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“Five berries eual the five separate kisses I challenge you to steal”Notorious rake Henry “Hal” Stuart Earl of Redbridge is certain he’ll win his Christmas bet until he learns he’ll be st. If you only read one Christmassy historical romance this year I d strongly advise you to make it this one His Mistletoe Wager is simply delightful from start to finish it s funny it s sexy it s full of warmth and tenderness and in Hal Stuart Virginia Heath has created one of the most swoonworthy heroes I ve read all yearThe story opens with a prologue set five years before the book proper begins with Lady Elizabeth Wilding awaiting the arrival of her bridegroom the Maruess of Rainham She s blissfully happy deeply in love with her fianc and can t wait to tell him the news that she s to bear his child but her hopes for a bright future are dashed when her brother arrives at the church to tell her that Rainham isn t coming He has run off with the Duke of Aylesbury s daughter and her large fortuneFive years on and we learn that Elizabeth whose aloofness and icy demeanour have earned her the nickname sullen Lizzie is still moving about in society having had her child in secret with the full support of her family which is a refreshing change from so many stories where a heroine in trouble is disowned Her father a prominent member of the government is eager for Lizzie to marry and has over the past few years paraded suitor after suitor in front of her in the hopes that one of them would take her fancy but to no avail Lizzie is determined to remain unwed for the sake of her son she has no desire to surrender her independence to a man who might take Georgie away from her or mistreat him and she certainly has no desire to fall in love In fact though she knows it will break her father s heart she has made plans to retire to a small village in Yorkshire where she can live as a widow and allow Georgie to grow up without the need for secrecy and where he will be able to have a normal life among other children She hasn t yet had the heart to tell her father of her plans but she is holding fast to her intention to depart after Twelfth NightHaving inherited his title around a year earlier Hal Stuart the Earl of Redbridge is surprised to discover that he rather enjoys all the things that go along with being an earl He s got a talent for spotting good investments and has already substantially increased the family fortune he is a good landlord and estate manager and he likes being involved in politics things he never in a million years thought he d actually enjoy after having spent his youth rebelling against his unpleasant authoritarian fatherEven worrying for Hal who has rather a devilish reputation as a ladies man is that he hasn t felt much like sowing any of the wild oats he s certain that at twenty seven he still has in abundance He s not sure exactly what s wrong with him and right now between escorting his mother to various seasonal entertainments and dodging the eager match making mamas and their eually eager debutante daughters Hal doesn t really have the time to work it out But he s certainly not himself and is pondering the problem of his absent libido with his best friend and brother in law Aaron Wincanton who married Hal s sister Connie in Her Enemy at the Altar suggests that perhaps Hal is just missing the thrill of the chase now he s got women throwing themselves at him In an attempt to pull Hal out of his funk Aaron suggests a wager His interest piued Hal listens as Aaron outlines the details of The Mistletoe Wager their silly wagers always have names which is that Hal must steal five kisses in five different locations from a lady of Aaron s choosing before Twelfth Night No prizes for guessing whom Aaron chooses Daunted but not defeated Hal uickly realises that the best way to approach Lizzie is to make it clear he s not interested in her at all but rather that he is taking advantage of her formidable reputation as an ice maiden to repel all boarders and hide from the barely out of the schoolroom chits who keep trying to corner him Surprised at such an approach Lizzie finds herself sympathising with his plight and before she can help herself tells him she s in a similar situation vis vis her father s eagerness for her to marry Hal immediately sees a way for him to be able to spend time in Lizzie s company and suggests they can help each other out If they pretend to be interested in each other the debutantes will leave Hal alone and Lizzie will be able to refuse the attentions of the gentlemen her father continues to hope she will favourAt first Lizzie is appalled at the idea But when the smarmy Lord Ockendon approaches her and makes a number of cryptic comments that seem to indicate he knows something damaging about her Lizzie changes her mind and agrees to Hal s suggestion that they act like a courting couple until the Redbridge ball on Twelfth NightYes we all know where this is going but Ms Heath has fashioned a story of surprising depth and emotional complexity behind the whimsical set up and title Hal is still of the opinion that he s far too young to be thinking about settling down but it s clear from the start that he s no longer the hellion he was and is already making the transition from wild youth to responsible adult He keeps telling himself he isn t ready for marriage but his actions towards Lizzie his thoughts and feelings about her feelings he steadfastly denies are born of anything other than the enjoyment he finds in her company reveal he s most certainly ready and than that he s well over half way head over heels in love He s witty clever and gorgeous and to the point after an initial mis step takes the truth of Lizzie s situation in his stride and wants to help and protect her however he canLizzie could have been the rather stereotypical ice maiden who guards her heart after being disappointed in love but in Ms Heath s hands she s than that she s a woman determined to protect her son at all costs even going so far as to give up all hope of personal fulfilment and happiness She s young and beautiful and should have been enjoying the thrill of a stolen kiss a first waltz or a harmless flirtation but thanks to Rainham s faithlessness she has missed out on all those youthful pleasures taking refuge instead behind the emotional walls she has erectedMs Heath develops their relationship splendidly showing two mature like minded people trading uips and intelligent discussion enjoying each other s company and coming to know each other Before long spending time with Lizzie has become far important to Hal than the wager and Lizzie who had sworn never again to be taken in by good looks and charm realises that there is far to Hal than a pretty face and that there s an intelligent and well informed man behind the rakish exteriorOf course there are a few road bumps along the way to true love and happiness The threat to Lizzie is nasty and is extended to those she loves and Ms Heath thankfully doesn t opt to go down the Big Mis route Lizzie knows she can t handle it alone and confides in her father and in Hal who really does leave no stone unturned in order to help herHis Mistletoe Wager is romantic funny poignant and will charm you completely If you re wondering what to give yourself for Christmas it s the perfect seasonal treat

