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The Mistletoe Trap

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From the moment Julie sees her best friend, Gavin, in the airport, it’s like no time at all has gone by instead of months and months. No matter how long they’ve been apart, their relationship has always been steady, comfortable, and decidedly just friends. Even though their meddling parents have hung what seems like unlimited amounts of mistletoe everywhere she goes this h From the moment Julie sees her best friend, Gavin, in the airport, it’s like no time at all has gone by instead of months and months. No matter how long they’ve been apart, their relationship has always been steady, comfortable, and decidedly just friends. Even though their meddling parents have hung what seems like unlimited amounts of mistletoe everywhere she goes this holiday season, Julie knows some things will never change. Gavin is well-aware his family’s wanted him and Julie to get together since forever, even though he’s been friend-zoned since they could talk—and he’s been happy to play that role. After all, as the new starting quarterback for the San Antonio Mustangs, he’s got enough on his plate without adding romance to the mix. But between playing elves in the holiday bazaar to nights spent one-on-one watching rom-coms or soaking in their town’s hot springs, suddenly the “reverse parent trap” they’ve fallen into is actually starting to work. But this could be one scheme where letting themselves get trapped might be way too dangerous. Each book in the Heart in the Game series is STANDALONE: * The Wedding Deal * The Mistletoe Trap


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From the moment Julie sees her best friend, Gavin, in the airport, it’s like no time at all has gone by instead of months and months. No matter how long they’ve been apart, their relationship has always been steady, comfortable, and decidedly just friends. Even though their meddling parents have hung what seems like unlimited amounts of mistletoe everywhere she goes this h From the moment Julie sees her best friend, Gavin, in the airport, it’s like no time at all has gone by instead of months and months. No matter how long they’ve been apart, their relationship has always been steady, comfortable, and decidedly just friends. Even though their meddling parents have hung what seems like unlimited amounts of mistletoe everywhere she goes this holiday season, Julie knows some things will never change. Gavin is well-aware his family’s wanted him and Julie to get together since forever, even though he’s been friend-zoned since they could talk—and he’s been happy to play that role. After all, as the new starting quarterback for the San Antonio Mustangs, he’s got enough on his plate without adding romance to the mix. But between playing elves in the holiday bazaar to nights spent one-on-one watching rom-coms or soaking in their town’s hot springs, suddenly the “reverse parent trap” they’ve fallen into is actually starting to work. But this could be one scheme where letting themselves get trapped might be way too dangerous. Each book in the Heart in the Game series is STANDALONE: * The Wedding Deal * The Mistletoe Trap

30 review for The Mistletoe Trap

  1. 4 out of 5

    Madison Warner Fairbanks

    The Mistletoe Trap by Cindi Madsen Heart in the Game series book 2. Contemporary holiday romance. Can be read as a stand-alone. Friends to lovers troupe. Julie and Gavin grew up together. They’ve been best friends their whole lives and they are comfortable as friends. Julie and Gavin’s parents have been planning their children's marriage to each other since before Julie and Gavin could even crawl. So they pull out all the tricks at the holiday get together. From mistletoe all around the house to s The Mistletoe Trap by Cindi Madsen Heart in the Game series book 2. Contemporary holiday romance. Can be read as a stand-alone. Friends to lovers troupe. Julie and Gavin grew up together. They’ve been best friends their whole lives and they are comfortable as friends. Julie and Gavin’s parents have been planning their children's marriage to each other since before Julie and Gavin could even crawl. So they pull out all the tricks at the holiday get together. From mistletoe all around the house to setting up Julie for a date with another man, they know that Julie and Gavin belong together. But they live in two different states and each has a successful career. Even if they wanted to be closer, the logistics would be insurmountable. Right? A fun loving and entertaining read, this novel has all the family and BFF to lover feels. The excitement of a new relationship; the joys of family together at holidays; the romance of being that once special person. Oh sure, there’s a twist and some denial and further issues that have to be dealt with, but it’s a romance so we all know how it’s going to end. For which I’m immeasurably happy. Loved it. Excerpt: “Gavin, I desperately need results. My self-esteem can’t take another hit.” When she put it that way, how could he refuse? Somehow, he was only now realizing how tightly she had him wound around her finger. Because she was his person. That one special someone who was there through the ups and downs, no matter what. She’d been the first one he called when he’d been drafted, and when the offer with the Mustangs came in, he’d discussed it with her before anyone else.” Excerpt from The Mistletoe Trap by Cindi Madsen I received a copy of this from NetGalley. I purchased a copy to share.

  2. 5 out of 5

    DJ Sakata

    Favorite Quotes: Julie’s dance moves were white-girl-wasted, even sober… In life, there are certain questions that should never be asked. How bad can it be was one of them. No idea why he hadn’t noticed it before, but their mothers were nearing evil genius range. She raised her shoulder and batted her eyes at him, hoping her attempt at coquettish didn’t look more like she was having a seizure. Wow, her guilt trips are intense… Seems like they should require a passport for how far she sends you. My Rev Favorite Quotes: Julie’s dance moves were white-girl-wasted, even sober… In life, there are certain questions that should never be asked. How bad can it be was one of them. No idea why he hadn’t noticed it before, but their mothers were nearing evil genius range. She raised her shoulder and batted her eyes at him, hoping her attempt at coquettish didn’t look more like she was having a seizure. Wow, her guilt trips are intense… Seems like they should require a passport for how far she sends you. My Review: My first holiday-themed book of the season and it was a light and fluffy friends to lovers romance featuring a socially awkward female brainiac pathologist and a handsome NFL quarterback. It was a quick and easy to follow read with amusing levity, wit, and a bit of steam and sizzle after a lot of dancing around and parental meddling. The characters were likable and endearingly quirky with a cute and long history as best friends since childhood. It was an enjoyable read and a pleasant way to while away an afternoon.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Thanks to NetGalley for a arc copy for a honest review. I’m giving The Mistletoe Trap 4 star’s it was a cute story between Julie and Gavin.... Happy Reading Lisa

