Mistletoe Not Required

By: Anne Oliver

’Tis the season to be daring!

This Christmas Olivia Wishart is determined to throw off the shackles of her past and have fun. And nothing says fun like a glamorous Christmas party! So, wearing a brand-new red dress and some seriously high stilettos, nervously clutching a glass of champagne, she’s finally ready to start living life to the max….

Olivia had thought that pre-party nerves would be the only thing to get her heart racing…until a view even more spectacular than the glow of Sydney Harbor catches her eye. The drop-dead-gorgeous man with the steely black eyes is everything Olivia has ever wanted—and this Christmas she’s not going to wait meekly under the mistletoe!





SNEAK PEEK EXCERPT FROM





MISTLETOE NOT REQUIRED



Her eyes snagged on the lower half of a man descending from a pretty spiral staircase that she’d not noticed earlier.

Even if men weren’t a priority for Olivia, a little blip of pleasure registered on her radar. Black trousers covered legs that went all the way up—and up—the fabric lovingly clasped around muscled thighs, a firm, rounded, superhero-in-tights butt. Nice.

A girl deserved a little lust blip every now and then and this blip was brightening by the second.

His gaze met hers as if she’d summoned him to look her way. And he didn’t look pleased about that. His eyebrows lowered, his mouth firmed and a muscle tensed in his jaw.

Steely black eyes with the power to tempt. To persuade. A shiver rippled down her spine. The power to take her will and flex it between his long, slender fingers like so much overcooked spaghetti.

And Olivia felt hot, like she did when standing on the steaming deck of her yacht on a midsummer’s day in Barbados. In the eye of a tropical storm even, because her usually strong sea legs were wobbly.

She was still looking at him and he was still looking at her and she swore she saw him mouth “trouble.”





Dear Reader,

The island of Tasmania is one of Australia’s timeless gems. Snow-capped mountains with air so crisp and cold and pure you breathe it in deep like the scent of some rare exotic bloom. From the historic penal colony of Port Arthur you ponder the panorama the way the early convicts did—unchanged wilderness meets the ocean, beautiful and relentless and inescapable.

Contrast with Hobart’s warm sandstone and polished brass, its vibrant Salamanca markets and historic docks, their nineteenth-century waterfront warehouses converted to cafés and galleries.

Then there’s the prestigious annual Sydney-to-Hobart yacht race, which gets underway every year on Boxing Day.

My heroine, dedicated yachtswoman and experienced skipper Olivia Wishart, is making the crossing in memory of her mother who died of breast cancer before they could make the voyage together. She and her best friend, Brie, are raising funds on the trip for the cancer retreat she wants to establish.

But tonight it’s Christmas Eve and Olivia treats herself to a harmless, one-off flirtation with a Tall, Dark and Delicious whom she meets at a pre-sailing party overlooking Sydney Harbour. Next morning, Brie’s brother, celebrity chef Jett Davies, turns up for Christmas lunch….

I enjoyed creating the fun, flirty interaction between Olivia and Jett while exploring the serious aspect of how Olivia deals with her fear that she carries the same mutant gene as her family.

I’m excited to have my first Harlequin KISS book released. It’s a fun, modern line with gusty yet feminine heroines and compelling, swoon-worthy heroes. I hope you enjoy reading Mistletoe Not Required as much as I loved writing it. Let me know!

Anne Oliver




ONE

Olivia Wishart slicked ruby gloss on her lips, then checked her strapless cocktail dress in the mirror and frowned. ‘Red lips, red dress, red hair.’ She reached for her standby little black dress. ‘I don’t care if everyone’s decked to the halls in Christmas finery, it’s—’

‘Lovely, but not for tonight.’ Her best friend, Breanna Black, whipped the garment from her hand. ‘And not another word—you look sensational.’ She eyed the cleavage on display and nodded. ‘Wise choice—men will look.’

‘So long as they listen.’ Olivia wasn’t a fancy dress fan but the opportunity to talk up her charity to her fellow competitors in this year’s Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race was too good to pass up. And a little flesh never failed to get attention.

‘Try to remember, it is Christmas.’ Brie shimmied into a short mulberry all-in-one playsuit with a fur-trim neckline then tossed Olivia a white feather boa. ‘Here. It’ll put you in the mood.’

Olivia’s lips twitched as she slung the silky feathers around her neck. ‘I assume you’re referring to the festive mood.’

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