Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Release day event: The Trouble With Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis

From New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis 
comes a captivating story of love, second chances 
and new beginnings...

If she has her way ...

Willa Davis is wrangling puppies when Keane Winters stalks into her pet shop with frustration in his chocolate-brown eyes and a pink bedazzled cat carrier in his hand. He needs a kitty sitter, stat. But the last thing Willa needs is to rescue a guy who doesn’t even remember her ...

He’ll get nothing but coal in his stocking.

Saddled with his great-aunt’s Feline from Hell, Keane is desperate to leave her in someone else’s capable hands. But in spite of the fact that he’s sure he’s never seen the drop-dead-gorgeous pet shop owner before, she seems to be mad at him ...

Unless he tempers “naughty” with a special kind of nice ...

Willa can’t deny that Keane’s changed since high school: he’s less arrogant, for one thing—but can she trust him not to break her heart again? It’s time to throw a coin in the fountain, make a Christmas wish—and let the mistletoe do its work ... 

A Christmas romance with a side of naughty and a whole lot of nice.

This was my first book by Jill Shalvis and I was immediately pulled into the book by the entertaining and intriguing writing. 

Willa is a woman with a tough childhood. She spent most of her life moving from one foster family to another, so even after she finally got free from the system and started to build a life for herself, she still had trust and attachment issues. She owns a pet grooming shop in San Francisco and the only family she has is the group of close friends who spend a lot of time in the O’Riley Pub. She doesn’t want to give her heart away to anyone, and she’s sworn off men.

She kept pet treats in her pockets, making her irresistible to any and all four-legged creatures within scent range. A shame though that a treat hadn’t yet been invented to make her irresistible to two-legged male creatures as well. Now that would’ve been handy.

Keane was a late child, and the fact his parents were too focused on their academical careers to care about him or show any emotions turned him into a man who doesn’t know how to belong. His job in the estate business, flipping houses to make a profit, is perfect for his sort of gypsy lifestyle. No commitment, no feelings, just work and a good time with women who don’t want to get attached. That’s his philosophy.

It takes the devil’s cat to bring these two together. Wait, what? Yes, the most hilarious parts in the books are courtesy of Petunia—or Pita, Keane’s nickname for the Siamese cat he’s stuck with after his great-aunt has to move into a rehab facility. Problem is: Keane doesn’t like Pita, and the feeling is mutual, seeing as the cat loves driving her new master crazy any way she can.

When he shows up at Willa’s shop to leave Pita in kitty daycare, he doesn’t recognize the girl he stood up back when he was in high school, but Willa hasn’t forgotten the boy who humiliated her when he didn’t show up at the high school ball. 

Sparks fly, but the “I hate your guts” kind of sparks—at least as far as Willa is concerned, while Keane is none the wiser about the reasons of her dislike. 

He was smiling now, and of course the rat-fink bastard had a sexy-as-hell smile. And unbelievably her good parts stood up and took notice. Clearly her body hadn’t gotten the memo on the no-man thing. Especially not this man.

Little by little the sparks turn into something different and… well, I can’t say more without spoilers, so if you want to know what happens, you’ll have to find out for yourself!

I loved both characters and the instant chemistry between them, as well as the way they both fought against their feelings. Willa is stubborn and at times I wanted to slap her for pushing Keane away and then giving the poor man mixed signals, but then again, her past caused her to be wary of people, so eventually I couldn’t help but root for her.

When Keane first showed up, I thought: here we go again, another commitment-phobic playboy. But with every new page, he turned out to be quite a charming hero and between the two, I think he was the one with the biggest character growth in the story.

Keane prided himself on being cool, calm, logical. Emotions didn’t have a place in his everyday life. But ever since he’d walked into Willa’s shop that first time, he’d been having emotions. Deep ones.

There were a few steamy moments, especially since for most of the book all they have is “animal magnetism”, as Keane calls it. But it went to show that all they wanted to have was physical attraction, without their hearts getting involved.

There’s a whole crew of side characters that made the book even more pleasant to read. Willa’s group of friends play an important role in the story, especially since they’re the only people Willa has let close and into her heart. I loved the camaraderie and the way they all had each other's backs—as well as the banter. I haven't read book one but I'm definitely curious to know how Finn and Pru got together. I'll be looking forward to the next books in the series.

The book is set at Christmas time, and Willa is a Christmas-holic so, yeah, you’ll probably enjoy it that little bit more if you read it close to the holidays, but all in all it’s a very enjoyable read throughout the year (I read it in August, with the summer heat at its highest peak and still managed to feel the Christmas atmosphere all around me).

“Why aren’t there any holiday decorations up at your place?” she asked.
“Because you bought out all the decorations in the entire city.”
Okay, so she had to laugh at that. “Elle thinks my shop looks like Christmas and New Year had a baby who threw up on everything.”

Fans of Jill Shalvis will not be disappointed, and new readers will surely enjoy this sexy and funny Christmas romance.

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Willa sighed and headed to the door.
              Again Keane held the pink bedazzled cat carrier, which should have made him look ridiculous. Instead it somehow upped his testosterone levels. His sharp eyes were on her but they turned warm in a way that melted her right through her center as she moved toward him. She stopped with the glass door between them, hands on hips, hoping she looked irritated even if that wasn’t quite what she was feeling.
              His gaze lowered from her face to run over her body, which gave her another unwelcome rush of heat. Dammit. Now she was irritated and aroused—not a good combo.
              His mouth quirked at the saying on her apron that read Dear Santa, I Can Explain.
              Drawing a deep breath, she opened the door. “You’ve got Petunia again. I hope that means your great-aunt Sally isn’t still sick.”
              He looked surprised that she’d remembered his aunt’s name, or that she’d care. “I don’t know,” he said a little gruffly. “She left me a message saying that I was in charge for the rest of the week but for two days now Pita’s been happily destroying my jobsite. I’m throwing myself on your mercy here. Can you help?”
              Wow. He must be really desperate since he was actually asking and not assuming. But since Petunia was a sweetheart, she knew she’d do it.
              “I’ll even tell you where I went to high school,” he said, adding a smile that was shockingly charming.
              Wow. He hadn’t lost his touch when it came to turning it on. “Not necessary,” she said, painfully aware of their audience.
              Keane’s attention was suddenly directed upward, just above her head. She followed his line of sight and found a sprig of mistletoe hanging from the overhead display of small portable doggy pools. Mistletoe? What the hell? She glanced behind her and what do you know, suddenly Rory and Cara were a flurry of movement racing around looking very, very busy. “When did the mistletoe go up?” she asked them. “And why?”
              “FOMO,” Cara said from behind the counter.
              “Fear of missing out,” Rory translated. “She was hoping a hot guy would come in and the mistletoe would give her an excuse.”
              Willa narrowed her eyes and her two soon-to-be-dead employees scattered again.
              “Interesting,” Keane said, looking amused.
              “I’m not kissing you.”
              His mouth curved. “If you take Pita for the day, I’ll kiss you.”
              “Not necessary,” she said, gratified no one could see her heart during the two-step in her ears. “I’ll take Petunia for the day. No kiss required or wanted.”
              Liar, liar…

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s sexy contemporary and award-winning books wherever romances are sold and click on the blog button above for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

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