  4. 5 out of 5

    Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews

    Kitty's 4 star review I am still not sure if I thoroughly enjoyed this story or didn’t like it. Yea … it could have gone either way with me. Friends to lovers with meddling parents seemed like it could have been a lot of fun. And, it was, until the parents got on my nerves. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the story but could have done without some of the intrusive and destructive things that they did. But, they meant well until everything blows up in their face. There were a lot of times I laughed in Kitty's 4 star review I am still not sure if I thoroughly enjoyed this story or didn’t like it. Yea … it could have gone either way with me. Friends to lovers with meddling parents seemed like it could have been a lot of fun. And, it was, until the parents got on my nerves. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the story but could have done without some of the intrusive and destructive things that they did. But, they meant well until everything blows up in their face. There were a lot of times I laughed in this story and I thoroughly enjoyed Julies brain. There were also a lot of times that I cringed. Gavin was supportive until he started having strange thoughts about his best friend. Julie couldn’t have been prouder of her best friend but, she too started getting those same weird thoughts. That’s when the vibe and energy changed between the two of them and when I started wondering when the sexual tension between them would combust and what the consequences would be. It didn’t take long to find out and ………. combust it did! Honestly, there were parts of this story that I absolutely adored and others that had me scratching my head. But, Cindi Madsen always keeps me entertained and The Mistletoe Trap did do that. I enjoyed her characters and looked forward to seeing who was doing what and why. Some of the things that came out of the mothers mouths actually surprised me. I was like, really … you’re going there? There were other times I wanted to slap them all upside the head. But, all in all, they meant well and, as the saying goes … all’s well that end’s well. And, yea, it ended well. Characters that made you both smile and cringe. A friend’s to lover story line. A hot football player with friends that are off-the wall. A brainiac woman who is as hot as she is smart. And two sets of parents and grandparents that you will either love or hate. A perfect recipe for an enjoyable book by an author that knows how to spread a little Christmas joy. Slick's 3.5 star review The Mistletoe Trap by Cindi Madsen was a cute friends to lovers story, but it wasn’t without problems. I enjoyed watching these two best friends since they were in diapers figuring out they loved one another, but their overbearing and meddlesome family were a bit much for me (and as it turns out for the hero as well). It was easy to see these two were very close friends and it became obvious though their inner thoughts they were both thinking “more than friends thoughts” for most of this book, but often in this troupe, there was a lot of turmoil about ruining the friendship if they crossed that line. Julie is a pathology lab manager who was a bit awkward, but sweet and with a sunny personality. I liked her, but she seemed a bit immature and unsure of herself despite her advanced education and the important promotion she just earned. Gavin is the new starting quarterback for the San Antonio Mustangs who is making strides with his team for a playoff run and then he’s injured right before the Christmas break he’s to spend with his family, Julie and her family. The team owner gives him extra days to rest and get some PT. He’s worried about his shoulder, his team, his career, but he’s excited to have more time with Jules. This book was filled with typical small town holiday merriment including a town bazaar they are both “voluntold” by their mothers they are working and a pageant, along with lots of family time and matchmaking with of course mistletoe sprinkled everywhere. I get that their families felt their friendship made a good foundation for a romantic relationship, they might have even seen the sparks between them but honestly they were too meddling, too intrusive, and to up in their business after their one night together. I wish they’d focused more on the long relationships between their parents and grandparents, let them find their way without being tricked I feel it would have been more magical. I enjoyed The Mistletoe Trap; it’s a fun, fairly light, holiday story. Review copy provided for a voluntary review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Silvia (roomforbooks)

