The Mistletoe Melody: A Clean Romance

The Mistletoe Melody: A Clean Romance

by Jennifer Snow

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'Tis the season of forgiveness…but can she ever forget? 

Brad Monroe was truly unbelievable. Blowing back into Brookhollow for three days to film a Christmas special—three years after the accident that killed his best friend…her husband—and expecting Melody to be civil? Please. He'd been the only one who'd survived the tragedy, hightailing it to Nashville and hijacking her dream…Patrick's dream. She'd spent that time grieving, working three jobs, struggling to raise her boys and keep a roof over their heads. Now she was losing ground on all fronts, and not about to forgive and forget. Or give him the one thing that could save them all…

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781460342541
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 11/01/2014
Series: A Brookhollow Story , #4
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 469,819
File size: 277 KB

About the Author

Jennifer Snow lives in Edmonton, Alberta with her husband and four year old son. She is a member of the RWA, the Alberta Writers Guild, Canadian Authors Association and Her first Brookhollow book was a finalist in the Heart of Denver Aspen Gold contest and the Golden Quill Award. More information can be found at

Read an Excerpt

Melody sneezed and reached for a tissue from the magazine table of the walk-in medical clinic's crowded waiting room. Then she promptly pumped her hand sanitizer.

Lindsay Harper, the clinic's head nurse, looked over at her from where she was plugging in the artificial Christmas tree in the corner. "Not you, too, Mel," she said. The white, five-foot-tall decoration began to rotate, its multicolored LED lights twinkling in time to the sound of "Jingle Bells," which suddenly filled the air.

Melody could do without the reminder of the upcoming season. Christmas used to be her favorite time of year, but since Patrick's death, it only caused her stress—emotionally and financially.

"'Tis the season," she mumbled, sitting back in the plastic waiting-room chair she was sharing with her eight-year-old son, Josh. Every year around this time, they both seemed to get sick. She could mark her calendar by it. December first—first day of the flu.

Josh's head fell against her shoulder, and with a scratchy voice he asked, "How much longer, Mom?" The fit of coughing that followed gained him sympathetic looks from some of the other waiting patients.

Melody wiped the boy's dark hair off his hot forehead and checked her watch. "Soon, sweetheart." She hoped. Her evening shift started in less than an hour. Thursday was one of the busiest nights at the bowling alley.

Josh's twin brother, David, who had been sleeping curled up in the chair next to them, stirred and opened his eyes slowly. "Mom, I don't feel so great."

"I know, sweetheart. We'll see the doctor soon."

Lindsay reappeared with their file and a sympathetic smile. She leaned close to Melody as she whispered, "I know you have to get to work, so I'm bumping you guys ahead."

"Thanks," Melody said, grateful for the gesture. Despite Lindsay's reputation as a party girl, she took her job seriously, and her affection for her patients, especially the young children, was obvious. Helping Josh to his feet and taking the hands of both her sons, Melody followed Lindsay down the hallway to an empty examination room. "Dr. McCarthy will be just a moment."

"Okay," Melody said, helping Josh onto the examination table, as David sat in the chair near the door. She buried a throaty cough in the crook of her arm and cringed. Each time she coughed, her chest hurt and her throat felt rawer than ever. If she was feeling this awful, she hated to think how Josh was feeling.

She yawned, shaking off a wave of exhaustion. She'd spent the night before sitting on the edge of Josh's bottom bunk, one hand propping up his pillow while he slept and the other continuously checking his forehead for a fever.

"Where are our pictures, Mom?" David asked, slumping against the back of his chair and studying the wall of photos of newborns. Dr. McCarthy was one of two pediatricians in Brookhollow and was essentially always on call. She'd delivered almost every baby born in the small New Jersey town in the past decade, including Melody's boys.

"Just look for the cutest ones," Melody whispered with a wink at the older twin, who had been born six minutes before his brother on November 2, in the middle of a hail-and-sleet storm. Patrick, a guitar player in a country band, had been performing in Beach Haven that night, two hours away, and had almost missed the delivery, rushing in just minutes before David's arrival. But he'd been there…

"There we are," David said.