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His Mistletoe Wager

Attraction she can’t risk the persistent Hal bringing down her defenses But when her former fiancé returns Lizzie realizes that perhaps Hal’s the one man she can trust with her heart and her son. Five berries eual the five separate kisses I challenge you to steal And what powerful kisses they are Still SwooningHal is gorgeous inside and out but as we all know rakes make the best husbands Especially when they meet a heroine who can hold her own and is not easily swayed by flowery words Hal s rakish attitude is nothing but a superficial layer hiding a very loveable and loyal man that had me all a flutter Lizzie is a heroine who has learnt from her past mistakes and is sworn off men all for the love of her child and family I loved her fierceness when it came to protecting those she loved Hal and Lizzie s story smells tastes and feels every bit like a Christmas miracle My first festive read and it s full of every magical ingredient I needed to kick start my Christmas I stayed up way passed my bed time reading this one and it was worth being a zombie for today His Mistletoe Wager will leave you glowing and ready to break out the mistletoe 5 stars from me

Virginia Heath Î 2 Characters

Ealing Lady Elizabeth Wilding’s kisses A woman who refuses to be charmedOnce jilted Lizzie must guard her heart because the ton is unaware of her scandalous secret her son Despite their increasing. This is my first Christmas book of the year and it is a doozy and it can t be kept just for Christmas His Mistletoe Wager should be read now and then again and again and then at Christmas and then againFive years earlier Elizabeth Lizzie Wilding is waiting in the church for the love of her life only to be horrible jilted by only to be told by a note hastely scribbled She is broken this man was suppose to be her happy ever after she had given him everything even her innocence only for him to jilt her Leaving her facing scandal and censor not only that but leaving her pregnantNow she is five years older she has sworn off men for the rest of her life she has built a wall around her heart and no man will ever broach it again the only man she wants in her life is her son George She has decided that now her son is getting older she is to leave her aristocratic life and move to Yorkshire in peace where her and her cute as button son George can live without all the cloak and dagger creeping around as what happens now She has planned to live her life as a widow which is entirely proper and also she knows that as a widow her son will be accepted But unfortunately for lizzie her father has yet again decided that she needs to get herself back on the marriage market and it would be in her best interest to find a gent and get marriedTo not only complicate things and make matters worse for her she has caught the attention of the rakish and womanizing Henry Stuart the new Earl of Redbridge for whatever reason he has suddenly decided that she is exactly what he needs to get through this Christmas He makes her a bargain that she cannot possibly pass up but in dealing with the devil himself will she be able to fulfil her dream of living independently Or will she succumb to his charmsThe initial meeting between her and Hal is really very funny he forces himself in to her little bubble and she is just so irritated by him She literally think of him as a pesky wasp that first needs swatting with a good old fashioned barbed tongue lashing When that doesn t work she decided that the only way to make the wasp go away is to ignore it which is highly amusingI really like Lizzie people from society may think of her as an ice ueen and a boring old spinster who wouldn t know fun if it danced naked in front of her but that s just a visage That s how she wants everyone to think her to be that way she is protecting her damaged heart and her young son She is a really good mother to him she tries her very utmost best for him and her plan to move to the country to live as a widow is proof of far she will go to make sure her son gets the very best life And to be perfectly honest I can t fault her for her plan to live in a secluded cottage in Yorkshire The girl is on the moneyI like her father as well the way he protects his daughter from the society vultures he makes sure that after the jilting no scandal will tarnish Lizzie