    4.5 Rep: biracial Black (White/Black) mc, biracial Black side character, Black side characters, bi side character, gay side character (minor role) I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I always struggle when writing a review about a book I enjoyed, I find myself wondering what I should write about it other than “I really enjoyed it and everyone should read it”. This book was was an exceptional mix of Christmas and sport romance, plus the 4.5 Rep: biracial Black (White/Black) mc, biracial Black side character, Black side characters, bi side character, gay side character (minor role) I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I always struggle when writing a review about a book I enjoyed, I find myself wondering what I should write about it other than “I really enjoyed it and everyone should read it”. This book was was an exceptional mix of Christmas and sport romance, plus the usually underrated “best friends to lovers” trope. Julie is pathologist who lives in Arizona. Her best friend Gavin is a NFL star who works in Texas. They’ve known each other for their entire lives and their families have been trying to get them to realize how good they’d be for each other for years. So when Julie and Gavin go home to Colorado for Christmas, their parents decide to pull a reverse Parent Trap move. This had literally all I want in a contemporary romance. So, I’m just gonna list all the things I loved about it. The friendship: before it turned to “more”, the main characters had a very healthy and realistic relationship, they couldn’t see each other as much as they wanted because of them living in two different states but still they cared deeply for each other. The transition from best friends to lovers was very very gradual, moreover they had great chemistry before and after and because of this the evolution of their relationship felt even more natural, like that was meant to happen all along. Another thing I really appreciated were the characters: both the main and secondary ones were likable. My favorite one was Julie, with her having a cat with a funny name and constantly putting her foot in her mouth. But Gavin too was a swoon-worthy hero, he was charming and sweet. Their parents and Gavin’s sister were funny and it was obvious they had good intentions even when they were meddling in their children’s business. One last thing I want to mention is how not vulgar this was and I don’t want people to misunderstand. I love explicit scenes which this book had but I think there’s a very thin line between vulgar and disrespectful and not many authors can pull that off but this book had “respectfully steamy scenes”, that’s what I’m gonna call them and by writing that I mean exactly that: the hero and heroine always respected each other and their involvement in any intimate situation was always 50/50 which to me is extremely important. There was nothing I didn’t like about this novel, though I did fear for a while that there was gonna be a “pitting women against each other for the attention of men” kind of situation which always makes me frown but that luckily didn’t happen. Overall, this was a very enjoyable Christmas romance and I’m very very glad I requested an arc. I will definitely keep an eye out for this author’s next books.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Yodamom

    Julie and Gavin has been friends since the diapers days. Their parents are friends and co-conspirators of the great matchmaking game. It’s annoying since either one of them has that kind of interest in the other, but they deal with it. This year the friend haven’t seen each other much they live in different states and have very demanding jobs. They are looking forward to Christmas at home to reconnect and recover from life’s woes. The woes ? He’s injured physically she’s injured emotionally. As Julie and Gavin has been friends since the diapers days. Their parents are friends and co-conspirators of the great matchmaking game. It’s annoying since either one of them has that kind of interest in the other, but they deal with it. This year the friend haven’t seen each other much they live in different states and have very demanding jobs. They are looking forward to Christmas at home to reconnect and recover from life’s woes. The woes ? He’s injured physically she’s injured emotionally. As best friends do they open up to each other and seek guidance. And that’s were they start to face some problems. :D What a cute romance. I loved the families ! Who wouldn’t want such quirky interfering fun parents/grandparents ? All of the characters were good likable people. (you’ll love them) When the romance starts to happen it’s glorious and I may have sighed out loud. The happy sigh was short lived, tears soon followed but no worries this author delivers a HEA. Looking for a quirky sweet holiday romance, here you go. I received a copy of this book from the author for an honest review

  7. 4 out of 5

    Silvana [The Book Voyagers]

    This romance!!!! If you love childhood best friends who are REALLY REALLY BEST FRIENDS WHO TELL EACH OTHER EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE PRACTICALLY THINKS THEY'RE TOGETHER, read this book. Like literally their mothers have tried all of their lives to match them up, but haven't succeeded. Until now. I love best friends to lovers trope when the ship pretty much has never thought about the other one in a romantic way. All the little digs at their friendship that everyone thinks it's more, they always den This romance!!!! If you love childhood best friends who are REALLY REALLY BEST FRIENDS WHO TELL EACH OTHER EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE PRACTICALLY THINKS THEY'RE TOGETHER, read this book. Like literally their mothers have tried all of their lives to match them up, but haven't succeeded. Until now. I love best friends to lovers trope when the ship pretty much has never thought about the other one in a romantic way. All the little digs at their friendship that everyone thinks it's more, they always denied it and kept their friendship really strong throughout the years they have been apart. But now they're spending Christmas together with their families, back home, and well, things are looking up. Their chemistry is wonderful, they have such a good relationship, so natural and easy you will love it completely. I'm rating it 3 stars mainly because of things said and thought that I found very eh,,, iffy? They don't sit right with me, so that made me not enjoy this novel fully. Also, I'm not Black so I can't comment on the representation, but I think it could be better. I would search for a Black reviewer's review first!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kerry - Readkerryread