Melody's heart swelled as it always did at the sight of the boys' baby photos. They'd looked so much like her husband in that first year, with their light hair and bright, crystal-blue eyes. Over time, their hair had darkened to the same chestnut-brown color as hers, minus the ever increasing gray ones that seemed to have arrived in the three years since Patrick's death. Despite the passing of time and the deepening lines on her face, it still felt as if he'd died yesterday. Seemingly overnight, she'd transformed from a stay-at-home mom with virtually no professional skills, to a working woman holding down several jobs and supporting a family on her own.

Dr. McCarthy knocked once on the door before walking in. "Hello, Myers family," she greeted, setting their files on the tiny desk in the room. "Let me guess—coughing, sneezing, fever and muscle aches?"

"Been seeing that a lot today?" Melody asked.

"When one person in Brookhollow gets sick, we all get sick," Dr. McCarthy said, placing a hand on Josh's forehead. "Part of small-town charm, I guess. Has he taken anything for his fever?" she asked as she reached for a tongue depressor. "Say 'aaah' for me, okay, buddy?"

"Children's Tylenol about two hours ago," Melody said.

Dr. McCarthy nodded as she looked at Josh's throat. "Strep is my guess, but we'll send a swab to the lab just to be sure." She swabbed his throat and placed the pad in a tube, which she then sealed and labeled. She turned to David. "Him, too?" she asked, sympathetically.

"I think so… Not as bad, yet," Melody said, before another sneeze escaped her.

"You don't sound too good yourself," the doctor said. She checked David's throat.

"I'm fine… I'm too busy to be sick." It was true. Three jobs didn't afford her the luxury of giving in to sickness, even if it meant she was spreading the contagion.

"I think it's strep over here, as well." Lifting the back of David's shirt, Dr. McCarthy listened to his breathing. "I'll give you a prescription for antibiotics for both of them." She scribbled a prescription. "And just continue the Tylenol every four to six hours for the fever… Do you want me to take a look at you, as well? I've heard you cough."

Melody shook her head as she accepted the prescription slip and helped Josh climb down from the table. "Thank you, Dr. McCarthy." Antibiotics for the boys would be expensive enough, and they needed the drug more than she did. If only her pending promotion with Play Hard Sports, the big sporting-goods store in town, could happen a little sooner. Medical coverage was a benefit enjoyed by a full-time management employee, which she hoped to become in a few days, after she'd completed the training course and written the final exam. She hoped the three months of study would pay off. With the raise in pay, she could quit her two evening jobs bartending—as long as she passed this one last exam.

She began to collect their belongings. She had half an hour to pick up their babysitter, Lauralee—a high school girl who'd been babysitting the boys for years—drop them all off at home, put their dinner in the oven and then get to the bowling alley. She'd be lucky if she had time to change out of her Play Hard Sports uniform. She prayed the predicted snow hadn't started yet. Her old minivan still had its summer tires and it would be at least a few weeks before there was money in her tight budget to take the vehicle into Bailey's Place to have new winter tires put on. She knew the mechanic, her future sister-in-law Bailey, would do the work without charging her, but she couldn't accept charity.

When Patrick was alive, he'd taken care of such things as the upkeep of the vehicles, or repairs to their old bungalow, which they'd bought as a fixer-upper ten years ago. As much as she loved the character-rich home, in recent years the maintenance had drained her limited funds. Still, the idea of selling the home where her family had made a lot of happy memories wasn't one she liked to entertain.

"Come on, guys," she said, taking Josh's hand.

"Mel, hang on a sec." Dr. McCarthy opened a locked mini fridge in the hallway near the file cabinets. Removing a white plastic bottle, she checked the label before handing it to Melody. "Here. This is essentially the same antibiotic I gave the boys—just a stronger dose. It's FDA-approved, but it's still in the clinical-trial stage, so it isn't being offered in pharmacies yet. It'll help with your cough."

Melody hesitated.

