Best holiday romances for joy and cheer

Adrian Liang on December 08, 2020

Best holiday romances for joy and cheer

Holiday romances are like holiday chocolates: Why would you ever stop at just one? On top of that, if there’s anything this strange year has taught us, it is to appreciate joyful things.

But I’ve found that one of the best things about holiday romances is that amid the pressures of finding the perfect gifts, decorating your home, and sending out cards, it provides much-needed “me time” while also reviving the holiday spirit.

Hey, you deserve a gift for yourself, too.

The Mistletoe Kisser by Lucy Score

The small town of Blue Moon celebrates all the December holidays with its Winter Solstice and Multicultural Holiday Celebration, but that isn’t helping the spirits of recently jobless Ryan, who is in town only to help his uncle. Then he meets local vet Sammy, who treasures the openheartedness of Blue Moon, especially because her own family looks down its nose at sentimentality. While this might seem like a mismatch to some, the Blue Moon Beatification Committee thinks differently and throws them together at every opportunity. And sometimes mistletoe is involved… A giggle-worthy and thoroughly modern holiday romance.

A Warm Heart in Winter by J.R. Ward

Black Dagger Brotherhood fans love Blay and Qhuinn, and in this “Caldwell Christmas” novel they finally get the chance to make their love 100% official in every possible way. But of course the path of true love never runs smoothly, even when couples have been committed for a while, and the creation of that tension and turmoil is where Ward shines. While newcomers to the BDB will likely be lost, longtime readers will consider this the perfect gift.

Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory

A ride-along on her daughter’s work trip to England—and to the royal estate of Sandringham—Vivian isn’t sure what to expect of the Christmas holidays in a foreign country, but she definitely does not expect to find an unexpected connection with Malcolm Hudson, the queen’s private secretary. But both know that their holiday fling has an expiration date. Until, of course, it doesn’t. Rarely does a heroine older than 30 get her own standalone romance story, and this holiday-themed one is an absolute delight. If you didn’t pick up Royal Holiday last year, do stuff it in your stocking this year.

Santa Daddy by Keira Andrews

As a last-resort job, Hunter returns to his role as an elf at the local mall’s Santa Village. But this year’s Santa is a big improvement: rugged Nick, who seems to have a soft heart under his gruff interior. As Hunter explores this new attraction, Nick struggles to move past old grief, delivering a heartwarming and sizzling M/M Christmas story of hope reborn.

The Christmas Pact by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

Dynamic duo Keeland and Ward give the gift of laughter with this bite-sized holiday romance. Coworkers Riley Kennedy and Kennedy Riley keep getting each other’s emails, but it’s not until a fateful holiday office party (remember those?!) that they finally meet. A preposterous fake-girlfriend/boyfriend scheme takes off, and soon Riley and Kennedy start wondering how much is real and how much is tinsel. Hilarious and holiday-perfect.

Feliz Naughty Dog by Roxanne St. Claire

Dog lovers, this is the novella (and series) for you. The Dogmothers are committed to matchmaking their grandchildren into happiness, and their newest target (victim?) is Pru, who needs a partner to win a high school contest. Enter Lucas and his rescue racing greyhound, Tor. As Pru and Lucas wrangle Tor, the Dogmothers are checking out the mall Santa as a possible match for one of their friends. This sweet, cozy Christmas romance will leave readers with smiles on their faces.

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

As Mae and her family drive away from their winter cabin, Mae wishes she had the chance for a do-over. So much went wrong during the weekend, and there’s no way to make it right. Then the weekend resets, and she gets another chance. And then another…and another. Those who love Groundhog Day-like story lines will find a lot of joy in this heartfelt story of finding the right guy after trying all the wrong ways.

The Holiday Treatment by Elle Spencer

I cannot tell you how much I adore the concept of Elle Spencer’s new lesbian romance. Holly Hudson writes holiday movies for the Wifetime Network’s Christmas series. But her goal is to make a gay Christmas movie—the network’s first. When network executive Meredith joins the holiday team, Holly wonders if this could be the year her dream finally comes true, little expecting that she and Meredith will bring romance into their own lives as well as their viewers’.

Jingle All the Way by Debbie Macomber

Those who are hunkering down this Christmas can escape through this book to a cruise on the steamy Amazon. When Everly’s boss convinces her to take December off, she unexpectedly ends up in the jungle and completely disconnected from her previous life. As Everly resets her priorities and her heart, the ship’s naturalist, Asher, becomes more and more important to her. This sweet romance reminds readers that love can sometimes be found when you slow down and look for it.

How the Dukes Stole Christmas by Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Sophia Jordan, and Joanna Shupe

The lineup of authors in this 2019 historical romance anthology can’t be beat. Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Sophia Jordan, and Joanna Shupe share holiday hijinks among the upper class in their novellas, each one adding her special spice and voice to these delightful stories. From New York to Scotland, the dukes (and one Duke) find love under the mistletoe, sometimes with the perfect woman who was right there the whole time.

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