    Gavin is a star quarterback and this is his first year on this team, he is still trying to prove himself and rebuild the team. However when he gets injured he has some extra time at home over the holidays to recover. He is looking forward to spending time with his family but also with his best friend Julie. Julie is still licking her wounds from an ex who called her boring in bed. She is trying to gain her confidence back and thinks a little holiday fling might just do the trick. Who better to b Gavin is a star quarterback and this is his first year on this team, he is still trying to prove himself and rebuild the team. However when he gets injured he has some extra time at home over the holidays to recover. He is looking forward to spending time with his family but also with his best friend Julie. Julie is still licking her wounds from an ex who called her boring in bed. She is trying to gain her confidence back and thinks a little holiday fling might just do the trick. Who better to be her wingman than her best friend. Her mother sets her up on a date, and it goes not as well as expected. Julie is adorably awkward, says everything that is on her mind, including random anatomy facts. It leads to many laugh out loud moments. Her friendship with Gavin was really cute, and their conversations and chemistry was undeniable. Both families played a not so subtle role in trying to get them together and realize sometimes friends are the best lovers. I received a free copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I received a copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley. It does not impact my review. What I Liked: *I love a good Friends to More Romance and Madsen does them well. I really enjoyed Julie and Gavin’s friendship and shipped them to get together. *Though I thought their parents bordered on rude and over the top sometimes when it came to wanting Julie and Gavin to be together, I did really like how close their families were. It’s nice to see happy marriages and even nicer to see big, happy I received a copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley. It does not impact my review. What I Liked: *I love a good Friends to More Romance and Madsen does them well. I really enjoyed Julie and Gavin’s friendship and shipped them to get together. *Though I thought their parents bordered on rude and over the top sometimes when it came to wanting Julie and Gavin to be together, I did really like how close their families were. It’s nice to see happy marriages and even nicer to see big, happy families. It made me wish my family was as close to another as Julie and Gavin’s are. *I liked the small town and all the cute holiday traditions. *While I had some problems with the evolution of their relationship (I’ll get to that), I liked the big, cheesy, romantic gesture at the end. It was cute and made me smile. What Didn’t Work for Me: *I’m not a fan of the whole “looking for a casual fling” thing. After Julie breaks up with her boyfriend and he calls her boring, she decides she needs a fling to prove she’s not boring and also improve her bedroom skills. This is kind of a common Romance plotline and I never appreciate it. It made me like Julie a little less. *I also am not a fan of the Friends-with-Benefits plotline. Though we know that the couple are obviously in love with each other, I didn’t like that they – especially Gavin – chalked it up to just being a new physical attraction and wanted to work it out of their systems and then move on with their friendship. I also didn’t like how either one of them handled the fall out when they realized it wasn’t that simple. *I thought the book was a little longer than it needed to be. For how little actually happens in the book, it could have been about half the length. Overall Overall, I did enjoy The Mistletoe Trap. Though it’s definitely not my favorite Madsen book, it had it’s cute moments and helped put me in the holiday mood. If you’re looking for a Christmas Romance, you should give this one a try. Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

  10. 5 out of 5

    Emmy

    **2.5** The first half of this was pretty good, and then at about the 50% mark, I suddenly found myself bored. I started skimming (including the 2 chapter long sex scene), but then I liked some of the ending bits so there was good and bad in here.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mercè

    4.5/5 [ENG/ESP] ENG: I absolutely loved this book. It's not always that a book brings out the fangirl in me, and this is exactly what happened here. Long story short: we have an underrated best friends to lover trope. And so well done, I must say. The author went beyond saying "hey, we're best friends" but actually showed it throughout the story with little gestures. Even though it felt a bit like watching a movie, I still believed Julie and Gavin 100% and their chemistry and camaraderie were on 4.5/5 [ENG/ESP] ENG: I absolutely loved this book. It's not always that a book brings out the fangirl in me, and this is exactly what happened here. Long story short: we have an underrated best friends to lover trope. And so well done, I must say. The author went beyond saying "hey, we're best friends" but actually showed it throughout the story with little gestures. Even though it felt a bit like watching a movie, I still believed Julie and Gavin 100% and their chemistry and camaraderie were on point. And, oh, the slow burn! Almost killed me. I also found small details that made me like and enjoy this story even more. Like there's diversity, the lack of toxic relationship and fragile masculinity or the fact that both characters take time to speak about their concerns and show their feelings (even though there's a bit of drama, but that's to be expected). All in all, I recommend this a lot. It was sweet, funny, cozy, warm and with the right amount of hotness too. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. ESP: No os hacéis una idea de lo mucho queue he disfrutado con este libro. Le doy esta puntuación tan alta porque hay pocos libros que consigan sacar a la fangirl que vive en mi. Y yo eso lo valoro muchísimo. En resumen, lo que vais a encontrar es el cliché "best friends to lovers". Y cuando digo cliché no lo digo de modo negativo. Y es que creo que se ha llevado estupendamente. La autora no se limita a decir que son "mejores amigos". Si no que te lo muestra a través de detalles que tienen el uno con el otro, gestos, pequeños diálogos. Julie y Gavin tienen una camaradería tremenda pero también tiene muy muy muy buena química. Y omg el slow-burn casi me mata. Pero valió la pena 100%. Ok, solo hay una escena de cama. PERO, ya se sabe que calidad>cantidad. Así que me doy por satisfecha. Otra cosa que me ha dejado muy satisfecha son pequeños detalles que me he ido encontrando. Como la diversidad (racial, orientación, etc.), que no haya toxicidad ni machismo y el hecho de que los personajes se tomen la molestia de hablar las cosas como adultos sin recurrir a estrategemas. Aunque eso no quita que haya habido la dosis obligatoria de drama (a lo peli), pero no ha sido algo que me molestara.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Claypot_Reads

    This book was just the feel good read I needed. I’m a sucker for a cute Christmas story. Julie and Gavin’s friendship is what friends to lovers romance is all about. Their quirky connection, their history and their slowburn chemistry was sooooo good! I loved their extended family and the small town feel of this one. It made me smile from beginning to end. I received an arc of this book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Deanna (A Novel Glimpse)

    Original review: A Novel Glimpse Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion. From the very beginning, I knew The Mistletoe Trap was going to be my kind of holiday romance. It was so fun from the start that I didn't notice it was in third person (and normally that's a turn off for me). The humor was there and so was the chemistry. I loved the friendship Gavin and Julie had going on. They were friends underneath it all, and that made their new found attraction to each other all the m Original review: A Novel Glimpse Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion. From the very beginning, I knew The Mistletoe Trap was going to be my kind of holiday romance. It was so fun from the start that I didn't notice it was in third person (and normally that's a turn off for me). The humor was there and so was the chemistry. I loved the friendship Gavin and Julie had going on. They were friends underneath it all, and that made their new found attraction to each other all the more entertaining and special. All the hoops their hilariously devious family members put them through to push the together helped move the romance forward in the best of ways. The only small complaint I have is how LONG it took Gavin and Julie to move past friendship. I wanted more of them acting on their love for each other than I got. Other than that, The Mistletoe Trap was exactly the holiday romance I was hoping would be.

