Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: October 6, 2020
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Add It: Goodreads
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One Christmas wish, two brothers, and a lifetime of hope are on the line for hapless Maelyn Jones in In a Holidaze, the quintessential holiday romantic novel by Christina Lauren, the New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.
But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.
The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.
Jam-packed with yuletide cheer, an unforgettable cast of characters, and Christina Lauren’s trademark “downright hilarious” (Helen Hoang, author of The Bride Test) hijinks, this swoon-worthy romantic read will make you believe in the power of wishes and the magic of the holidays.
The vacation has always been the celebratory red circle on my calendar countdown. The cabin is my oasis not only because Andrew Hollis is here, but also because it’s the perfect winter cabin, the perfect amount of snow, the perfect people, and the perfect level of comfort. The perfect Christmas, and I don’t want to change a thing.
So did I just completely ruin everything?
I lean forward and hug my knees. I am a mess.
“You’re not a mess.”
I startle, looking up to find Andrew standing over me, grinning and holding a steaming mug of coffee. With a view of his face in the bright morning light—mischievous green eyes, the shadowy hint of stubble, and pillow creases on his left cheek—my body reacts predictably: heart takes a flying leap off a cliff and stomach sinks warm and low in my belly. He is both exactly who I wanted to see right now and the last person I want to know what’s bothering me.
Trying to remember what my hair looks like, I pull the blanket up to my chin, wishing I’d taken the time to put on a bra. “Was I talking to myself?”
“You sure were.” He smiles, and Lord, if the sun doesn’t come out from behind the clouds. Dimples so deep I could lose all my hopes and dreams inside them. I swear his teeth sparkle. As if on cue, a perfect brown curl falls over his forehead. You have got to be kidding me.
And oh my God, I made out with his brother. Guilt and regret mix sourly in the back of my throat.
“Did I reveal my plans to overthrow the government and install Beyoncé in her rightful place as our fearless leader?” I ask, deflecting.
“I must have come in after that part.” Andrew gazes at me with amusement. “I just heard you say that you’re a mess.”
Something’s in his expression, some playful twinkle I can’t quite translate. Dread gives me a swift kick to the solar plexus.
I point to his face. “What’s happening here?”
“Oh, nothing.” He sits down beside me, puts his arm around my shoulders, and plants a kiss on the top of my head. The kiss is distracting enough for the dread to dissolve, and I work to not grab for him as he pulls away. If I could ever be on the receiving end of a long, tight Andrew Hollis hug, it would be the affection equivalent of chugging down a tall glass of water on a scorching day. I know I’ve never deserved him—he’s too good for any mortal—but it never stopped me from wanting him anyway.
A film of unease settles back over me when he laughs out my name against my hair.
“You’re awfully chipper this morning,” I say.
“And you are not,” he remarks, leaning forward to playfully study my face. The headphones around his neck fall forward slightly, and I can tell he never bothered to turn off the music; “She Sells Sanctuary” by the Cult filters tinnily through them.
“What’s going on, Maisie?”
This is what we do together; we become our old-person characters Mandrew and Maisie. We make our voices shaky and high-pitched—to play, to confide, to tease—but I’m too freaked out to play along.
“Nothing.” I shrug. “Didn’t sleep well.” The lie feels oily on my tongue.
“Um . . .” My internal organs disintegrate “Sort of?”
“So you and my brother, huh?”
Everything in my head is incinerated. Brain ash blows out onto the snow. “Oh my God.”
Andrew’s shoulders lift when he laughs. “You two kids! Sneaking around!”
“Andrew—it’s not a thing—I don’t—”
“No, no. It’s okay. I mean, no one is surprised, right?” He pulls back to get a look at my expression. “Hey, relax, you’re both adults.”
I groan, burying my face in my arms. He doesn’t get it, and worse—he really doesn’t care.
His tone softens, instantly apologetic. “I didn’t realize you’d be so freaked out. I was just messing with you. I mean, to be honest I figured it was just a matter of time before you and Theo—”
“Andrew, no.” I look around, desperate now. A surprise escape hatch would be a great discovery. Instead, a glint of silver catches my eye—the sleeve of Andrew’s hilariously awful holiday sweater hanging over the edge of the trash can. Miso, the Hollises’ corgi, got ahold of it on Christmas Eve and Lisa must’ve decided it was beyond saving. I wouldn’t mind joining it in the trash right now. “It’s not like that between us.”
“Hey. It’s fine, Maisie.” I can tell he’s surprised at the degree of my alarm, and he puts a reassuring hand on my arm, misinterpreting my meltdown: “I won’t tell anyone else.”
Mortification and guilt surge in my throat. “I—I can’t believe he told you.”
“He didn’t,” Andrew says. “I came back to the house last night because I left my phone in the kitchen, and saw you two.”
Andrew saw us? Please, let me die here.
“Come on, don’t make such a big deal about a little kissing. You’re talking to the guy whose mom moves the mistletoe around the house every day. Half this group has kissed each other at some point.” He gives me a noogie and, if possible, my mortification deepens. “Dad sent me out here to call you in for breakfast.” He playfully jabs my shoulder, like a pal. “I just wanted to give you some shit.”
With a little wink, Andrew turns and heads back into the house, and I am left trying to find my sanity.
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