas e-novella from Melissa Cutler.
The Briscoe Ranch is famous for its December nuptials. No couple that's ever gotten married at the Texas resort has divorced—a phenomenon that the wedding industry has dubbed the Mistletoe Effect. But when the resort owner's youngest daughter leaves her wayward fiancé at the altar, the Briscoe Ranch faces a publicity nightmare. So Carina Briscoe, the sister of the bride, steps in to exchange vows with James Decker, one of the ranch's loyal employees instead. Their marriage might be a sham but the sparks between them are anything but. Sometimes a little bit of Christmas magic is all it takes for two hearts to end up in the right place at the right time…Could it be that this unlikely couple ends up with the greatest gift of all?
About the Author
Melissa Cutler knows she has the best job in the world writing sexy contemporary romances and romantic suspense. She was struck at an early age by an unrelenting travel bug and is probably planning her next vacation as you read this. When she's not globetrotting, she's enjoying Southern California's flip-flop wearing weather and wrangling two rambunctious kids.
Melissa Cutler is the author of The Mistletoe Effect and the One and Only Texas series. She knows she has the best job in the world writing sexy contemporary romances and romantic suspense. She was struck at an early age by an unrelenting travel bug and is probably planning her next vacation as you read this. When she's not globetrotting, she's enjoying Southern California's flip-flop wearing weather and wrangling two rambunctious kids.
Read an Excerpt
The Mistletoe Effect
By Melissa Cutler
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2014 Melissa Cutler
All rights reserved.
Carina blinked a tear from her eye, but not because of the high emotions involved in watching her only sister get married in the same chapel that their parents and grandparents had, located in the heart of the resort her family owned.
It was a beautiful event by anyone's measure, but the real cause of Carina's tears was the overwhelming cloud of frankincense and myrrh floating over the bridal party. Not that there was anything wrong with frankincense and myrrh — they were lovely, festive scents that captured the spirit of Christmas — but a little went a long way, and a lot made her feel like the Christmas spirit was conspiring to strangle her from the inside out.
"And now, if you would turn to each other and join hands, it's time to share the vows you've each written for the other," Chaplain Roberts said with a warm smile.
As they'd choreographed at the rehearsal, Carina stepped forward, careful to avoid the sweeping satin train of Haylie's dress, to receive the bouquet of red and white roses her sister held so she could join hands with Wendell.
Standing behind Haylie, Carina had a perfect view of the hound dog expression on Wendell's face that accompanied his heavy silence. Her heart dropped. Whatever bomb he was about to drop, it was going to be all kinds of destructive. She set a supportive hand on Haylie's back and held her breath.
Wendell rotated his body, angling his face away from the pews of guests. "I didn't write any vows. I forgot," he said from behind unmoving lips, as though a ventriloquist act might save him from suffering the consequences of his confession.
If he thought that, then he didn't know his intended bride all that well. True to form, Haylie let her horror show on her face for the whole crowd to see.
"You what?" she said at full volume. "Why not?"
"I'm sorry, baby. Last night got a little out of hand and I lost track of time. Bachelor party."
From the front pew, Carina and Haylie's parents rose, looking as stunned as Carina felt.
Haylie held up her palm, her French-tipped fingers splayed. "Your bachelor party was last week."
"I had another one. The first one wasn't, um ..." He glanced over his shoulder at James Decker, his best man, whose brows were furrowed with concern, then returned his attention to Haylie and his ventriloquist act. "The party Decker threw me didn't live up to expectation."
Wendell sighed as though frustrated by Haylie's lack of understanding. "Decker didn't get me a stripper, okay? And what's a bachelor party without one, you know? So the guys threw me another one last night. You understand, right, baby?"
Haylie gasped. All Carina could do was blink and release her breath in a slow, beleaguered stream. It came as no surprise that Wendell enjoyed the company of strippers. Carina had known the guy since he came to work at the resort as the golf pro in residence when he was twenty to her seventeen and Haylie's fifteen. But while Haylie had gone away to college and missed his most devoted years of carousing, with James Decker matching him every step of the way, Carina had witnessed enough to get the general idea of the quality of both their characters.
