Columns > Published on December 16th, 2015

Mistletoe & Menorahs: 14 Holiday Romances

The holidays are here, and that means ample opportunity for snuggling up by the fire and sneaking kisses under the mistletoe. Or maybe you’re basking in the glow of a menorah this holiday season, looking for a little romance. When the temperatures dip and the days grow shorter, passion is definitely in the air. Cozy up with these fourteen new holiday romances sure to get you in the holiday spirit.

1. 'A Dangerously Sexy Christmas' by Stefanie London

Rose Lawson doesn’t want a bodyguard, especially not the hot one her father hired after a break-in at the jewelry shop where she works. But when the aspiring designer’s home is also ransacked, she realizes that her infuriating bodyguard might be necessary after all. Former Aussie cop Max Ridgeway is convinced that someone dangerous is behind the attacks and that Rose needs immediate protection, but they soon find that the real danger might be in the sexy tension between them. A fling could compromise their lives as well as their hearts.

This book is extremely engaging, with well-developed lead characters, a plot full of intriguing suspense, and tons of twists and turns. The chemistry between Rose and Max is sizzling and the story is sure to warm up romance readers this Christmas.

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2. 'Holly's First Noel' by Faye Robertson

Music teacher Holly Jones and her neighbor Noel Coward are two people in need of comfort this holiday season. Holly’s boyfriend dumped her the week before Christmas, and Noel’s wife passed away on Christmas Eve three years ago, so it seems fitting that the two would embark on a holiday trip where each can save the other. Holly eagerly accepts Noel’s offer to travel in hopes of rediscovering herself, and Noel finds Holly’s presence both fascinating and comforting. As the snow piles up outside, the temperature indoors increases, and together Holly and Noel discover ways to heal and love.

This book is fun, flirtatious, and heartwarming. It is every bit a romantic comedy, with a wonderful female lead and a witty, smart love interest. It is a short book, clocking in at 78 pages, so it is perfect for squeezing into the busy holiday season.

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3. 'Menorahs and Mistletoe' by Jess Roth

Single dad Martin isn’t sure he even wants to jump back into the dating pool, but his precocious six-year-old daughter Sara is intent on helping him find a new “friend.” He definitely doesn’t want to go out with the mall elf they meet while shopping for gifts, but he is starting to get to know the cute receptionist at work, Tim, and now he’s thinking that maybe dating isn’t such a bad idea after all.

This little story is really sweet and totally fun. It is a tender look at two men coming together during the holiday season, and features a bright little girl who absolutely steals the show in every scene she’s in. With a Jewish main character and a lovely look at Hanukkah, it is a welcome addition to your holiday repertoire.

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4. 'Christmas on Candy Cane Lane' by Sheila Roberts

Christmas in Icicle Falls is no small matter, and this year everybody is getting ready for the season, especially on Candy Cane Lane, where holidays are taken very seriously. Town cop Tilda Morrison is looking forward to celebrating Christmas in her first house, until she discovers that she’s expected to keep up with neighbors like Maddy Donaldson. But someone has been destroying Maddie’s precious candy canes, and it’s up to Tilda to find out who! Tilda navigates family disasters, irritating ex-husbands, and kitchen catastrophes with Maddie and her neighbor Ivy by her side. But will Devon Black be able to convince Tilda he’s the man for her?

Sheila Roberts writes the most amazing stories, and readers will love visiting Icicle Falls this Christmas season. These are lead characters that you just want to sit down and be friends with, and you’ll love the small town feel and innocence of this light romance. It is full of love and humor.

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5. 'The Engagement Game' by Jenny Holiday

The black sheep of the old-money Rosemanns, advertising executive Marcus has made his own way in the world, and done extremely well for himself. But his family is still pressuring him to join their investment firm and settle down with a quiet, unobjectionable girl. Which is why the sexy Rose Verma is the perfect date for his family’s charity ball. A bleeding-heart lefty from the wrong side of the tracks, Rose has never met a stray dog she didn’t love or a polka-dotted mini-dress she couldn’t rock. Marcus has enough dirt on Rose to “convince” her to play along. And if he lets it slip that they’re engaged, all the better.