  14. 5 out of 5

    SnoopyDoo's Book Reviews

    ***I received a free copy from the author and chose to leave a voluntary review. Thank you!***  What a fun, wild and sometimes steamy ride this book was.   As always, we get quirky fun characters that you can't help but fall in love with.  I love how they been friends for so long and basically already know everything about each other but yet it took them so long to realize they are in love with each other.  I also enjoyed how the whole family was behind this, even though sometimes it seemed a bit mu ***I received a free copy from the author and chose to leave a voluntary review. Thank you!***  What a fun, wild and sometimes steamy ride this book was.   As always, we get quirky fun characters that you can't help but fall in love with.  I love how they been friends for so long and basically already know everything about each other but yet it took them so long to realize they are in love with each other.  I also enjoyed how the whole family was behind this, even though sometimes it seemed a bit much and cringe worthy. But that made it even better because, let's face it most family have their cringe worthy moments lol.    I think what I liked most about these two, was that no matter what, they talked to each other and said what was wrong no matter how awkward it was (for the most part).  Overall loved everything about this fun, quick read.  If you love rom-coms, this will be the perfect read for you. It has unique characters, humor and slow-burning romance that will have you begging for more.  While this is a standalone and can be read alone, make sure to read the other book in her game day series, it is  just as much fun as this one. I also looking forward to see who will be next. I have a feeling I know but we shall see. 😉   I rate this 5 ★  

  15. 5 out of 5

    Julie - One Book More

    Gavin and Julie have been best friends since they were in diapers, and their parents have the pictures to prove it. Though they now live in different states, they’re as close as ever and looking forward to spending time together and with family for the holidays. However, as their feelings grow into something more than the close friendship they’ve always had, will Gavin and Julie give in to their desires, or will they forever remain in the friend zone? Their parents are more determined than ever Gavin and Julie have been best friends since they were in diapers, and their parents have the pictures to prove it. Though they now live in different states, they’re as close as ever and looking forward to spending time together and with family for the holidays. However, as their feelings grow into something more than the close friendship they’ve always had, will Gavin and Julie give in to their desires, or will they forever remain in the friend zone? Their parents are more determined than ever to push Julie and Gavin together, and this holiday season, the pair might not be able to resist. I really enjoyed The Mistletoe Trap! The characters are fabulous, and I loved the budding romance between Julie and Gavin. Julie was my favorite character in the story, and it’s not just because we share the same first name. A quirky pathologist who loves to share her passion for her career and all the graphic descriptions of body parts that come with it, Julie blurts out whatever is on her mind and is embarrassingly awkward. I adored her. She is such an endearing and relatable character, and her clumsiness and humor were totally charming. Gavin is an NFL quarterback with a football injury jeopardizing his career. He has a lot of uncertainty in his life, but his one constant is Julie. He and Julia have so much chemistry, and there is an ease to their relationship. I love that they have that romantic spark and that they love each other unconditionally. They accept and support each other faults and all. I also love how much they laugh together. It’s clear they enjoy each other’s company and that they have a deep bond. It just takes them a bit of time to realize their true feelings aren’t completely platonic. I also loved the secondary characters. Julie and Gavin’s family members are hilarious, and I enjoyed the scenes when the families were together. They have their kids’ best interests at heart, but they sure are over the top! Gavin’s teammates are also fantastic and funny, and I enjoyed their hilarious banter. A quick and fun friends-to-lovers romance, The Mistletoe Trap is a heartwarming contemporary story that made me laugh, swoon, and cry. I think it will appeal to readers who like sports romance, meddlesome families, and fun banter. Thanks so much to Netgalley, Cindi Madsen, and Entangled Publishing for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Erin Lewis

    5 Star Review of The Mistletoe Trap (Heart In The Game #2) by Cindi Madsen This is a friends to lovers, sports romance centred around Christmas so all in all a win/win for me. Their families have always pushed for them to get together but these Julie and Gavin have remained in the friend zone. Julie and Gavin are friends who can pick up again no matter how long it has been since they have seen one another. Gavin is an NFL player in Texas while pathologist Julie is in Arizona. I loved that the rela 5 Star Review of The Mistletoe Trap (Heart In The Game #2) by Cindi Madsen This is a friends to lovers, sports romance centred around Christmas so all in all a win/win for me. Their families have always pushed for them to get together but these Julie and Gavin have remained in the friend zone. Julie and Gavin are friends who can pick up again no matter how long it has been since they have seen one another. Gavin is an NFL player in Texas while pathologist Julie is in Arizona. I loved that the relationship that evolved was based on such a solid friendship. The chemistry between them is strong and as their relationship bloomed, it made for an entertaining read and made it seem more realistic, if that makes sense. The characters were easy to relate too and Gavin was totally swoon worthy, romantic and a man I could easily fall for. The secondary characters, particularly the families were just as fun and I loved how much they poked their noses into Gavin and Julie’s relationship. The writing is strong, the story flowed well and ticked the boxes for me. I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