As it stood tonight, she couldn't decide what was more shocking, that Wendell had the audacity to bring up strippers during his wedding or that Decker — the man whom her father had once reprimanded for entertaining four women at the same time in one of the guest suites — hadn't provided them for him. Sure, Decker looked perfectly respectable tonight in one of the expensive tuxes her dad had provided for the groomsmen, but the clothes didn't sit on him well. Rather than coming across like a high roller, as Wendell did, Decker more closely resembled a wolf in sheep's clothing.
"You bastard," Haylie shouted, backing up. She slapped Wendell across the cheek with a smack that echoed off the chapel walls. Then she hit him over the head with her bouquet for good measure and burst into tears.
Their father rushed toward the altar. "Haylie, knock that off."
"Daddy, I can't marry him. After everything he put me through, this is too much." She stormed down the altar steps and past their red-faced, livid father and shell-shocked mother, not that her shocked expression looked different from her usual look, given that she had a standing monthly appointment at the resort's spa for Botox injections.
There wasn't a person on the planet who dared to defy Ty Briscoe when he used that tone of voice except Haylie. As it always did, it filled Carina with an odd, inappropriate giddiness to hear Haylie stand up to him and to Wendell.
"You get back up on that altar right now, young lady," their father roared.
But Haylie was out of there.
Good for you, Carina thought.
"Baby, please," Wendell called, chasing after her.
The red and white rose bouquet went flying over Haylie's shoulder in a toss that looked almost exactly like the kind intended to determine which single woman at the wedding would be getting hitched next, except for its I'm blowing this pop stand air of defiance that slowed time and hushed sound as the petals and stems turned ass over teakettle toward the altar.
Carina lunged forward, arms out, fingers reaching, legs tangling in her red velvet dress as she tripped over a row of potted poinsettias. Whatever. Poinsettias weren't even real flowers, just shrubs with red leaves. Not that there was anything wrong with poinsettias — the plants were pretty enough around the holidays — but nothing mattered except catching the bridal bouquet before it was ruined. Her sister would need it again once she'd calmed down and returned to the chapel.
Although Haylie's rebellion had filled Carina with a sense of glee and she'd be the proudest sister in all of Texas Hill Country if Haylie stuck to her guns and stayed gone, Carina fancied herself a realist. There was no doubt in Carina's mind that Haylie would soon return to the chapel, because the reality was that once Ty and Eloise Briscoe, Carina and Haylie's parents, got a notion in their minds about something as synergetic as hosting their daughter's wedding in conjunction with the fiftieth anniversary of the resort's most important event of the year derailment was not an option.
A smattering of applause broke out among the crowd of three hundred when Carina made the catch and landed, splayed at Granny June's feet. She held the flowers high, triumphant, paying no mind that her dress had flipped up to reveal the orange lace-trimmed jack-o'lantern print panties she'd worn as a private act of defiance against her Mrs. Claus bridesmaid dress or to the pain in her stomach from falling on Granny's black patent-leather flats. Self-sacrifice had always been Carina's greatest virtue.
Granny June peered down at her through thick glasses. "Oooh, honey. Great catch. You'll make a beautiful bride."
Debating the veracity of Granny's many superstitions was a losing game, but Carina couldn't help herself. "Just because I caught the bouquet doesn't mean I'm getting married."
As if there were any men in her life waiting in line for the honor. She missed men and sex — damn, how she missed sex — but even if she'd been better at flirting or the kind of woman men naturally gravitated to, like Haylie, Carina didn't have time for dating. Work consumed her every waking minute and often her dreams, too, especially during the holiday season.
Granny scoffed. "Of course it does. Don't be a ninny." Then she held up the smartphone that seemed permanently attached to her hand and snapped a photo.