This book is all sorts of clever and sexy, with a meet-cute that will melt hearts. Readers will love the contemporary feel of this fast-paced romance and fall for the fresh diversity of the main characters. If you’re looking for holiday fun, the culmination of the whole scheme takes place at a Hanuakkah meal that is pretty much the dinner of all dinners. Jenny Holiday brings something fresh and new to familiar romance tropes, and this is a book you don’t want to miss. 

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6. 'To Wed His Christmas Lady' by Christi Caldwell

Lady Cara Falcot has only served one purpose to her loathsome father—to increase his power through a marriage to the future Duke of Billingsley. As such, she's built protective walls about her heart, and presents an icy facade to the world around her. William Hargrove, the Marquess of Grafton has wanted only one thing in life—to avoid the future match his parents would have him make to a cold, duke’s daughter. When a winter storm interrupts his trip and lands him at a falling-down inn, he’s forced to share company with a commanding Lady Cara who initially reminds him exactly of the woman he so desperately wants to avoid. At the holiday time, these two people who despise each other due to first perceptions are offered renewed beginnings and fresh starts.

This holiday novella features an emotionally broken heroine who finally finds tenderness. It perfectly captures the feelings of goodwill and love that surround the holiday season, and readers will love seeing these two characters grow from a place of animosity to one of love.

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7. 'A Beary Sweet Holiday' by Lia Davis

Tiffany Black, culinary artist and owner of Beary Sweets Café, is determined to make this year's Winter Solstice celebration one to remember. Especially since it will also be the mating ceremony for her brother, Anthony, and soon-to-be sister-in-law, Connie. When she falls off a ladder in her café and breaks her ankle, she fears her plans are doomed. Until the sexy bear Healer, Holt, comes to the rescue—stirring up more than just recipes. As they work side by side to make the Solstice unforgettable, their passions ignite, and things turn utterly delicious.

This little novella is sweet throughout with just the right amount of sexy. If you like your romance with a paranormal twist, you’ll love meeting the Bears of Blackrock. This little holiday book is perfect for a quick read by the fire.

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8. 'Snowbound at Christmas' by Debbie Mason

Ex-cop Cat O'Connor is bored working for her sister, Chloe, as a personal assistant on the set of her soap opera. Until Chloe gets an opportunity to audition for the role of a lifetime and asks her identical twin to substitute for her on the soap with no one the wiser. It's a perfect switch—until Cat attracts the attention of the mysterious Mr. Tall, Dark, and Way-too-handsome leading man, Grayson Alexander. Grayson never thought being snowbound in the charming town of Christmas, Colorado, for the holiday would get so hot. But between working with sexy, tough Cat on set and keeping his real reason for being there under wraps, he's definitely feeling the heat.

Don’t let the cheery red cover of this novel fool you. It is so much more than a cozy small town romance! Within these pages you’ll run into an intriguing mystery full of suspense and danger. But romance readers will be glad to know that weaved in throughout the mystery is a sweet developing relationship that is sure to delight. This is a book that will keep you on your toes right up until a satisfying ending.

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9. 'Dashing Through The Snow' by Debbie Macomber

Ashley Davison, a graduate student in California, desperately wants to spend the holidays with her family in Seattle. Dashiell Sutherland, a former army intelligence officer, has a job interview in Seattle and must arrive by December 23. Though frantic to book a last-minute flight out of San Francisco, both are out of luck: Every flight is full, and there’s only one rental car available. Ashley and Dash reluctantly decide to share the car, but neither anticipates the wild ride ahead. The two are in for more twists and turns along the way as they rescue a lost puppy, run into petty thieves, and even get caught up in a case of mistaken identity. Though Ashley and Dash may never reach Seattle in time for Christmas, the season is still full of surprises—and their greatest wishes may yet come true.

This book is straight up adorable. It is a romantic story of two strangers coming together that reads on the page like a comforting Hallmark holiday movie. With plenty of twists and lots of fun, readers will love going on this holiday road trip with Ashley and Dash.

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10. 'A Cinderella Christmas Carol' by Hope Tarr

There’s nothing On Top managing editor Cynthia “Starr” Starling hates more than Christmas. With an important deadline looming, plus her dreaded Christmas Day birthday, Starr just wants the holiday to end. But when she wakes up Christmas Eve night to the ghost of Christmas Past, Present, and Future—all in the form of the super-hot Matt Landry, the new art director—she knows she’s in for a long night. Matt is the one person on Starr’s team she can’t boss around and the only one she doesn’t need to. He’s also her employee and totally off limits, even if he does seem interested. Though he’s seven years younger and all kinds of forbidden fruit, he’s the form the Powers That Be decided she’d be receptive to.