Dr. McCarthy reached for her hand and forced the medicine into it. "Take it. It's really not a big deal—I've been handing it out all week. Unfortunately, the dosage is too strong for the boys," she said, stopping in front of the door of the next examining room and turning her attention to a file.

"Thank you again, Dr. McCarthy," Melody said. Exchanges like this were so awkward. She longed for the day when her financial struggles weren't obvious to everyone in Brookhollow. But today wasn't that day. She was sick and she was expected to be behind the bowling alley bar in twenty-five minutes.

"The key steps in performance-based management are…defining missions and goals," Melody muttered as she stacked clean beer mugs on the glass shelves behind the bar. The Thursday-night crowd at the bowling alley was full of the usual suspects. To her right, the over-thirty men's bowling league occupied eight of the twelve lanes, and to her left, several off-duty firemen played pool at the corner table. The front wooden doors opened and a group of twentysomethings entered. "Be with you guys in just a moment," she told them, turning to grab menus.

She noticed her brother approaching the bar. "Hey, Ethan, another round?"

"Just for those guys," he said, pulling out his wallet and nodding toward his fellow firefighters. "Bailey's off in ten minutes and I'm picking her up from the shop. I finally talked her into storing her motorcycle a few weeks ago."

Melody nodded her understanding. Ethan's fiancée, Bailey Sheppard, loved her motorcycle, and since Brookhollow had been blessed this year with a mild fall season, she had been able to ride the bike longer. "Have I mentioned how happy I am that you two finally got together?" Melody said, drawing the beer.

After years of friendship, Bailey and Ethan had finally realized what the whole town had known for years—they were perfect for each other. They'd gotten engaged three months before during a trip to Venice.

Ethan tossed enough cash on the bar to cover the group's tab, and added several additional bills to Melody's tip jar. "You and me both. I can't believe it took me so long to see how amazing she is." Then, noticing the textbook on the bar, he asked, "How's the studying?"

"A lot tougher than I'd expected." It was true. The three-month management-trainee program had included ten different instruction manuals, four exams and weeks of on-the-job training, in which she'd had to shadow a Play Hard trainer in his management role. "But it's worth it," she was quick to add. "I just wish I had more time to study. A lot is riding on this last exam."

"Well, you know Bailey and I would be happy to babysit the boys if you need some extra time."

"Thanks. I appreciate the offer. I wish it was just the boys keeping me busy, but honestly, I've been working such long hours lately, I barely have enough time with them as it is. I really hope I'll be able to give up these evening shifts soon."

The strong early December wind caught the front double doors as Heather, the parttime bartender, walked in, her long, dark hair blowing wildly around her pink cheeks. Tugging the doors closed behind her, she mumbled something unintelligible. "Sorry I'm late, Mel," she said, panting.

"Don't worry. It's just starting to pick up." She watched as Heather struggled to catch her breath. "Did you run here?" She shot a glance at Heather's feet. She was wearing five-inch-heeled, red leather, pointy-toed boots. Still, if anyone could run in them, the tall, slender, feisty brunette probably could. A New York City girl, she'd come to Brookhollow for the wedding of her friend Victoria Mason, the owner of the B and B in town, to Luke Dawson, and had decided to stay. She said she'd taken a liking to small-town life. Melody was grateful to have someone to train to take over the bar once she left.

Heather took off her coat and hung it on the hook behind the kitchen door. "Practically. That piece-of-crap car I bought broke down again yesterday—it's still at the shop." She wrapped the black apron around her thin waist and smiled at Ethan. "Thank God for your fiancée. She rescued me from the side of the highway again last night."

"Bailey picked you up in the tow truck?" Ethan's annoyance was pretty obvious.

Heather hesitated and Melody waved her arms, shaking her head behind Ethan's back. Heather shot her a puzzled look as Ethan swung around to face her. "I saw that. She was supposed to have Nick doing the evening highway tows."

"Oops," Heather said sheepishly. "Didn't mean to get her in trouble."

Ethan grabbed the tray of drinks from the bar. "Don't worry. I suspected she was still doing the towing herself. Bye, ladies. Mel, good luck on the exam. Tell the boys I need them next week at hockey practice, so they should take it easy this weekend and get better."

