The Trouble with Mistletoe
by Jill Shalvis
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 . . .
Goodness me, how I love holiday romance novels. This was my first read by Jill Shalvis; I was encouraged to try one of her books when I listened to an interview of her by Smart Bitches Trashy Books's Sarah Wendell (if you are a fan of romance reads, you need to check out this website and podcast). Shalvis sounded down to earth, and her books sounded like the sweet contemporaries that I enjoy. So, when I saw that she had a holiday romance out, I could not resist.
The Trouble with Mistletoe is a contemporary story about Willa and Keane. Willa knew Keane back when she was a new student at their high school. With a leap of faith, Willa invited Keane to the Sadie Hawkins dance back then, only to be stood up by the popular jock. Fast forward to the present, and Willa is the owner of the town's popular pet supply shop, and Keane is the local house flipper. Their paths cross when Keane is looking for a cat sitter for the day - except Keane does not recognize Willa. He does, however, notice the prettiness of her green eyes, and the strawberry blonde hair.
***some spoilers ahead***
Aside from this story revolving around Christmas time, what I thought was novel about it was that Willa, as loving, and caring as she is, is the one that has difficulties with commitment. Not because she doesn't believe in it, or would rather "play the field," but because she's been disappointed before - by family, and men she's dated. Willa is cautious, and she panics about having "feelings." It was refreshing to read about real emotions that included anxiety.
Keane also broke the mold that I'm used to when it comes to romance leading men. He starts off as the "usual" guy in these books with not wanting commitment, but as the story progresses, he realizes that the idea of commitment doesn't sound so scary when it's with someone special. But we also see Keane slowly adjust to commitment in other areas in his life, like his home, and with Petunia (a cat). I really enjoyed the development of both of these characters.
Due to this being a holiday read, it does move rather quickly (a few weeks?), but I'm willing to overlook that because it's a romance story, and....CHRISTMAS!
Plus - no outrageousness :D I'll let you fill in the blanks with that one.