  17. 5 out of 5

    RateTheRomance

    Damn, but I love a romance with a mixed-race couple! I have read one book by Cindi Madsen before and really liked it so I was excited for this Holiday Romance. Gavin is a professional football player who has sustained an injury and is feeling uncertain about his future in the sport. He returns home for the holidays to rest his hurt shoulder. Julie is his super-smart, but sometimes socially awkward, best friend since they were born. Their parents are both in very happy marriages and decide to try Damn, but I love a romance with a mixed-race couple! I have read one book by Cindi Madsen before and really liked it so I was excited for this Holiday Romance. Gavin is a professional football player who has sustained an injury and is feeling uncertain about his future in the sport. He returns home for the holidays to rest his hurt shoulder. Julie is his super-smart, but sometimes socially awkward, best friend since they were born. Their parents are both in very happy marriages and decide to try and push these two to change their relationship from friends to romance over the Christmas visit. These two were so cute together and I loved watching their relationship begin to slowly change as their attraction to each other suddenly grows. This is a very slow burn and I didn't feel like we got a lot of forward movement until well beyond 50% through the book, but the moments of sizzle and the sweet friendship between these characters were enough to keep me reading. I have to say, I know part of this trope is external forces trying to push the main characters to change their relationship, but I found the interference by the parents to be over-the-top to the point where I felt pissed off. I also wish there was a bit more discussion about the fact that these two are heading into a mixed-race relationship. There WAS some discussion of race by Gavin's sister as she discussed being both female and black in the world of sports, but we get no other nod to the fact that these two lead characters are mixed race besides their physical descriptions. I don't want that to take over the entire book, but to not acknowledge it at all seems like a wasted opportunity. Now, to the important stuff. Holy Shma-Moly! When these two finally decide to get it on do they ever GET. IT. ON. Their steamy scenes are super hot and I was so here for it! I also loved that when the crap hit the fan that Julie was completely up front and unapologetic about her feelings. She was strong and didn't people-please. BRAVO! This is a steamy and sweet read of friends to lovers with a holiday theme that will melt your heart this Winter!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sandy S

    THE MISTLETOE TRAP is the second full-length instalment in Cindi Madsen’s contemporary, adult HEART IN THE GAME romance series focusing on the players and management of the NFL’s San Antonio Mustangs. This is injured quarterback Gavin Frost, and pathologist Julie O’Neill’s story line. THE MISTLETOE TRAP can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story line is revealed where necessary. Told from dual third person perspectives (Julie and Gavin) THE MISTLETOE TRAP is the second full-length instalment in Cindi Madsen’s contemporary, adult HEART IN THE GAME romance series focusing on the players and management of the NFL’s San Antonio Mustangs. This is injured quarterback Gavin Frost, and pathologist Julie O’Neill’s story line. THE MISTLETOE TRAP can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story line is revealed where necessary. Told from dual third person perspectives (Julie and Gavin) THE MISTLETOE TRAP follows the best friends to lovers relationship between quarterback Gavin Frost, and pathologist Julie O’Neill. Best friends since they were toddlers, Julie and Gavin never once crossed the proverbial line of friendship but with the approach of the Christmas holidays all bets are off when their meddling families push our couple together at every opportunity. From costumed elves to an evening of sexy cookie decorating, Gavin and Julie find themselves swirling in the aura of palpable sexual tension but when the parents try and set up Julie with the someone else, Gavin volunteers to teach Julie in the art of seduction, and stop her from blurting out about her most recent pathological examinations. What ensues is the building romance and relationship between Gavin and Julie, and the potential fall-out as Gavin struggles between head and heart, and a life without the game that he loves. The relationship between Julie and Gavin is a best friends to lovers that struggles in the face of denial. Julie refuses to acknowledge there is something than friendship more between our couple as Gavin struggles to keep control of his desire for the woman that calls to his heart. As the parents continue to push the couple together, Julie and Gavin are either oblivious or reluctant to act on their attraction. The $ex scenes are intimate and passionate without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text. The sexual chemistry is palpable and spirited. There is a large ensemble cast of colorful and fun secondary and supporting characters including ormer quarterback Lance Quaid and his fiancé Charlotte James (The Wedding Deal #1), as well as several team members including Jason Holt, and Coach Bryant; both Gavin and Julie’s meddling parents, and Gavin’s sister Niki ; family friend Kory Cohen; and a cameo appearance by Gavin’s ex girlfriend Kristen. THE MISTLETOE TRAP is a reverse take on Disney’s™ The Parent Trap with all of the hijinks and matchmaking schemes to push our couple together. An inter-racial love story wherein Gavin struggles with the potential fall-out of a long distance relationship, and Julie battles the heart break of losing her best friend. The premise is entertaining, engaging and inviting; the characters are fun and flirty; the romance is seductive and captivating. www.thereadingcafe.com

