Mistletoe in Manhattan
by Talli Roland
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Holly may never forget this Christmas... even if she wants to!
As the daughter of Christmas-any-time party planners, Holly West has been surrounded by the holiday spirit since birth. Trouble is, she's not exactly filled with festive cheer. In fact, Holly can't wait to ditch the Santa suit for champagne and celebs, and become a party planner to the stars.
When TV star Dean Layton hires her parents' company to throw his holiday bash in Manhattan, Holly jumps at the chance to help, confident she can handle a little Christmas in exchange for access to Dean's exclusive world.
But New York and Dean's over-the-top demands are more than Holly bargained for. Can Holly deck the halls and make it a party to be proud of, or will this Christmas end her dreams for good?
Mistletoe in Manhattan also gives readers a sneak peek of Talli Roland's novel The Pollyanna Plan, out now.
Scroll down for an excerpt
About the author...
Talli Roland writes fun, romantic fiction. Born and raised in Canada, Talli now lives in London, where she savours the great cultural life (coffee and wine). Despite training as a journalist, Talli soon found she preferred making up her own stories – complete with happy endings. Twice shortlisted for the UK’s Festival of Romance, Talli's novels have also been chosen as Amazon Customer Favourites and top books of the year by industry review websites. She’s a bestseller in Britain and the United States.
To learn more about Talli, you can find her here:
‘Come on, little elf! Gimme a kiss.’ The red-faced man leered towards me, blowing beery breath my way as he dangled a mangled piece of mistletoe.
How about a boot in the balls? I thought, glancing down at the curled-up, bejangled toes of the green-felt monstrosities on my feet. The shoes were offensive, but they were nothing compared to the rest of my costume Mum had lovingly sewn for their “Christmas When You Like it” party business. I was every elf-lover’s wet dream: short, leprechaun-green tunic trimmed with red and gold, vivid red tights, and a pointed cap. In a fit of economy, my mother had used the leftover shiny material from the Christmas tablecloths, and my whole outfit glowed in the dark. Mum had been delighted. Me, not so much.
Two more hours, I sighed, forcing my thoughts away from elfin violence. Two more hours and I could be Holly West again, back in the safety of the office, wearing the business suits I’d purchased after graduating from university last year in hopes of employment at a London party-planners. Little had I known I’d be sporting my Next outfits right back where I’d started: behind the desk of my parents’ headquarters in the garden shed, working as receptionist/ tea-maker/ lead elf, and dreaming of a world where Christmas wasn’t an all-year extravaganza.
‘Holly!’ Mum, clad in a Mrs Claus outfit with extra cushions for bulk, artfully dodged the mistletoe-man trying to pinch her bottom – not that he’d get anywhere close with all the padding. ‘Please mix some mulled wine. We’re running low.’
This lot needed more alcohol like a hole in the head, but the one thing I’d learned was the drunker the punter, the fewer complaints. Luckily, Christmas office parties – regardless of the time of year – seemed to give workers a carte blanche to get trashed.
‘Your name is Holly?’ the man slurred, pointing at me and grinning. ‘Your name is Holly and you work as an elf? That’s brill. Hey, are you really an elf? Do you live in the North Pole? Take me back to yours, baby. This Santa loves sleighs.’
Oh, God. Rolling my eyes, I turned and fled for the safety of the tiny kitchen, cursing my parents for the bazillionth time for naming me Holly. As full-time Christmas aficionados, Mum and Dad had been thrilled when I popped out on December twenty-fifth with the dubious honour of Little Missington’s first Christmas baby in fifty years (the village was so tiny, the birth rate was practically negative one hundred). Faced with the choice of either Noel, Yuletide or Holly, I supposed I should be happy they’d plumped for the latter. Even so, I couldn’t wait to get away from this claustrophobic village where the elderly population still called me “The Christmas Baby”.
Some day, I told myself as I shoved another pitcher of hideous mulled wine into the microwave. Some day I’d have a swank job at a prestigious party-planners, and I’d never again dress as an elf or listen to carols around the clock.
I just hoped it was sooner rather than later, before Christmas did me in.