The Mistletoe Contract
by Jennifer Chastain
GENRE: Contemporary Christian Romance
He needs a wife. She needs money. Is their modern-day marriage an answer to their prayers or a disaster waiting to happen?
Confirmed bachelor, Nathan Rutledge shut his heart to romance when he was forced to break the heart of the only woman he ever truly loved. Now, with his father’s retirement from the family conglomerate, the torch has been passed to him. But there are two problems—first, he needs a wife in order to take over the family business. Second, someone has been embezzling company funds. With the pressure mounting, and time expiring to find both a wife he can trust and the thief, Nate needs a Christmas miracle.
Forensic Accountant, Meredith Mitchell’s life is in shambles. Her mother needs a lifesaving transplant, Mom’s medical bills have bankrupted Meredith’s meager savings, and she’s sold everything of value, but it’s still not enough. To make matters worse, she’s now tasked with discovering accounting errors for a new client—none other than Nathan Rutledge—the same man who gave her a broken heart for Christmas eight years ago.
Meredith wants to run. Nate wants the chance to right his wrongs. So, naturally, when he proposes a modern-day marriage of convenience, she balks at the idea. But he desperately needs a wife, and she really needs the money he offers. Is this the answer to her prayers? Or will this mutually beneficial arrangement re-open old wounds that can’t be healed?
“Penny for your thoughts?”
Meredith’s eyes popped open. “Nate! You scared me!” Facing off with her fiancé, she straightened her spine. “What’re you doing here?”
His back against the wall, he crossed his ankles. Even after working all day, Nate still appeared fresh. When she glanced at her gray dress pants, the red sauce stain from her rushed dinner glared at her. She was wrinkly… and frumpy.
Nate frowned, his gaze roving over her.
Meredith moved her purse from her shoulder and held it in front of the stain. “I’m sorry. That was unkind.”
“I didn’t mean to intrude.”
She pulled herself up to her full height. “You didn’t. It’s… I didn’t expect to see you.” At least, not until their wedding day, giving her a couple of days to steel her emotions against his all-American boy-next-door charm. Why did he have to ruin her well-thought-out plan? His nearness sent her pulse into overdrive.
Nate turned toward her and rested one hand on the wall above her head. He was so close she saw the golden flecks ringing his pupils. “Can’t a guy see his fiancée before the wedding?” The low timbre of Nate’s voice raised goosebumps on her arms, and her heart rate kicked up another notch.
Butterflies fluttered in her stomach, and she licked her dry lips before her gaze settled on his mouth. “Yeah, sure.”
Nate’s free hand came up and traced a line down her cheek. Meredith closed her eyes.
I hit the trifecta this week when it came to the books that I read and reviewed. Another awesome read in a completely different genre. Yes, Christian romance. But let me tell you something about the genre or at least how Ms. Chastain writes it…she doesn’t beat your head with her faith nor does she preach. She lets you decide for yourself and I appreciate that. But then again, I’ve been reading this genre for a long time and love it.
Ms. Chastain hit all the right buttons with me: second chance romance, a little bit of enemies to lovers, a marriage of convenience, best friend’s brother, and billionaire/millionaire hero. Oh yes, she hits every one of them brilliantly, too. I’m in awe of how she kept it all together and didn’t let one of them overpower the others. Nate and Meredith are just the perfect couple for me right now. Sure, Nate can be a handful and not sure of himself when it comes to Meredith. Meredith has her issues, too. Too proud at times but not too proud to go to Nate’s sister, Tori, when the times get tough. Tori is her best friend but at times, I felt like Tori interfered too much. Miss communication is HUGE with Nate and Meredith and at times I found it annoying. But what I came away with that is that these two never really communicated all those years ago so they really don’t know how to now. Both of them grew so much in the book, that I found it hard to believe how far they came. Especially Nate. Lord, that man.
I really came to understand Nate in the end. Truly in love and bungling his way through was endearing to me in the end. Meredith took a bit more for me to warm up to but in the end, I got that she didn’t want to get hurt again. Overall, once these two finally started actually talking to each other, the book took off for me. The ending was perfect for me too. Oh yes, there is an actual mystery to be solved involving Nate’s business, and while I figured out everything, the satisfaction of it being played out the way it did. Bravo Ms. Chastain. They deserved it. Now, I need to see if Tori will get her HEA. So does Kyle. *hint hint*
Overall, I loved this book. It’s sweet, funny, frustrating at times, but a great Christmas romance and story. Just don’t let the genre put you off.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Jennifer Chastain is a member of ACFW, ACFW-NC, and My Book Therapy/Novel Academy. Several of her other stories were finalists in the Blue Ridge Mountains Foundations contest and she was a finalist in the Touched by Love contest, sponsored by the Faith, Hope, and Love Christian Writers. Her contemporary romance stories contain the themes of redemption, grace, and forgiveness.
A hopeful romantic, Jennifer loves dark chocolate, Diet Coke, old movies and a good romantic movie. She loves to experiment with new recipes in the kitchen and when not cooking, she’s reading or conducting more research for her stories. Growing up in the snowy North, Christmas has always been her favorite holiday, with the scents of cinnamon, vanilla, and pine scenting the air.
She and her husband have been married for over 25 years and they are permitted to co-exist with their black rescue cat.
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The Mistletoe Contract – Amazon link
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE:
Jennifer Chastain will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.