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lenore Kosinski

    https://celebrityreaders.com/2020/11/... I received a free copy through the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion. 4.5 stars — You know what? This was the perfect book to kick off my holiday reading season. It was adorable and hilarious, with a good mix of heart and emotion. Julie and Gavin were just gold together. I loved the relationship they had as friends as the book starts, and ADORE the way their relationship evolves. Just like in another book I read recently, I appreci https://celebrityreaders.com/2020/11/... I received a free copy through the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion. 4.5 stars — You know what? This was the perfect book to kick off my holiday reading season. It was adorable and hilarious, with a good mix of heart and emotion. Julie and Gavin were just gold together. I loved the relationship they had as friends as the book starts, and ADORE the way their relationship evolves. Just like in another book I read recently, I appreciated that they were both oblivious to the potential for more…or at least not in the spot to contemplate it, and it wasn’t a case of one friend being secretly already in love with the other. So they were really going through all these crazy new feelings together. Julie was smart and silly and awkward af, and it just worked for her. I loved that she was so passionate about her job, and that while not everyone would “get” her, the people who did would love her. I felt for her insecurities, and how her self esteem had taken a hit. And consequently I loved that Gavin was there wanting to help her with it, not knowing the rabbit hole it would lead to. Gavin was equally adorable and hilarious, though a bit too stubborn and stuck on the wrong lessons from the past. He definitely got the bonehead moment in this one, and I was pretty annoyed with him. But he made up for it. It really was the two of them together that made this book the gem that it is. They had a great report, and once they started giving in to their chemistry, it was definitely hot. But it was their ease with one another, their wholehearted support of one another that just made my heart sing. I laughed at their antics. It was just a fun read. Gavin’s teammates were awesome, and I’m so glad that there are hints for more books because I need them. And both Gavin and Julie’s families were amazeballs. I mean, they would be insufferable with their meddling in real life…and I was annoyed with them for not thinking through the consequences of some of their actions. But you could really tell how close they all were, and what great examples of love they were for those around them. So yeah. I had a hard time deciding 4 or 4.5, but I go with my gut, and my gut had a hella good time.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jeeves Reads Romance

    That cover is straight up ADORABLE, and I've read solid books by this author in the past, so I couldn't wait to get my hands on this holiday romance. But... it might just be the least romantic, least Christmasy holiday romance I've ever read. The only real chemistry that develops between these lifelong friends comes about because of jealousy. There's constant talk of OW/OM, attempts by our heroine to find a guy to have a fling with (because she's been told she's bad in bed and wants to get bette That cover is straight up ADORABLE, and I've read solid books by this author in the past, so I couldn't wait to get my hands on this holiday romance. But... it might just be the least romantic, least Christmasy holiday romance I've ever read. The only real chemistry that develops between these lifelong friends comes about because of jealousy. There's constant talk of OW/OM, attempts by our heroine to find a guy to have a fling with (because she's been told she's bad in bed and wants to get better so someone will keep her around), and only a few swoony moments. These two never feel like more than friends - or possibly friends with benefits - and it just didn't deliver the holiday charm that I wanted. The story follows Julie and Gavin, longtime friends whose families are close. They've known for years that their families would love for them to get together, but there's never been a spark there. As they meet up over the holidays, it's the first time that they've both been single in what feels like forever, and suddenly they're noticing each other in a way they haven't before. Add in a little jealousy over potential flings for our heroine and a few sexy outfits, and this relationship gets all mixed up. I've enjoyed several other books by this author in the past and love a good friends to lovers romance, so this should've been right up my alley. It wasn't. I hated the constant mentions of the heroine's low self esteem regarding sex, the hunt for a fling, the lack of "falling," and the absence of cute Christmas moments. It's certainly not a bad book and I'm sure many will enjoy it, but this just wasn't a winner for me. I appreciated receiving an early copy via NetGalley, and am voluntarily leaving a review of this friends to lovers romance.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jackie Wright

    4.5 Stars for The Mistletoe Trap ( Heart in the Game #2) If you love Christmas and friends to lovers romance this book should definitely be on you TBR list. Julie and Gavin grew up together and their families have always pushed for them to get together but neither of them have been prepared to risk the friendship by crossing the line from friends to lovers. They have the type of friendship that’s so important, they always pick up where they left off even when they haven’t seen each other for months 4.5 Stars for The Mistletoe Trap ( Heart in the Game #2) If you love Christmas and friends to lovers romance this book should definitely be on you TBR list. Julie and Gavin grew up together and their families have always pushed for them to get together but neither of them have been prepared to risk the friendship by crossing the line from friends to lovers. They have the type of friendship that’s so important, they always pick up where they left off even when they haven’t seen each other for months due to Gavin living in a different time zone playing on a NFL team in Texas. Julie loves her job as a pathologist in Arizona and on the face of it these two are very different but you know what they say about opposites attract..... I really enjoyed this entertaining read, it was great watching this couple go from best friends to lovers when they realise the friendship they share is stronger with the love they both feel. This book ticked my boxes, l loved all the characters in this book, I swooned and I sighed, I laughed and I held my breath a lot during this read and I highly recommend this book to all romance lovers because it’s a fun, entertaining story that will quickly put you in the mood for the upcoming holiday season. I received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kari Hansen