In addition to working as a firefighter, her younger brother coached the junior boys' soccer, hockey and football teams. "Thanks. I will, but you know the boys—they'd play even if their limbs were falling off." Her twins had been born with athletic genes, and they rarely missed a practice.

She hoped they'd feel better once the antibiotics kicked in. Already her own symptoms appeared to be easing, for which she was grateful. Customers rarely appreciated being served by someone at death's door…

Heather saved Melody's textbook page with her finger as she closed the book to see the cover. "Essentials of Management… yuck." She wrinkled her nose. "How's that going?"

"It was going terribly. But it's much better now that I took your advice about writing my notes on index cards and leaving them all over the house. Now as I'm cooking or getting the boys ready for bed, I'm memorizing information." She covered a cough as she opened the dishwasher and loaded in the empty beer mugs. She'd never been great at academics, barely getting by in school, but this management course was important to her. The past three months, she'd pushed herself harder than she ever had before. She'd passed the three previous exams with a B average.

Heather collected more empty cups from around the bowling alley and set them on the bar before reaching for the television remote control. "Well, take a break. It's eight o'clock. Our show is on." She flipped through the stations on the flat-screen television above the bar. She passed the hockey game, ignoring the cries of protest from the men playing pool, and stopped on American Voices, the reality television competition they'd watched every Thursday night together since she'd started training at the bar.

A young woman wearing a black leather jumpsuit, was crooning a Sheryl Crow song. Heather folded her arms and leaned against the bar as she watched. "I still think you should have tried out when they were holding auditions in New Jersey, Melody. You can sing circles around these contestants."

She winced as the redhead struggled to hit a high note.

Melody took several shot glasses down from the shelf and refilled them with tequila as Mark Adams, a local firefighter and the biggest flirt in town, approached the bar. He asked for another round of shots. "Good luck, Heather. We've been trying to convince Mel to try out every season for three years."

"I'm too old, guys," Melody said, sliding the shot glasses toward him. She tossed her long, wavy chestnut hair over one shoulder as she added, "Besides, I gave up on that dream a long time ago."

At twenty-one, all she'd wanted to do was leave Brookhollow and move to Nashville to pursue a career in country music. But then she and Patrick had gotten married and the boys had arrived…and the dream had turned into more of a quiet longing.