Carina was still recovering from the flash when a shadow fell over her. She twisted to see Decker, a bemused smile on his lips. He held his hand out in assistance, which she accepted as soon as her heart stopped pounding out of control. His hand was big and calloused and his grip strong as he helped her up, then brushed the skirt of her dress down to cover her backside, much to her mortification. She'd forgotten about that as soon as he'd appeared standing over her.
"Are you all right?"
She nodded, embarrassed and tongue-tied. "Uh, yes. Yeah. The flowers ..." She let her voice trail off.
"Granny June was right. That was some catch."
Carina couldn't think of a darn thing to say in response to that. Thank you didn't even seem right, because she couldn't decide if he was teasing her or paying her a genuine compliment. Pretending like she hadn't heard the comment, she scanned the rows of guests, watching dispassionately as her parents and the rest of the bridesmaids frantically attempted damage control.
She was never smooth or natural around James Decker, not in all the years since he'd come to work with the resort's stable of horses and other livestock. Every time he talked to or even looked at her, she turned seventeen again, gangly and awkward, unable to formulate a sentence around the bad boy who'd first ridden onto the resort on a motorcycle with nothing but the clothes on his back, a cowboy hat on his head, and a fading black eye to apply for the job.
She located her father halfway down from the altar on the side of the room. He had his arm around Addison Littman, one of the two journalists from Wedding World magazine who'd flown in especially for the event. Carina's mother wasn't in the chapel, as far as Carina could tell, which probably meant she'd gone after Haylie.
This is a mess," Decker said. "What do we do?"
"We wait. Haylie'll be back. My mother's probably on the job, so it's only a matter of time."
The crowd buzzed with quiet chatter, but nobody rose or left, either waiting to be excused or banking on the fact that Ty Briscoe would get his daughter married off.
Then Carina heard it. A mention of the Mistletoe Effect, then another. A woman on the right side of the room asked the man next to her, "Does this count as a breakup? They weren't really married yet, so it doesn't end the streak, right?"
Damn. Damn, damn, damn. This was a bigger disaster than she'd initially thought. She swung her attention back to her father and the journalists. Triple dog damn it.
She had twenty-two more weddings lined up at the resort before Christmas. Couples who'd paid premium dollar to get married at Briscoe Ranch Resort during the month of December because of the phenomenon that local wedding planners had long ago dubbed the Mistletoe Effect — Briscoe Ranch Resort's perfect fifty-year record of divorce-free marriages that had taken place in the first twenty-five days of December. If word got out about Haylie's wedding disaster, if couples got nervous about the streak ending — or, worse yet, if Wedding World wrote about the streak ending — then what would that mean for the future of the company?
This was the Briscoe family's bread and butter, their company's ticket to the next level of luxury resorts. It was why her parents had scheduled Haylie's wedding when they did and called in Wedding World, hoping to land a coveted spot on their annual Best of the Best list of destination wedding locales.
The rear doors of the chapel swung open and Carina's mother stepped in, her hands clasped in front of her gold-and-silver couture gown and her chin held high. If Carina wasn't mistaken, it looked like she'd taken the time to apply fresh lipstick before returning to the chapel, though her eyes were watery as though she was having a rare moment of genuine emotion.
"She's gone. Wendell, too. It's over." With a sniff, Carina's mom dabbed at the corner of her eye with a lace handkerchief, then walked to Carina's father's side with the stiff grace and perfect posture befitting a former Dallas County beauty queen.
The crowd exploded with loud discussion. Some people stood to leave, though most looked rooted to their chairs.
Carina whirled on Decker. "If you'd thrown Wendell a bachelor party with strippers, this never would have happened."
Her face was instantly hot. What a ridiculous thing to say. It was amazing how easy it was to get sucked into her parents' vortex and let her concern for the business overshadow her concern for Haylie's well-being, but screwed-up priorities were her parents' gig, not hers. Haylie was better off without marrying Wendell, even if it cost the Briscoes' business hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue and irreversibly changed the course of the resort's growth.
Decker seemed unfazed. Crossing his arms over his chest, he rocked on his boot heels and arched a brow. "This must be one of those damned if I do, damned if I don't arguments you women are so fond of."
