Title: Mistletoe Cottage
Series: Harmony Harbor #1
Author: Debbie Mason
Format: Mass Market Paperback (352 pages)
Published: October 25, 2016 (Forever)
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 4 out of 5 Wine Glasses
'Tis the season for love . . .
Sophie DiRossi loved growing up in Harmony Harbor. But after fleeing in disgrace many years ago, it is the last place she wants to be. Left homeless by a fire, she's forced to go back to the small coastal town that harbors a million secrets, including her own. Sophie sees this secret reflected every day in her daughter's blue eyes-and she must keep it hidden from the only man she has ever loved.
Sophie's return is a shock for everyone . . . especially Liam Gallagher. The firefighter had some serious feelings for Sophie-and seeing her again sparks a desire so fierce it takes his breath away. Now Liam will do whatever it takes to show Sophie that they deserve a second chance at love, even if everything they've concealed threatens to keep them apart. In this special town at this special time of the year, Sophie and Liam can only hope for a little holiday magic...
“You make me want things I can’t have,” Sophie said.
“Like what?” Liam asked quietly, stroking her hair.
“A man to share my life with. A man like you.”
Mistletoe Cottage is the exciting debut book in Debbie Mason’s Harmony Harbor series and the first book I ever read by Debbie. I was initially attracted to this book by its Christmassy cover which happened to be on display at my library. It is a sweet, heartwarming romance featuring a woman who has been left no choice but to return to Harmony Harbor after leaving it in disgrace eight years ago, a firefighter who was in love with her back then and a blue-eyed little girl whose tall Christmas wish to Santa is for a loving and stable family home. This is the second chance at love story of Liam Gallagher and Sophie DiRossi.
As the story opens, Greystone Manor has a serious electrical issue. The fire department has been called. Sophie, who has recently returned to Harmony Harbor from Los Angeles, is understandably frantic as she cannot find Mia, her daughter. Complicating the situation, Mia hasn’t spoken since being previously traumatized in another fire in L.A. which left the little girl terrified of fire and firemen.
Liam had feelings for Sophie when she lived in Harmony Harbor before. Liam has just returned to work after a disastrous warehouse fire which took the life of a fellow firefighter. Fighting his own fears, he goes into the smoke-engulfed mansion searching for Mia. With the help of a black cat and a stuffed pig, he finds her, safely removes her from danger and places her into Sophie’s waiting arms.
“Your mommy gave me”—he wracked his brain for the pig’s name— “Porky.” She looked at him “Peppy the pig?”
The faintest hint of a smile touched her adorable heart-shaped face. “Do you want your pig?” he asked, reaching in his pocket.
She gave her head a quick shake, and Liam withdrew his hand from his pocket. He got it. The singed ear was a reminder of what she and her stuffed animal had been through.
Both Liam and Sophie are extremely likable, genuine characters. Their story is teeming with hot chemistry, lies and secrets. Before Sophie left Harmony Harbor, she had a huge crush on Liam but he’d ignored her as she was his best friend’s little sister and, therefore, off-limits. Sophie never realized that Liam actually loved her, too, but kept it to himself. It was so frustrating and sad that long-standing family feuds and betrayals kept them apart. Will the mute little girl be the key to breaking down the seemingly impregnable walls that separate this couple?
Following please find one of my favorite quotes from Mistletoe Cottage:
“Hi,” she said with that smile still on her face.
But it was her breathy voice that got to him now. “Hi,” he said, looking into her eyes. “I missed you.”…
“I missed you too.”
“Yeah. I really could have used you and your toolbelt.”
“I love it when you talk dirty. Feel free to use me anytime.”
My favorite scene was set in a bar when Liam sang to Sophie in a thick Irish brogue. OMG, I thought my heart would burst.
Sophie couldn’t respond even if she wanted to. Liam was in front of her, singing to her while the crowd sang along and clapped, stomping their feet in time to the music. Liam was a born performer. He played to the crowd, his voice deep and raspy. He circled her, moving closer each time. Then, just as the song ended, he cupped the back of her head and kissed her long and hard…
This book hooked me on Debbie Mason’s books. It’s not only a holiday romance, but an endearing, inspiring tale of hope, second chances and Christmas miracles. Characters that will appear in the following books are introduced. While the tale is peppered with much drama, it’s primarily a heartwarming romance which will leave you smiling at the end. If you love fun, enchanting Christmas reads set in small, cozy towns in which you will want to take up residence, I’d highly recommend that you check out Mistletoe Cottage and the author’s entire Harmony Harbor series.
Suggested Reading Order:
Christmas with an Angel (short story)