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The Mistletoe Melody: A Clean Romance 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
GwennieGwen More than 1 year ago
The heart and strength of a woman is showcased in almost every page of this book. This book will make your heart hurt and smile all at the same time. Three years ago, Melody Myers thought she had it all....a loving husband, two terrific twin boys and country music career that was getting ready to take off. Patrick Myers and his best friend/lead singer of the band, Brad Monroe, drove up from Brookhollow to meet with a producer in New York City. After calling Melody to let her know they got the record deal, the guys stopped for a celebratory drink before heading back to Brookhollow. As the weather got bad and the roads got icy, Brad lost control of the car. The wreck cost Patrick his life and the damage to Brad's body has him still seeking therapy. In Melody's mind, the wreck happened because Brad had been drinking. Fast forward three years, Melody is working three jobs, refusing any help from her family, to keep a roof over their heads for her and the boys and Brad is now a major recording artist. In the three years since the accident, Brad has kept his visits home to the bare minimal. Melody has hung on to her hatred for Brad for all these years while Brad has truly missed his friend. After being thrown together over the holidays the two slowly begin to renew their friendship. Can friendship turn to love or will the past stand in the way of all Melody's dreams finally coming true?
DiiMI More than 1 year ago
In one of the most romantic and sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet holiday romances I have ever read, Jennifer Snow gets to the heart of love, loss, forgiveness and second chances with Mistletoe Melody. Melody and Patrick had everything, love, happiness, and two perfect sons. After years of hard work, Patrick’s dream of becoming a country music star was finally becoming a reality, alongside his best friend, Brad. But a horrible accident ended Melody and Patrick’s dream after a night of celebration with Brad. Two men shared the same dream, but only one would live to realize it, leaving Melody broken, alone and struggling to provide for her sons. Now a rising star, Brad is back and Melody’s life just got worse, as the bitterness rises to even higher heartbreaking levels. Mr. Nashville is making a Christmas Special in his hometown, the one he ran from after Brad’s death. Has the glamor of fame, a new name and the media hype gone to his head? Does he really think Melody should just forget what she feels he took from her? If that isn’t brutal enough, Brad needs a hit, that one in a million song that will make him a household name and he know Melody has it, that one special song she wrote long ago. Seriously? He thinks she should part with the last piece of her husband, THEIR special song? Only honesty, and revisiting the past may heal their broken friendship and only forgiveness can help Melody move on and learn to live again. The real Brad lives buried under the façade of his public face, is that man the key to Melody’s future? Can he help her release the pain of the past and share the love in her music with the world? Not even going to say this was touching, because that wouldn’t do my feelings justice. Jennifer Snow has brought romance to life at one of the most emotional times of the year, where goodwill towards others and dreams of a brighter future really can come true. There is nothing sappy here, just in-your-face Holiday reading that will make you wish this season could last the entire year.
Kristen_Noel More than 1 year ago
   I'll be upfront. I've never read anything Harlequin before. So I was a bit skeptical about The Mistletoe Melody. But I wanted to give it a chance because Christmas! And I'm so glad that I did. This book is the perfect way to get in the holiday spirit!    There were so many dynamic layers to this story. It was full of emotions! The characters are so fitting for this story, and I really enjoyed getting to know them. I was instantly swept into their love story and rooted from them hardcore!    Even if you aren't a Harlequin fan, you have to pick up The Mistletoe Melody. It's the perfect book for a romantic around Christmastime. You won't regret it!  **I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review with no compensation.
ehaney578 More than 1 year ago
This is my first read from Jennifer Snow and I thoroughly enjoyed it!  This was a beautiful Christmas story about dealing with devastating loss, finding forgiveness and learning to live and love again. Melody and Brad’s story just broke my heart. Their path is not an easy one to travel but with the support of friends and family, the healing they both so desperately need might actually be possible. I loved every aspect of this story. The characters were genuine, the plot was engaging and I couldn’t put the book down! I laughed, I cried, I grieved and I smiled right along with Melody, Brad and everyone else in Brookhollow. No words I could write would do the book justice. I give it 100 Stars! This is a clean romance full of heart and I highly recommend it to everyone! It’s the best Christmas romance I’ve ever read!
Nicola_1202 More than 1 year ago
The Mistletoe Melody brings all I hope to find in a festive romance. I want to lose myself for a couple of hours and with an endearing cast of characters and a small-town setting, it was an emotional and heartwarming journey in which I did just that. Following the death of her husband 3 years prior, Melody Myers is struggling. Juggling three jobs, she's devoted herself to raising her twin boys. She's loved, lost and never forgiven her husband's best-friend, Nashville star Brad Monroe, for causing the accident that stole her husband and her dreams, and when he returns to Brookhollow to record a Christmas family TV special, it unleashes a world of hurt and pain for both her and Brad. “I’d like to forgive you, Brad. But as hard as I’ve tried over the years, I just can’t.” They were wonderful characters and my heart went out to both. Brad lives everyday with the agonising pain that his actions stole Patrick away from his family - a family he also lost that day. And Mel, whilst still grieving and struggling, is fiercely independent and determined her sons' lives won't be affected any more than they have been already. How can love possibly blossom from such a heartbreaking tragedy? "...this week...seeing you again, being with the boys, just reminds me of how much I miss much I miss you." This is where I say read The Mistletoe Melody and discover all it holds for yourself. With touching, heartfelt moments balanced with pain and angst, plus a plethora of secondary characters bringing valuable content to the story, it was a lovely read. This is the first book I have read by Jennifer Snow and won't be the last; whilst it can be read as a standalone, it does form part of a series and the small town family feel has left me eager to revisit Brookhollow to discover how other featuring couples fell in love. Reviewed for Read Your Writes Book Reviews. Copy received courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.