Let me (but mostly Chloe Liese) paint a picture for you of Bailey’s Bookshop — a small indie bookstore with polished, glowing wood floors and columns, built-in bookshelves, every gorgeous beam curved along the vaulted ceilings. Row after colorful row of book spines filling shelves and stacked on wood tables, a treasure chest of bookish gems. The gas fireplace dances with cheery flames beneath the mantel, decorated with oversized jewel-tone ornaments, glittering fake snow, and soft pine boughs. All across the ceiling hang homemade glittering clay and papier mâché snowflakes and dreidels, kinaras and Christmas trees, seven-star piñatas and menorahs and fire and light solstice symbols.
Bailey’s is co-managed by resident holiday loving, romance novel reading, peppermint hot cocoa with double shots of peppermint, two percent milk, extra whip and chocolate drizzle chugging, sunshine Gabriella Di Natale and “Jonathan Icicle-Up-His-Butt Frost”, the number crunching, big name thriller toting, grinch with cheekbones so sharp that they could shave ice (and my cold heart).
When Gabby and Jonathan are faced with an ultimatum — Bailey’s can only afford to keep one of them on staff after the holidays — they concoct a challenge to see who can sell more books before the end of the year, putting grump vs sunshine to the test.
The Mistletoe Motive is the perfect gift to its readers — full of enemies to lovers antics, a You’ve Got Mail-inspired budding internet relationship, sexual tension galore, autism, demisexuality and diabetes rep, a cat named Gingerbread, AND AN EPILOGUE FEATURING A BOOK LADDER THAT I’LL NEVER STOP THINKING ABOUT.
Graphic: Sexual content
Moderate: Mental illness and Toxic relationship