His deep Texas drawl flustered her almost as much as the way his arm muscles strained against the sleeves of his tuxedo jacket.
She snapped her gaze back to his face. "Absolutely not. I was trying to thank you."
He smiled at that, as though he didn't know she had it in her to jest. She didn't blame him; she could hardly believe she'd said something remotely witty to the man she found intimidating and unapproachable in every way.
Her father stormed to the front of the chapel again, pointing a finger at the bridal party and chaplain. "In the back room, now!"
Speaking of intimidating.
Before she could move, a knock sounded. She turned to see Granny June standing, rapping her cane on the back of her pew to get everyone's attention. The chatter in the room ceased. Even Carina's father froze.
Granny June might not be quite all there in the head anymore and she might let superstitions rule her life, but she was still one of the strongest, smartest women Carina knew. Along with Grandpa Tyson, who'd passed when Carina was a kid, Granny had the vision and guts to turn his run-down family ranch into a multimillion-dollar resort that had sustained three generations of Briscoes and, the family hoped, would sustain many more generations to come.
"The Mistletoe Effect started when my dear husband, Tyson, and I were married in this very chapel fifty years ago this month. In the years since, I have attended every December wedding held under this roof. Never once have I seen such an atrocity as has befallen here tonight. If a wedding doesn't take place, then the Mistletoe Effect is jinxed."
The buzz started up again in the crowd, but Granny wasn't done. She aimed her cane at her son. "This is up to you to fix. The Christmas spirits demand nuptials, so nuptials are what you have to give them if you want the Mistletoe Effect to keep working. There ain't no going back on a jinx like this." She swung her cane toward Carina. "And you."
Carina's stomach did a flip-flop. She gripped the bridal bouquet tighter. Don't say it, Granny.
"The bouquet has spoken."
The bouquet ... speaking? Sure, Granny was off her rocker, but she had to be kidding.
Granny waggled her cane. "Carina, you're the one getting married here tonight."
Triple dog damn it.
* * *
"I am not getting married tonight."
Carina said it so softly, Decker wasn't sure anyone else had heard it. Another thing he wasn't sure of was why the hell he'd followed her into the tiny side room of the chapel along with her father, her mother, the chaplain, and the rest of the bridal party. Actually, Decker knew why, not that it made the situation any easier to swallow.
Carina needed backup. He'd been around her and the Briscoe family long enough to know she was absolutely spineless when it came to standing up for herself against her parents. It pissed him off because he knew she was smarter and stronger than she was making herself out to be and because normally he wasn't in any sort of position to come to her rescue. Tonight, though, he was making an exception because, as far as he could tell, he was the only one who cared about anything other than the stupid mistletoe legend.
Ty Briscoe stomped across the room with the gusto of a bull with cactus needles in his ass. "Oh, yes, you are. This is your fault."
"How?" Decker asked, because he was sure Carina wasn't going to voice the obvious.
"You were the wedding planner," Ty snapped at Carina, as though she'd been the one to ask. "You should have made sure Wendell wrote his vows."
Carina's eyes were wide. A sheen of perspiration had broken out on her nose and forehead. "I know, but —"
Hold up a sec. She was taking responsibility for Wendell's jackassery? Decker turned his back on Ty and leveled a stern gaze at Carina. "Don't let him talk to you like that."
"He means well. His heart's in the right place."
Excerpted from The Mistletoe Effect by Melissa Cutler. Copyright © 2014 Melissa Cutler. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
What a fun Christmas read! It had everything you could want in a Christmas Novella. It had fun quirky characters, laugh out loud moments and likable hero and heroine from the get go. I was cheering them on from the beginning. I was very excited to hear that there may be more books about this little resort. If you are looking for a fun, quick Christmas read, you will love this one!