In this clever and modern retelling of Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol, Hope Tarr brings us a fun look at the holidays. It is delightfully steamy and wonderfully heartwarming, with a sweet hero and a spunky heroine. Readers will love Starr’s transformation on her way to find love.

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11. 'Lighting the Flames' by Sarah Wendell

Genevieve and Jeremy have known each other since they were seven, and have been summertime best friends at Camp Meira, a Jewish overnight camp in the mountains. As campers, and then as staff, their friendship was a constant, something neither wanted to change, no matter how tempting those changes might be. Then, last year, with little warning, Jeremy left camp early. After that summer, Gen left the country on a graduate fellowship. Now, a little over a year since they were last at Meira, Gen and Jeremy are back together to help run a special Winter Camp during Hanukkah. Any water under the bridge is frozen this time of year, and with so much left unspoken and unexplained, this week may be their chance to rekindle their friendship, or turn it into something new.

This book is the quintessential Hanukkah romance. Geneveive and Jeremy are a captivating couple with wonderful chemistry. With a delightful friends-to-lovers romance and a captivating setting, this book is sure to be a holiday favorite.

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12. 'A Cold Creek Christmas Story' by RaeAnne Thayne

Celeste Nichols has always preferred to keep to herself in her hometown of Pine Gulch, Idaho…until she becomes an instant celebrity! When one of her children's stories becomes a major success, she's suddenly the talk of the town. Celeste should be gloriously happy…but something, someone, special is still missing from her life. Flynn Delaney has moved back home for his daughter's sake. Yet all the millionaire's resources can't help the little girl heal from the tragic loss of her mother. Shy librarian Celeste and her stories do hold some indefinable magic, though. Flynn came home looking for support—can he find that, and true love, in the one who got away?

This book is beautifully written and emotional, with a swoon-worthy single dad and a sweet librarian looking for love. It will make you laugh, and it will make you cry, all on the way to helping you realize the true meaning of the Christmas season.

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13. 'I'll Be Home For Christmas' by Lori Wilde

Christmas in Twilight, Texas, is all merriment and mistletoe. The Cookie Club is whipping up their most festive sweets, the townspeople are scrambling to get their holiday shopping done, and Joe—a hometown guy with a restless heart—is dreaming about the woman he wants to kiss most…and who happens to be staying at his sister's place over the holidays, while Joe's sister is away. But Joe isn't quite sure he wants to be a living Christmas present to runaway law student Gabi Preston.

Twilight, Texas is a town steeped in rich holiday tradition, and readers will love being transported there to celebrate Christmas. This book is definitely more on the sweet side, making it the perfect holiday book to both read and give as a gift. With wonderful themes of family and love, this book is a delightful holiday romance.

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14. 'Secret Santa Baby' by Robin Covington

Tessa Stoneman hasn’t been able to get long-time friend and business partner Nicholas Boone out of her head since they shared a single kiss in college. Now that she’s giving up her position at GameNerdz to strike out on her own—and now that she’s single—maybe it’s the right time to see if there’s still something between them. Nicholas knows once Tessa leaves the company she helped found, they might drift apart. Before she starts her own company in the new year, he wants to woo the woman he fell in love with during college. So he poses as her Secret Santa, gifts her with items from the song “Santa Baby,” and plans a big reveal at the company holiday party. But when his best friend wants to rekindle his romance with Tessa, will Nicholas lose his last chance?

This book is short and sexy with a fabulous sense of holiday magic. Tessa and Nicholas are adorable and readers will root for them to be together from page one. If you’re short on time, squeeze in this quick, cute read and be filled with holiday cheer.

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Now is the perfect time to pop some cookies in the oven and sit down with a good book. From sexy and steamy to mellow and sweet, there’s a holiday romance for every reader. What are your favorite holiday romances?

About the author

Riki has a long-standing love affair with all things books and writing. She indulged her love for all things literary with a degree in English Literature from Arizona State University and is currently studying at the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing. Although she is well past her own teen years, Riki’s reading passion lies with Young Adult literature where she devours books that handle the “firsts” in life. When not reading and writing she can be found yelling at the television while watching sports.

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