Title: The Trouble with Mistletoe
Series: Heartbreaker Bay #2
Author: Jill Shalvis
Publication Date: 27 Sept 2016
Source: Review Copy
Synopsis from Goodreads
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 ..
I loved Jill Shalvis’s Sweet Little Lies and couldn’t wait to get back to the quirky cast of characters that make up the Heartbreaker Bay series.
The Trouble with Mistletoe places dog whisperer extraordinaire, Willa, firmly in the spotlight; when her first crush, Keane, shows up on the doorstep of her pet grooming store. First impressions would suggest Willa and Keane are nothing alike, especially as Keane firmly states he doesn’t become emotionally attached to anything in his life while Willa craves an emotional connection in everything she does.
Willa’s judgement of Keane is clouded by her past interaction in high school with him, however, there are always two side s to every story and given Keane’s perspective, the incident alters it’s significance greatly. This also allows Willa to regain some of the confidence she misplaced in High School. Teenage years are brutal whichever end of the popularity scale you fall on, the insight into both sides provides clarity and understanding of Willa and Keane’s characters.
The chemistry between Willa and Keane is undeniable, leading them to throw caution to the wind and embrace the fire they start. However, both Willa and Keane have abandonment issues that have shaped their identities deeply. Although the issues stem from different places, Willa being a child of the foster care system and an alcoholic mother while Keane had to cope with absentee, career driven parents and the knowledge that he didn’t really fit into his family. The narrative is very thought-provoking on the way in which nurturing or lack thereof can translate in later life.
While Willa and Keane are aware of their issues and limitations, it is fair to say that their awareness is distorted by their perception of themselves and each other. The emotions flow from the page making the reader have a personal investment in the characters and the outcome of their relationship.
The Trouble with Mistletoe shows how two people’s broken pieces can slot together seamlessly to create a whole.
While the story concentrates on Willa and Keane there are a number of other incidents involving peripheral characters enhancing the main plot and laying the groundwork for the rest of the series. It was terrific to catch up with the characters from the first book.
The Trouble with Misletoe restores hope in romance and relationships for even someone as jaded as myself 😉