Kathy's Reviews > Under the Mistletoe

Under the Mistletoe by Linda Howard
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May 24, 12

bookshelves: humor, christma, romance, short-stories
Read on May 24, 2012

** spoiler alert ** bluebell - separate book too

Bluebird Winter / Linda Howard
Kathleen Fields and Derek Taliferro –
Kathleen, tolerated by parents who really didn’t want a noisy child around, hard worker on their ranch, married the first guy to show interest – though he wanted the income of the ranch, not her – raping her after filing for divorce, leaving her pregnant.

Derek Taliferro – 3rd in the Spencer-Nyle series – with Max and Claire, and Rome and Sarah – he graduated college at 19, excelled at university, interned under the best neo-natal doctor, and has made a name for himself. Driving home from visiting his mom in a blizzard, he passes a truck on the side of the road – and finds Kathleen inside, in labor. And he’s captured from the first moment… he carries her to his car, returns to her ranch, with authority and gentleness delivers her baby who is early and underweight… and cares for them both.

Derek decides in that 24 hours he wants her for his own – the chemistry is there, he admires her courage, he loves her and fell just like his mother said he would. When he tells her he wants to take her to his hospital in Dallas, and she says she has no insurance so just leave her at a charity hospital – and he says his hospital would be okay, especially if she married him – and she asks why, and he says for Risa (the infant)… that someday he hoped she’d want to make love with him (not just sex) and she says yes…

And Derek takes control, and tries hard to anticipate and fill any desire she has, though she never asks for anything… And she wants to give something back to him. He is loving and moves in on her very deliberately – frequent kisses to get her used to him, climbing into bed naked so she would cuddle up to him and get used to that too.

And Sarah offers her a job in her craft store, where she can bring the baby and gain independence… and when her 6 weeks passes, and she’s cleared for sex, and is disappointed when he doesn’t ‘jump’ her – and when she makes a tentative touch, he asks her why and when she says she owes him so much, he gets angry – he wants her love, not gratitude… and she can’t sleep, so seeks him out on the couch, and apologizes for not being enough for him, and that she won’t let her loving him get in the way again…and Sarah counsels her the next day to tell him she loves him, because she knows he loves her too… and she goes home with hope, and he’s there, and he has set up a Christmas tree (in February) with presents – and feeds her, and holds her in front of the tree, and tells her he loves her (and it’s okay for her to tell him that too), and gives her wonderful gifts – including an inscribed locket and a music box with a bluebird painted on it and a poem of winter, and bluebirds, and love. Ahhhh

Naughty or Nice? / Stephanie Bond
Cindy Weston and Eric Quinn Stanton – Chandelier House, a quirky hotel that has a unique clientele and eccentric employees. Cindy is the general manager, and Eric is hired by corporate to evaluate its fit in the corporation. Eric shows up a week early, under Eric Quinn, to check things out discretely, and becomes fascinated by Cindy.

Cindy’s grandfather owned the hotel, and instead of letting go of the unique chandelier to the war effort, he made a large donation – but then had to sell the hotel, having used his reserved. The story was passed on to Cindy (along with earrings made from a central section of the chandelier).

And Cindy is having the week from hell (or humorous to the rest of us)…
Trying to show support to the hair salon, she goes 4 times – once for a hair cut (ends up with layers like Farrah Fawcet, but her straight hair won’t hold a curl), once for a perm (gets called to an emergency, the chemicals are on too long, and it’s too curly almost brillo paddy and bleached orange; next for hair color – it ends up purple… and finally the long time barber and friend cuts her hair so it’s perfect.

And she is particularly clumsy around Eric – going to his room when he asked for a smoking room (none available with a king size bed also) and then cutting herself with the clipboard – in his bathroom, looking for bandaids in his case (at his invitation), finding a dozen condom varieties, dropping his silk pj bottoms from the hook, and getting blood on them, then stuffing them under her jacket with the intention of replacing them… replacing them without realizing that they were monogrammed, so Eric figures out his originals were stolen, and they were a gift he didn’t particularly like… etc.

And he vaguely answers her questions about himself, and she fills in the blanks, thinking he is a sex toy salesman coming the next week for a convention – and when she tells him she knows who he is, he thinks she knows he’s the auditor – and he can’t turn her down when she invites him to sex (though he knows professionally he should) but he thinks she knows…

And then she finds out, and kicks him out, and figures out he didn’t purposely deceive her, and apologizes (and vice versa)… and his team shows up, and their evaluation is that all sections work well, but are quirky…

And they figure out that they love each other, and Eric realizes he is reluctant to risk … so he takes the leap, trading places on the plane with her coworker to go home with her for Christmas – and getting his father (whom he has strained relationship with) to agree to repair the chandelier (damaged by the Christmas tree) – and that though his report is that the hotel is not compatible with the corporate plan, but he plans to use his business contacts to put together to buyers that will keep the hotel’s uniqueness unique. ahhhh
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