The Mistletoe Effect
St Martin’s Press
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley
Carina Briscoe works as the Special Events Manager for her family’s resort in Texas. It’s a big job that comes with a lot of responsibility especially with weddings. The resort has traded on ‘The Mistletoe Effect’ for over fifty years, with couples who get married there in December never getting divorced. They book a certain amount of weddings in December each year but when one of the brides who just happens to be Carina’s own sister runs out on the wedding, Carina’s father and grandmother are thrown into panic mode. They cannot break the streak by having a failed wedding. People will hear and no longer want to marry there and it could be disastrous for business. Carina’s father quickly comes up with a plan- Carina and one of the groomsmen Decker will marry instead. Decker has worked for the family resort/ranch for ten years and it’ll only be temporary.
Faced with a chance to finally get to know Carina properly, Decker agrees but he has one stipulation – Carina must live with him as his wife during the ranch wedding season which runs until the 25th December. That’ll be just over three weeks. Carina agrees and the two of them say a hasty ‘I do’. Both of them have noticed the other over the past decade and now this fake wedding has given them both the chance to explore what might be there.
Decker has always wanted to get to know Carina and now he sees that he can help her really shine and do what she wants to do with her life. The three weeks they are married has led to many surprises and developing feelings but Decker isn’t going to be the man that holds Carina back. He wants her to stand up for herself and choose her own path….even if it doesn’t contain him.
Who doesn’t love a good Christmas story? I’ve had this one sitting on my kindle for a while, waiting for the perfect moment. It’s a bit weird reading Christmas stories in Australia a lot of the time, because so many of them are set in the northern hemisphere and it’s cold and there’s plenty of snow whereas here it’s all summer and beachy weather. But they’re always so feel good, even if I can’t get my head around the idea of bundling on layers of clothing for that time of year.
This one was so fun – Carina and Decker are roped into a fake wedding by her family in an attempt to keep the record of the Mistletoe Effect perfectly intact, especially in front of the publications that are visiting to write about it for features. Carina has always found Decker attractive, ever since he first arrived on the ranch and got a job as a stable boy. But he’s always intimidated her and she’s never been able to actually have a conversation with him – until now. Decker has always wanted to get to know Carina but she’s always kept herself aloof from him and if he’s going to be roped into a fake marriage then he’s going to get something he wants as well, hence getting her to agree to stay with him for the duration.
I really enjoyed both Decker and Carina. They were so fun together and I loved their interactions. Decker sees right away that Carina doesn’t ever seem to do much for her – she just agrees with what other people want and suggest, particularly her father. She’s been brought up always being told that she’ll be the third generation Briscoe to run the resort, it’s been drummed into her head. Although she enjoys her job and she’s very good at it, it’s not her dream and when Decker finds out what her dream is, he wants to encourage her to pursue it. Carina is so hemmed in by duty and family though that she finds it very hard to ever say no, to take a day off, to relax. To just let other people handle things for a while. She’s an epic control freak and she does the work of probably two people. She’s had loyalty and family duty ingrained from a very young age and as a result it seems that she’s stifled all of her own dreams. Relationships usually don’t work out because of how heavy her workload is and she has few friends. Decker takes the time to dig beneath the surface of Carina and get to the real person underneath but he does occasionally badger her a little too strongly to stand up to her father. It tends to make Carina feel like people are coming at her from both sides, even though Decker definitely has her best interests at heart.
This was a very sweet story with just a little bit of spice in Decker and Carina’s fake marriage. I liked it a lot and I’ll definitely read anything else I can find by Melissa Cutler.
Book #226 of 2014