Reviewed for Read Your Writes Book Reviews by Kim The Mistletoe Effect marks my first time reading a cowboy romance from Melissa Cutler. I’m a huge fan of Melissa’s romantic suspense books. I love Christmas romances so what could be better than reading one of my favorite authors writing a Christmas romance? Carina Briscoe is the Special Events Manager for Briscoe Ranch Resort, her family’s multimillion-dollar resort. She’s addicted to work and has absolutely no backbone when it comes to standing up to her family. James Decker arrived at Briscoe Ranch Resort almost ten years ago, as a hard partying rebellious teenager. He has worked his way up to stable manager and has become an upstanding guy. It’s the beginning of December and Carina’s younger sister Haylie’s wedding is underway. The church is decorated and packed with attendees. There’s even a reporter from a national wedding magazine. The only problem is....Haylie has stormed out of the church with her bride-groom chasing after her. The resort boasts about its “Mistletoe Effect”. For 50 years, the resort has a perfect record of divorce-free marriages that take place within the first twenty-five days of December. Now with Haylie walking out on her wedding, there’s talk about a jinx. If people were to stop believing in “the mistletoe effect”, that could be disastrous to the Briscoe bottom line. Carina’s father and grandmother come up with an idea (scam) to have Carina and James pretend to get married. Carina will do anything her family wants her to do and James agrees only after Carina agrees to live with him as his wife until Christmas Day. The fun for this couple is just getting started. Over the course of the book, Carina and James both manage to change and bring out the best in each other. They discover a love and happiness they never expected. They learn that they have dreams and that they should follow those dreams. But most important of all, they discover the magic of the month of December and some of the best gifts are the ones you give to yourself. **Received a copy from St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest unbiased review.**
Reviewed by Angela and posted at Under The Covers Book Blog I’m a bit behind on reviewing this book or call it early since it’s a Christmas themed story. I read this book early this month and is my first holiday themed book for the year. The Mistletoe Effect is a little naughty, a little nice and whole lot of Christmas love. Getting geared up for some holiday spirit? This is the novella for you! The Texas Hill Country Resort is known for The Mistletoe Effect, A fifty-year record of divorce free marriages that takes place in the first twenty-five days of December. This year that streak is at risk which Carina Briscoe will try to save with the help of cowboy, James Decker. Oh, he’s more than willing to help but with conditions that will knock Carina out of her high heels. I enjoyed Cutler’s short story. I’ve always enjoyed her writing and the story she delivers. In this case, a sweet, funny and a hot read. I’d really prefer this book was longer though. There’s so much more to tell, IMO. I’m not sure what Ms. Cutler’s plans are but this can be a start of a good small town series. It’s complete with meddling family members, nosy town, and a grandma who thinks she knows everything. I’m definitely hoping for more. *ARC provided by publisher
I must say, I normally don't read holiday themed novels. However, since Melissa Cutler is one of my favorite authors, I thought, what the heck, I'll give it a try. Any boy oh boy, I sure am glad I did. Hot hot hot, fun, sexy and sizzling! All of that wrapped up in a great romance. If you Love true romance novels and want to feel good after you're done reading...this is the one for you. Loved it!
Carina and Decker are pushed together and try to make the most and the best of their situation. Do they EVER! Decker is one hot cowboy in his Wranglers and cowboy hat. Now that he has what he wants, he needs to figure out how to keep it. He has a special way of pushing Carina to take what she wants out of life and she wants him but he's leaving after the holidays for a new job 4 hours away. She's also been offered a job on the west coast. Will they ask each other to go or will they go their separate ways? I do love a sexy cowboy! Thank you Melissa Cutler for this fantastic Christmas romance. I look forward to reading more from this very talented author. Received a copy in exchange for an honest review.
I love this book more than hot chocolate, cowboy boots, and holiday lights. And I love all of those things a lot. It's charming. It's romantic. It's fun. A great holiday read!!!!!
I loved this book so much!!!!! I loved the characters Decker & Carina. I loved how they took care of each other and I loved watching their romance develop. The idea of The Mistletoe Effect was wonderful. I loved the idea of a place filled with magic and the couples coming back year after year to renew their vows. I also loved how Carina's father was finally able to tell her how much she meant to him. This was a charming and romantic read for the holdiays.
