Title: The Mistletoe Effect
Author: Cate Ashwood
Genres: Contemporary, Holiday Romance, Gay
Although Christmas is his favorite time of year, all is not merry and bright for Danny Ellis. After being laid off and facing eviction, he’s eager to make a fresh start. When a friend mentions an opportunity in Sin City, he packs up and heads west. Unfortunately, plans run awry when his truck breaks down a little more than halfway there and he’s stranded in the cold with no money, nowhere to stay, and no way to get to Vegas.
‘Tis the season, but not for Merrick Holland, who loves being a part of the community in the small town of Rowley Bridge. Christmas has been a little tainted since his father died three years ago, and when people start to deck the halls, he withdraws. When Merrick finds a man asleep inside his bakery one morning, rather than call the police, Merrick makes him a cup of coffee, and after hearing his story offers him a job and a place to stay.
The two men strike up an unlikely friendship, but with Christmas only three weeks away, could a little holiday magic bring them together?
Despite the novella length, you get a complete story with fully fleshed out characters, a decent and evocative plot, and some wonderful banter and snappy dialogue, not to mention awesomely hot sex.
Merrick and Danny are just super-adorable, together and apart. You want a happy ending for them more than anything. Though this isn’t a long tale, you get a sense of both men, their past and present, what kind of men they are. The town of Rowley Bridge is featured so well too that it almost feels like the town is the third main character, a charming and quaint little place, perfect for settling down, and not just for the holidays.
The plot is pretty much described in the blurb. A happy holiday story with very little angst and a lot of positive feels. Danny being out on his luck and Merrick having lost that Christmas feeling, you know they will find it all through friendship and love. That, I suppose, is the magical power of the mistletoe, daring to take a chance on love.
The writing is fluent and the pace moves along nicely. For a self-published work, this has virtually no editing snafus, a missing word here, a wrong name there. Nothing that took me out of the story. Ashwood is a talented author, no question of that.
So if you’re in the mood for a well-written, engaging love story set around the holidays, this is most definitely for you.
Reviewed By: Susan
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