A Swoony, Enemies to Lovers, Workplace Romance!
Romance, Contemporary Romance, Holiday Romance
December 01, 2021
From the author of THE BERGMAN BROTHERS series comes a slow-burn, enemies-to-lovers holiday romance, perfect for fans of THE HATING GAME and YOU'VE GOT MAIL.
He loathes the holidays. She loves them. She’s full of festive cheer. He’s brimming with Bah, Humbugs. Besides unreasonably seasonable names, the only thing Jonathan Frost and Gabriella Di Natale have in common is a healthy dose of mutual contempt. Well, that and the same place of employment at the city’s most beloved independent bookstore, Bailey’s Bookshop. But when the store’s owners confess its dire financial state, Jonathan and Gabby discover another unfortunate commonality: the imminent threat of unemployment.
With the Baileys’ requests to minimize expenses, win new customers, and make record sales dancing in their heads, Jonathan and Gabby conclude—barring a financial Christmas miracle—one of them will soon be cut from the payroll. Neither are willing to step down from their position, so they strike a bargain: whoever has more sales in December gets to stay on in the new year; the loser will resign. With a lifetime's worth of festive tricks up her sleeve, Gabby should easily outsell her nemesis, except the unreadable Mr. Frost’s every move seems purely designed to throw her off her game.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Gabby's deceptive ex won't quit pursuing her, and her anonymous online friend suggests they take a break. Worst of all, as the pressure mounts to save the bookshop and her job, Gabby meets a new, tender side of Jonathan. Is this the same man she's called her cold-hearted enemy?
Maybe he’s got a motive she just can’t figure out—or maybe Jonathan Frost isn’t as chilly as she once thought. Maybe Jonathan and Gabby already know—and love—each other in ways they never thought possible.
This is an #OwnVoices story for its portrayal of autism by an autistic author.
“I hate him. He is the prickly holly leaf in the Fraser fir garland of my life.”
The Mistletoe Motive by Chloe Liese is ‘You’ve Got Mail’ but made modern, bedecked in twinkle lights, and with a peppermint cocoa loving heroine and a hero who could put Mr. Darcy to shame.
It’s a big statement. Bold, you might even say. To that I would double down and say that this very well could be one of the best holiday novellas that I’ve read this Festive Season. Chloe Liese has created a novella that burst to life like the perfect romcom in my brain while I read it, and I could not highlight enough because of all the delightful banter and zingy quips.
Gabriella Di Natale is a neurodiverse bookseller who pits herself against her coworker, the Scrooge-like Jonathan Frost, in an all out sprint to be the last man or woman standing at the end of the shopping season. Their bookstore, Bailey Books, is close to shutting its doors forever due to the big, bad discount bookstore that rolled in just down the street (cough Fox Books cough cough).
“He should look like a lump of grumpy coal with that stern expression, his ink-black sweater, and charcoal trousers, but instead Jonathan Frost looks like sex and smoke and a starless night sky. I hate him for it.”
Gabby and Jonathan’s relationship goes back well over a year before the start of the novella. From the get-go, we can see that Gabby takes his shrewd business acumen to heart as a direct threat to her whimsical and “people first” customer approach to selling books. It’s only when they team up to work together to save their store do they really start to peel the layers back on each other. Jonathan plays his cards too close to the vest, and for a person like Gabby who can’t read social situations in real time, he comes off as cold and aloof.
The online aspect of The Mistletoe Motive is highly reminiscent of ‘You’ve Got Mail” and only added to my overall love and adoration of Chloe Liese. With each interaction Jonathan and Gabby have outside of Bailey’s their attraction grows and they become more human in each other’s eyes…even though they are unaware of their online relationship. Also, for a novella, this one does not skimp on the spice! The Mistletoe Motive delivers on steamy scenes, sexual tension that builds like the best crafted slow burn romances, and so many nods to romance novels that my heart almost burst.
“I want him to know that he’s safe with me, that knowing this about him feels like I’ve been given a key to a room of his heart that very few are allowed in, and that’s a gift I’ll protect fiercely.”
I could not read this novella fast enough. Chloe Liese has created such a beautifully written enemies to lovers romance that I gobbled this entire novella in nearly one sitting. Highly enjoyable, delightfully funny, swoony and sexy—The Mistletoe Motive should grace the top of your TBR shelves immediately! Currently a Kobo Original, The Mistletoe Motive is available now! Happy Reading!
Jes is a self-proclaimed bookworm, who recently moved from the PNW back to the Midwest. When her nose isn’t in a book, she’s spending time with her husband, two kids, and her three fur babies, or exploring the globe. She also firmly believes that you should start the day with coffee, and end the day in bed with a good book.