I really enjoyed this story, at first I wasn’t so sure, then the story took off and pulled me in. It is a short read about two people who have wanted to be together coming together through family pressure. It starts off with a wedding that doesn’t happen to a wedding that did happen as part of a rouge. Carina has had a crush on Decker since she was teenager, as a grown women she still would love to get her hot little hands on him, along with a few other parts. Her sister is getting married to, it part of the famous Mistletoe Effect with 100% success rate and zero divorce for those that get married in the month of Dec at the hotel. Her sister and husband-to-be have a misunderstand and the wedding is called off. Granny June said there must be a wedding. Carina and Decker are pushed in to getting married, it is suppose to be sham marriage. Decker himself has had a few fantasies about the lovely Carina. He sees his way to get his hot big hands on the women he has wanted for years. He puts a few demands into agreeing to this sham marriage. Her father will agree to anything if Decker will just marry his daughter to keep the Mistletoe Effect going. Their marriage starts off as a sham but will it stay that way or will they find there is more to Christmas then keeping the hotels name in tack? I enjoyed reading this book, the sparks fly between not only Carina and Decker but the family as well. It was a wonderful love story with many lessons for us as readers. It reminds us not only of what is important but what love is all about. It isn’t a story that you have to really keep your mind on, just a fun loving book full of surprises. Family learns the true meaning of family, family learns to stick together and become one. This is a lovely read to add to your holiday collection. In it you will find the true meaning of Christmas. I highly recommend this humorous read that will keep you smiling and chuckling throughout the wonderful pages the author has written. If you love Christmas stories you will not want to miss The Mistletoe Effect by Melissa Cutler
Cutler does not disappoint with this book. Featuring a marriage of convenience, with a bit of The Gift of the Magi thrown in, this book works on all levels. It is hard to write a good marriage of convenience story set in modern day and Cutler pulls it off. Carina and Decker are hot, sexy, and definitely meant to be together. The marriage push is simply fate stepping in to move things along What starts out as an agreement to support a family tradition – the mistletoe effect ensures every bride to get married in December at the Briscoe ranch stays married – quickly turns into a real relationship. Decker wants Carina to become the woman he sees hiding behind her need to please her family. He does everything he can to further her own goals. The overarching conflict isn’t dramatic, but there is enough tension to move the narrative forward efficiently. As a reader I was not disappointed by the direction the story took. There was just the right amount of heart to tie everything together. The supporting cast helps move the story along. I wanted to see more of Granny June, mostly just to see what she was going to say next. I wanted to see more of Carina’s friends and hope that we will revisit them in future novels. Emily is just waiting for a book and definitely deserves a happily ever after of her own. This would also give us a chance to see how Carina and Decker are doing. Even if you wait until the holiday season is in full swing, make time for this little gem. It will be well-worth it. If you are lucky, you might just time it for a snowy afternoon.
'The Mistletoe Effect' by Melissa Cutler is a great story! This is a fun, hot read! I loved reading about Carina and Decker. Granny June is an absolute trip! I really hope Melissa writes more with these characters! I'd love to follow up with this highly entertaining group! Highly recommend for all fans of romance, cowboys, Christmas, family dynamics.
Totally LOVED this story! From the beginning, our hero, James Decker, steps up and is protective of Carina, when her sister dumps her fiance at the altar. To make sure that their family resort doesn't lose face after being known for it's Mistletoe Effect(where no couple who has gotten married there has been divorced). James volunteers to marry Carina, and even though it starts out as an in name only marriage it quickly turns to more. Sparks fly and you get the perfect HEA. This is a hilarious story around Christmas that made me chuckle out loud, from the jack o lantern panties Carina wears under her bridesmaid dress to not worrying about the pointsettias as she was trying to catch her sister's bouquet because she didn't consider them real flowers. Great book and a great start to the holidays.