s name He even goes against the grain of the time by letting Lizzie keep her illegitimate son which was very rare as most unwed aristocratic women had their children taken away to hide the scandal I applaud him for that and I highly applaud him for what he did maybe not the best course of action but applaudable anywayHal has got to the point in his life where he is bored of the rakish behaviour he want s something to fill his days Not just a uick tryst with a willing widow he finds that since gaining the title he has found an whole new love of books and politics and how things are runHe has spent his life going against the grain and flaunting his rakish ways for all and sundry to see but now that he has taken his rightful place in parliament he finds that he enjoys the debates He is growing into the Earl we know deep down he is and we as readers can see what he s missing in his life and why he isn t as bothered with bed hopping as he used to be But as ever with our heroes it does take them a while to get to the conclusion that Yes he needs a woman A good strong woman who can put him in his placeI do love a Christmas story and this is such a sweet festive tale that can be read at any time For me Lizzie s personal struggle and trials that she has to face and what she has gone through is the centre stone of the book and that s what Heath is particularly very good at She brings the character s alive and as always Heath transports you to another time and place with her charming and enigmatic writing which is as ever spot onFor me Aaron does steal the book but that s probably because I have a soft spot for him I love what Heath s done with him and his family it s so good catching up with Connie and Aaron and seeing how well their doing and how they are still the super cute couple they were in the end of their bookOver all Ms Heath has done it again she had created a fun Christmassy and intriguing love story and one that I highly recommend


10 thoughts on “His Mistletoe Wager

  1. says:

    What starts off as a simple wager between two friends turns into a real challenge for hero Henry Hal Stuart Earl of Redbridge His friend and brother in law Aaron wants Hal to steal five kisses in five different locations from the same lady A kiss for each berry on the mistletoe Hal is holding And the lady that Aaron chooses for Hal to kiss is Elizabeth Wilding also known as sullen Lizzie But clearly Hal is up t

  2. says:

    If you only read one Christmassy historical romance this year I’d strongly advise you to make it this one  His Mistletoe Wager is simply delightful from start to finish; it’s funny it’s sexy it’s full of warmth and tendernes

  3. says:

    What a delightful romantic and heart warming Christmas storyHenry Hal Stuart only son and heir to the Earl of Redbridge hated everything his mean dictatorial father stood for and adopting a rakish lifestyle was his way of annoying h

  4. says:

    When I read romances over the holidays I tend to lean toward traditional style kisses only Christmas love stori

  5. says:

    This is my first Christmas book of the year and it is a doozy and it can’t be kept just for Christmas “His Mistletoe Wager” should be read now and then again and again and then at Christmas and then againFive years earlier Elizabeth Lizzie Wilding is waiting in the church for the love of her life only to be horrible jilted by only to be told by a note hastely scribbled She is broken this man was suppose to be her h

  6. says:

    Virginia Heath’s winning streak of rich thoughtful romances continues with her latest release His Mistletoe Wage

  7. says:

    Wonderful Christmas story I really enjoyed itHal Stuart Earl of Redbridge enjoys being a bachelor but lately feels like he's missing something H

  8. says:

    Five berries eual the five separate kisses I challenge you to steal And what powerful kisses they are Still SwooningHal is gorgeous inside and o

  9. says:

    Received arc in return for an honest reviewNaughtiness 5As always Virginia never fails to have me captivated by every book she writes the hero and heroine you want to champion any who do them wring you want to take ain at in a duel to fight f

  10. says:

    Lovely lovely Christmas storyHenry and Lizzie are the most lovely couple and their story is full of friendship angst and loveTo be

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