Today I’m excited to participate in the blog tour for Mistletoe Cottage, the first novel in a brand new series from USA Today bestselling author Debbie Mason! The series will appeal to fans of feel-good romances by New York Times bestselling authors Brenda Novak, Robyn Carr, and RaeAnne Thayne.
I received this book via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.Mistletoe Cottage by Debbie Mason
Series: Harmony Harbor #1
Published by Forever on 2016-10-25
Length: 352 pages
Reviewing eARC from Netgalley
Reading Challenges: 2016 New Release Challenge
'Tis the season for love . . .
Sophie DiRossi loved growing up in Harmony Harbor. But after fleeing in disgrace many years ago, it is the last place she wants to be. Left homeless by a fire, she's forced to go back to the small coastal town that harbors a million secrets, including her own. Sophie sees this secret reflected every day in her daughter's blue eyes-and she must keep it hidden from the only man she has ever loved.
Sophie's return is a shock for everyone . . . especially Liam Gallagher. The firefighter had some serious feelings for Sophie-and seeing her again sparks a desire so fierce it takes his breath away. Now Liam will do whatever it takes to show Sophie that they deserve a second chance at love, even if everything they've concealed threatens to keep them apart. In this special town at this special time of the year, Sophie and Liam can only hope for a little holiday magic . . .
I think I’m in love!!! Mistletoe Cottage by Debbie Mason is the first book in her new series Harmony Harbor. If you liked her Christmas, Colorado series, then you will adore Harmony Harbor. The first book follows Sophie DiRossi and her return to her hometown after a fire took everything and traumatized her daughter. This same daughter is the reason she left Harmony Harbor in the first place, now she has to decide whether to continue to lie or risk telling the truth about the father.
Sophie DiRossi is a bit of a pickle. I liked her, admired her even for the lengths she goes to protect her daughter. Her daughter’s needs go above all else in Sophie’s life. And isn’t that how it should be for mothers? We put the lives of our children ahead of our own? So yeah, I admire her. What I didn’t like was the way she did it. At 18 and pregnant, she leaves home and tells a fabricated story about a fake father dying, afraid the real father would take her daughter away or make her give her up. I can understand at 18 being scared to come clean, even running, but once the baby is here shouldn’t you fess up? Shouldn’t you tell someone the truth?! I had a hard time with that.
Then there’s Liam Gallagher. I absolutely love this man! He is perfect….I don’t think I should say anything else about him because seriously his actions speak louder than words. This is a man who loved Sophie as a child, was heartbroken when she left and when she returns he falls for her all over again. He’s kind to her daughter, bonding over trauma they’ve both recently experienced. Nothing bad about this man….well one thing but I can’t discuss because I don’t want to spoil anything 😉
The main plot of the story focuses on Greystone, a large manor/hotel that the Gallagher family runs and the town leans on for tourist season. It’s failing. Enter Sophie who has just finished her classes to become a manger. She breathes life into the old place and romance into her own life. I liked the small town feel that is so similar to Mason’s other series. It brings quirk and I believe will tie the books in the series together wonderfully. I adored Liam and Mia, Sophie’s daughter. Mia is beautifully written and I loved reading as she came out of her shell.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. If you are looking for a sweet romance for the holiday season, this is it!
The door to the bathroom opened. Liam lowered his razor to smile at Mia and Sophie.
Sophie slammed the door in his face. “You stay right where you are,” she ordered him from the other side. “Mia baby, let’s go check out your bedroom.”
He heard the sound of their retreating footsteps and shrugged. He wasn’t sure what the problem was. He’d just lifted the razor to his chin when the door reopened and Sophie stepped inside, closing it behind her. Her eyes flitted over him, then she raised her gaze to meet his, a faint blush coloring her cheeks. He grinned at her reaction. At least he wasn’t the only one feeling the attraction.
She glared at him. “If you wanted to give me a welcome-to-the-apartment present, flowers or a plant would have been a better idea than . . . than this.” Her hand fluttered between them.
“You think I’m your welcome-to-the-apartment present?” he said, unable to keep the amusement from his voice.
“It’s not funny, Liam. I have an impressionable daughter. You can’t just show up at my apartment half naked, expecting to—”
He put the razor down and turned to her, crossing his arms. “Think what?”
“Don’t do that. It won’t work,” she said, her eyes landing somewhere between his chest and the towel.
“Soph, you’ve lost me. I don’t have a clue—”
“Please, as if you don’t know how sexy you look right now standing there all naked and wet with your muscles on display.”
He looked down at himself then raised his gaze to hers while holding back a full-out grin as it hit him what was going on. He didn’t plan to enlighten her just yet. He was having too much fun. “You forgot my impressive abs.”
Her eyes narrowed. “Where are your clothes? You need to get dressed and . . . What are you doing?” she asked as he closed the distance between.
Her palms landed on his chest when he crowded her against the door. “I just thought, since I went to all this trouble to surprise you, you could at least give me a kiss.”
“No, Mia is in the next room.” She stared at his mouth. “And even if I wanted to kiss you, you have shaving cream on your face.”
“Admit it. You like your present. And you really, really want to kiss me.”
The corner of her mouth lifted as her hands inched their way up his chest and around his neck. She leaned into him. “Yes, I like my present. But I’d like it a whole lot more if Mia wasn’t with me. And I might want to kiss you a little.”
“A lot,” he said and cupped her face in his hands, lowering his mouth to hers. He wanted to linger, to explore her sweet mouth with a deep, consuming kiss. Instead, because Mia was down the hall, he went with soft and tender and long enough that she’d feel how much he wanted her.
He pulled back. Her face was tipped up, her eyes closed. He smiled at the shaving cream covering the lower half of her face and slowly trailed his finger through it to draw a foamy line of white down her neck. With her eyes still closed, she leaned back against the door, a small hum of pleasure escaping from between her parted lips. He ducked his head and whispered. “You like that, don’t you?”
She opened her heavy-lidded eyes and nodded, watching him as he dipped his fingers beneath the V of her caramel-colored sweater.
He felt her shiver beneath his fingers and moved her hair off her shoulders with his other hand before rubbing his cheek against hers. He’d never look at shaving cream the same way. He wanted to cover every inch of her . . .
A knock sounded on the door. She shoved him away. Her eyes wide and glazed, she wiped frantically at her face. “Be right there, baby.”
Liam grimaced. He’d gotten so carried away he’d forgotten about Mia. “Sorry, Soph. Give me a sec, and I’ll get some clothes on.” He turned to open the door leading into his apartment.
“You have got to be kidding me,” she said.
Liam glanced over his shoulder. “Nope, your apartment shares a bathroom with mine. Welcome to the neighborhood,” he said with a wink.