A Fairy Godma (with a SELFIE addiction) use a Texan sized dose of MISTLETOE PIXIE DUST to bring a undervalued heiress & a reformed BAD BOY cowboy many happy endings! Carina Briscoe is a event planner extraordinaire for her family owned, Briscoe Resort Ranch. She can juggle events, calm down nervous brides, conquer monsters-in-law & pull apart hair pulling bridesmaids, but she can't do 2 things, stop being her self absorbed family's door mat & can't string 2 words together in the presence of BAD BOY James Decker, head cowboy at the ranch. Her family is mismatch of kooky folks, with a sister & the family Princess, Haylie, her Botox & "runs to the spa for all conflicts" mom, Eloise, controlling "money can & does buy me anything" dad, Ty, & the wicked cane welding, Selfie Queen, Facebook addict & grand Dame of the clan, Granny Jane! And as all heroines learn, what Carina struggles with the most, will come bite her in the a$$! James Decker came to the Ranch 9 years & 11 months ago, riding his BAD BOY motorcycle, sporty a black eye, wearing a 10 o'clock shadow & his yummy "blessing the female population" Wranglers, but he has had a great job offer. He wants to grab & lasso it, but he needs a glowing recommendation from controlling boss, Ty Briscoe, to make it happen. So he plans to show Ty how responsible, dependable & mature he is now, than he was back in his Bad Boy days! What do they say about PLANS? "The Mistletoe Effect!" is the Ranch's wedding booking weapon & for the past last 50 years, they have a divorce free marriages for all couples who get married between December 1-25. December is amazing & money making for the Ranch, but really sucks for Carina. So on December 1, there is a worn out Carina (wearing a Mrs. Santa bridesmaid dress), as Haylie is yelling at her "didn't write my vows" groom, a well place beotch slap, a spiraling bouquet, a diving Carina, a high 5 touchdown catch & Granny Jane snapping pics, as she exposes her Halloween undies to mow other than Decker! So now the Ranch's "Mistletoe Effect" is a risk, so the clan's Selfie Queen sprinkles some of her FLASHY "FACEBOOK APPROVE" PIXIE DUST & she gets Carina & Decker faked married! Carina agrees because he has been her fantasy man for years & Decker has always wanted slowly melt the Icy Queen, but Decker also demands that she move in with him during their fake marriage. So at the Sugarplum Suite, she gets Halloween UNDIES dropping kisses, he has her hard up against the same door twice & she has him any & everywhere she can! With a fake marriage, dreams encouraged, a fake shacking up, a basket of NAUGHTINESS, a male Wall of Shame, media in your face galore, Granny Jane taking Selfies with everyone, some pulling on BIG GIRL pants, "melting the paint off the walls" nights, a stolen winter wonderland & Velcro undies ripping to turn Carina & Decker's lives inside out! Is Carina finally ready to take what she wants? Will Decker take the 4 hour away job? Can they make their fake marriage for REAL? How rusty is Granny Jane's PIXIE DUST? Can Carina ever tell her dad where to stick? But most importantly, if I look up this romance Facebook page, will I found Granny Jane's SELFIES? This is my 1st Ms. Cutler romance & she had me ROFL, HYPERVENTILATING, SNORTING & totally scaring my furry reading buddy, who has really sharp claws! If my romance peeps know anything at all about me, is LAUGHTER ROCKS my world! Ms. Cutler embraced hilariousness & ran all the way to Antarctic with it! Carina was such a people pleaser & yeah a door mat, but she just needed someone in corner, 100% behind her. Decker had no problem being behind, under, on & in front her 24/7! Decker was a reformed BAD BOY who grew up & pass all the males at the Ranch, but he had a damaged & bruised heart over his dad's death, but who better than a wedding planner, to whip out the emergency duct tape to start the healing! They were like puzzle pieces as they turn this way, twisted that way, used some much needed pounding & even NAUGHTY lube was used, but they made it work! Ms. Cutler also embraced the NAUGHTINESS factor & used fabulously fantastic humor, like her seasonal undies, to make this romance a "FLAME RESISTANT UNDIES REQUIRED" read! Now Granny Jane is my kind of Fairy Godma with her cane welding, Selfie taking, neck wrinkles poses & for forcefully HELPING her granddaughter catch her perfect match! There is not 1 thing I would change about this read, but I do DEMAND more Ms. Cutler romances because I am like Granny Jane, ADDICTED! So it is probably no BIG SHOCKER that I must give Ms. Cutler my top score of 5 fingers up & 10 toes, but I am also throwing in a SELFIE on Facebook in Granny Jane's honor, so watch out for it! NetGalley ARC given for my honest review.
