Sunday, December 15, 2013

25 Days of Christmas Stories: DEATH UNDER THE MISTLETOE by Ashantay Peters


Hoping to reconcile with her best friend, Lily Carlson agrees to maid of honor duties at a Christmas wedding. Holidays are already difficult, but this event promises emotional hell before the tree drops its first needles. The groom is Lily’s first love, a man who deserted her. When he’s found hanging at the altar—under the mistletoe and without pants—Lily is the main suspect.

Gray Bronson left town five years earlier. Now he’s back to act as best man, even though he hates the groom. Years ago, Gray revoked Lily’s virgin club membership, and he’s determined to win her back. But Lily is being framed, and her own actions make her look guilty.

A trail of broken hearts leads to the murderer, but Lily’s celebration may be fatally delayed. Will the hapless lovers find a happily ever after gift-wrapped under the Christmas tree?

Excerpt:

“Lily, this is my wedding. The maid of honor is supposed to make sure everything goes well.”
Maybe that was true in a traditional sense, but Alexa’s wedding planner, Stephanie White, had made my presence irrelevant. The woman was a dominatrix with a penchant for lace veils and rose petals. She made European railroad schedules look like kindergarten attempts at slavish obedience to a clock.
My stomach flip-flopped. I inhaled and pushed out jumbled words. “Rod is . . .” I couldn’t find the words.
Alexa’s fists punctuated her hips. “He’s drunk. Great. Just great.”
I closed my eyes against Alexa’s anger. Good thing I never had to speak with victims or their families.
“Wait, what’s wrong with Rod?” She dropped onto a chair, probably inspired toward weak knees by my facial expression.
I sank to the floor beside her and, against my better judgment, took her hand in mine. She continued to watch me, her confused expression unwavering.
Somehow I found the guts to spit out the truth. “What I meant to say is, Rod’s dead.”
She shook her head.  “No. No way.”
Alexa moved faster than I could react.  Running full-out, she screeched to a stop within view of her groom’s corpse. Her faint punctuated our already crappy heart-to-heart.

Review by Val Clarizio:

Due to the untimely demise of the groom, it is surly not going to be a Merry Christmas or happy wedding day, or, is it conceivable that some good can come out of this unfortunate situation. Death Under the Mistletoe is a contemporary romantic suspense novella with exciting action components that will keep you rapidly flipping pages.  

It all starts when the heroine, Lily, tries to reconcile with her ‘used to be best friend’ Alexa by agreeing to serve as the Maid of honor at her Christmas wedding. And if that part wasn’t already hard enough, Lily has to deal with the fact that the groom is her most recent past lover who dumped her in public. But wait, there’s more, poor Lily also has to deal with Gray, the man who took her virginity five years earlier and then immediately took off for the hills. Why did Gray have to be Alexa’s cousin and in the wedding party as well?

The wedding day is going according to schedule until Lily stumbles upon the groom hanging at the altar, under the mistletoe, and dead as a doornail. Staring up at the body she can’t help but wonder where his pants are. Gray stumbles in on the unfortunate situation as well.
The authorities are called. Between Lily’s falling-out with bride, and her prior relationship with the groom, Lily becomes a prime suspect. Gray tries to help, and appears comforting and caring, but Lily is too hung up on the fact he ran like there was no tomorrow once he’d had her. Gray is determined to win Lily back, and do anything in his power to help her. He never stopped caring for her.

As Lily and Gray race to find out who is framing Lily, the sparks start to fly in both good and bad ways. The chemistry between the two is terrific but Lily seems to have issues letting go of the past. The author does a good job developing both the hero and heroine’s characters, and I couldn’t help but pull for poor Gray to win Lily over. I found myself rapidly flipping pages, eager to see what trouble lurked around every corner for Lily. As more trouble was thrown her way, the sexual tension intensified between Lily and Gray, and when they finally got it on the sex scenes are scrumptiously steamy.

Both the suspense and sexual tension were well written. I liked Lily’s character. At first she seemed like a pushover, but as the story went on I discovered she wasn’t that at all but more of a ‘take the bull by the horns’ type of gal.

Death Under the Mistletoe is a cute little read that includes mystery, sprinkles of humor, and sexual tension. The pace of the story hummed right along and kept my interest. If you’re looking for a quick, easy, delightful read, Death Under the Mistletoe is the book for you. 

Available for purchase:

Author Bio:

Ashantay Peters lives in the North Carolina mountains, where she loves escaping into a well-written book. Her reading addiction also has her perusing magazines, newspapers, Internet articles and even food labels. The last is often feebly excused as an attempt to maintain health, but her friends know the truth. 

Ashantay has two releases with The Wild Rose Press: Death Stretch and Death Under the Mistletoe.  Her latest book, Death Rub, is under consideration.

She loves to hear from readers and promises not to stalk anyone who contacts her. 

15 comments:

  1. Thanks for hosting me, Melissa! A happy--and safe--holiday to you and yours.

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    1. Ashantay,
      You're welcome and thank you! I think your story looks wonderful. The cover is easily the most elegant I've seen so far. :)

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  2. Hi Ashantay, as you can see by my review above I really enjoyed your quirky little story. Merry Christmas!

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    1. Thank you, Val, for your review! Made my year!

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    2. Your review is perfect. It is a fun holiday read. Look forward to reading more from Ashantay!

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  3. This sounds really good. I love RS, and Wild Rose does the best ones. Merry Christmas, Ashantay!

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    1. Thanks, Cara - I agree that Wild Rose publishes the best RS! Grin. And they kept publishing RS when the other houses said the genre was "dead." TWRP rocks all around!

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    1. Thanks, Karen! I hope you enjoy the read!

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  5. Ashantay,

    I just finished "Death Under the Mistletoe" this morning! Loved it! The perfect combination of mystery, romance, and Christmas! Now I need to take a peek at Dirk and Katie's story!

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    1. Thanks, Debra! I hope you like Katie and Dirk as much as I do - :>)

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  6. Oh, Ashantay, this sounds like a great read. In fact, I'm on the trail of a dowload right now. All the best, and happy holidays.

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    1. Thank you, Carol! I hope you enjoy the story. :>)

      If you can't find a download, let me know and I'll send you a copy.

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  7. ooo a mystery Christmas story! Sounds like something I really want to read :)

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