Published by Avon on September 27th 2016
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
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 ...
¬¬Review by Monique¬¬
THE TROUBLE WITH MISTLETOE by Jill Shalvis
A full hour before the South Bark Mutt Shop was to open, and Willa Davis was already taking care of a very messy doggie emergency of the smelly kind. As if that wasn’t the worst way to start the day – and before coffee! – another customer knocks at the door. To Willa’s horror, it’s the guy who stood her up for the Sadie Hawkins Dance when she was a high school freshman. Willa was not the most popular, and he was the all-star athlete all the girls swooned over: Keane Winters. Keane is, of all things, bringing in a pink case with a cat; he needs somewhere to board the little devil because his great-aunt Sally is sick. Willa cannot refuse to help a cat in need, but to add insult to injury Keane, the rascal, doesn’t even recognise her! How dare he!
THE TROUBLE WITH MISTLETOE opens in typical Jill Shalvis mode, and she had me from the first page! Giggles, mischievous pets, inside jokes (spiders, anyone?), and very engaging characters are all there, as expected, and wished for. I thought it might be a tad early for a Christmas novel, especially since the story begins on December first, but being set in gorgeous San Francisco helped, and while it is Christmas-themed, it is a story about people first and foremost. Willa and Keane are so easy to relate to: she’s a shop owner, he’s a real estate developer; they’re the best ordinary there is.
Ms. Shalvis has created a superb fictional world in her Heartbreaker Bay series: I feel part of the closeness the characters share, the friendships are warm, the friendly banter is genuinely fun; I love it there! Both Willa and Keane have fascinating backstories, and Ms. Shalvis dealt with the high school incident with a lot of finesse; it explained many things about Willa and Keane, it didn’t drag on, but rather it contributed to moving things along, which is another thing that stands out for me: the flawless pacing of the story. The romance progressed realistically, the bumps on the road were beautifully handled, and I really felt for those two characters. THE TROUBLE WITH MISTLETOE has a lot of emotional moments, and none of them maudlin or unnecessary, and I did tear up a few times. My heart ached for Keane, who seems super confident but is so nice and sweet. And lonely, just as Willa is; she cares too much about every person and every animal she meets, while he will not let himself care, and it’s really heartbreaking.
THE TROUBLE WITH MISTLETOE is funny, sweet and spicy, and so very lovely; this is Jill Shalvis at her finest, and I do believe my favourite Jill Shalvis book ever. So far. Treat yourself to THE TROUBLE WITH MISTLETOE, you will not regret one second!
I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Readers Copy of this book.