Carina remains aloof to most of the employees at her family’s destination hotel, which has the magical reputation of being THE place to hold a December/Holiday Season wedding for true bliss. But could this year be the one that breaks the spell? When her sister, of all people runs out on her own wedding, it’s up to Carina to save the day, the hotel’s reputation and the Mistletoe Effect. Number one problem? No groom. Enter the stable manager, hot and handsome Decker, Carina’s secret crush. Can they pull off this sham of a marriage? Is there any truth to the legend of the Mistletoe Effect? Melissa Cutler and The Mistletoe Effect is going to be one of the best feel-good novels of the season! Ms. Cutler gives us a colorful cast, a beautiful time of year, and romance, true romance, filled with ups and downs and ups, again. Fast, fun, enlightening and sweet as sugarplums, I was stuck in smile mode throughout the entire book. I only cried, once and it was an “Ahhhh, isn’t that sweet and romantic and OMG, I’m going to cry,” kind of cry. Pure light, fun romance where the journey to the end is like a sleigh ride over a slightly bumpy road! Love romance? Love the Holidays? Love the magic of love during the holidays? It’s all here! Go ahead, admit it, you like Mistletoe Love Stories!
The Mistletoe Effect by Melissa Cutler is my first Christmas story this year and I enjoyed every minute of reading it. Carina Briscoe is the family work horse, she thinks of herself as a "knight" who slays all of the dragons. She is the eldest and has already been announced as the "heir apparent" of The Texas Hill Country Resort. Although she is the events manager and does love putting on the weddings that this resort is famous for, she loves designing and making wedding dresses more. Unfortunately, that can only be a hobby because she is always "on call" to her family. James Decker came to the resort 10 years ago as a wild and out of control young man without any roots. He's grown up and worked his way up the ladder to manger of the resort's stables. He has lusted for Carina since he got there but never wanted to jeopardize his job. Carina's sister Hailey is be married at the resort and what great publicity for the resort that a family member will contribute to the "Mistletoe Effect", until the wedding doesn't happen. Ty Briscoe, Carina's father, and Granny June step in to save the day by announcing that their will be a family wedding. You'll have to read the story to find out more. Carina and Decker's relationship was hot and smexy but also very real as they shared their dreams, their history and their feelings. The relationship really grew throughout the story. The pace of the story was steady and I never lost interest. The secondary characters often pulled the story along and Granny June was funny and often over the top with her smartphone antics. Thank you, Melissa, for my first Christmas story of the season. I couldn't have started off with a better selection. I received an ARC edition from St. Martin's Press and NetGalleyin exchange for my honest review
I truly enjoyed this book!! It was a great feel good Christmas romance and a marriage of convenience story. Carina Briscoe and her family run The Texas Hill Country Resort an elite events and wedding destination that boosts "The Mistletoe Effect". Any marriage there during the month of December lasts forever. James "Decker" Decker Forman of the Briscoe stable has been Carina's dream and resident bad boy for ten years. Haylie, Carina's sister is getting married to kick off this years "Mistletoe Effect" but gets mad at her husband to be and storms out of the chapel. With the church filled with on lookers and Wedding magazines reporter and photo journalist the Mistletoe Effect is about to implode. Carina and Decker become the sacrificial lambs and enter in to a sham of a marriage. Decker agrees with one request...they spends the month as true husband and wife and Carina in his bed. Decker is one hot cowboy!!! You will laugh and cry and you just might need a fan at times. I highly recommend this great holiday read.