    Gavin is a professional quarterback in Texas who finds himself on an extended break from his team due to injury. He decides to head to his hometown to spend the holidays with his family and maybe catch up with his best friend Julie as well. Julie moved to Arizona to pursue her dream of being a pathologist who has come home to spend the season with her family and reunite with her best friend Gavin. Although their friendship has remained strong their very different careers and lifestyles make it di Gavin is a professional quarterback in Texas who finds himself on an extended break from his team due to injury. He decides to head to his hometown to spend the holidays with his family and maybe catch up with his best friend Julie as well. Julie moved to Arizona to pursue her dream of being a pathologist who has come home to spend the season with her family and reunite with her best friend Gavin. Although their friendship has remained strong their very different careers and lifestyles make it difficult to see each other as often as they would like. When fate, or shall we say their matchmaking families, have both Gavin and Julie staying at his parent’s house things are about to get complicated. As determined as their parents are to prove to them they are a couple they are just as determined to prove that being friends is their destiny. Let the shenanigans begin! Julie is quirky but so much fun while Gavin is the perfect mix of sweet and sexy. Between the matchmakers, humorous banter and hot chemistry there is no way the magic and romance of the season won’t prevail.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    An enjoyable and cute holiday read by Ms. Madsen about two people who grow up together but keep getting pushed together by their families. Julie and Gavin are both successful individuals, who have remained best friends, yet do not realize they are in love with each other. Neither have has luck with relationships lately, among other things. Julie needs a boost in self confidence and Gavin is the man to do it. Both visiting their home town for holidays, they get thrown together constantly, which l An enjoyable and cute holiday read by Ms. Madsen about two people who grow up together but keep getting pushed together by their families. Julie and Gavin are both successful individuals, who have remained best friends, yet do not realize they are in love with each other. Neither have has luck with relationships lately, among other things. Julie needs a boost in self confidence and Gavin is the man to do it. Both visiting their home town for holidays, they get thrown together constantly, which leads to mischief and mayhem. But the more time they spend together, more feelings come to the surface and they can no longer deny the truth. What begins as fun, turns into something more complicated. But they agreed to not let it interfere with their friendship, but you can change your mind, right? I received this novel from net galley and the publisher as an ARC. Thank you! All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Melena Torretta

    Cindi Madsen is one of my favorite authors and I was really excited to see the Mistletoe Trap was both friends to more and set at Christmas! Gavin and Julie have been best friends since they were very young. Their bond is still extremely strong despite Julie working in Phoenix and Gavin playing football in Texas. I loved that from the very beginning you could see how much they loved and supported each other. As their relationship began to change, the balance of sweet, heat, and humor was perfect Cindi Madsen is one of my favorite authors and I was really excited to see the Mistletoe Trap was both friends to more and set at Christmas! Gavin and Julie have been best friends since they were very young. Their bond is still extremely strong despite Julie working in Phoenix and Gavin playing football in Texas. I loved that from the very beginning you could see how much they loved and supported each other. As their relationship began to change, the balance of sweet, heat, and humor was perfect. As always, Cindi's writing style and plot pacing were fabulous. I honestly could not put this book down! Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for providing an ARC for an honest review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Becky Wise

    The Mistletoe Trap is a fantastic holiday read. If you love a cute Christmas read that will put a smile on your face along with a sports romance then look no further then this one. Julie and Gavin have been best friends forever. Neither expected the feelings of more. You will laugh at the antics their families go through to finally make them a couple. You will get all the feels once Julie and Gavin give in. I love how strong Julie is and how she puts Gavin in his place and makes him work for it. The Mistletoe Trap is a fantastic holiday read. If you love a cute Christmas read that will put a smile on your face along with a sports romance then look no further then this one. Julie and Gavin have been best friends forever. Neither expected the feelings of more. You will laugh at the antics their families go through to finally make them a couple. You will get all the feels once Julie and Gavin give in. I love how strong Julie is and how she puts Gavin in his place and makes him work for it. Gavin never expected the one to be Julie and you will love the length he goes to keep her. I loved this one so much.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mags

    4.25⭐ The Mistletoe Trap was an extremely inviting best friends to lovers, sports romance. That centres around the Christmas period, and sees Arizona pathologist Julie and San Antonio quarterback Gavin slowly fall in love. Thanks mainly to the meddling of their respective parents, who have been convinced for years that they are perfect for each other. And with plenty of great characters, lots of strong chemistry and sexy moments, I was engaged throughout. So, if you're looking for a Christmas them 4.25⭐ The Mistletoe Trap was an extremely inviting best friends to lovers, sports romance. That centres around the Christmas period, and sees Arizona pathologist Julie and San Antonio quarterback Gavin slowly fall in love. Thanks mainly to the meddling of their respective parents, who have been convinced for years that they are perfect for each other. And with plenty of great characters, lots of strong chemistry and sexy moments, I was engaged throughout. So, if you're looking for a Christmas themed romance that's light on angst, but full of fun, great characters, and some sexy moments you should definitely check The Mistletoe Trap out! **I was kindly provided with an ARC by the author in exchange for an honest review**

  27. 4 out of 5

    Suzette

    A fun holiday story. Julie is a nerdy and quirky character who is chock full of scientific information. Gavin is her very hot best friend. Their family is an entertaining cast of characters. The story provides several moments that will make you laugh out loud at the antics that Julie and Gavin alas well as the other family members get up to. It is a feel good story that will put you in the right mood for the holidays.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Krystal (Nerdy_book_lover_1987)

    I feel like this dragged on longer then needed. It was just an ok read for me! Plus I'm not a huge sports romance or or best friend to lover fan. Probably not the right target audience. I feel like this dragged on longer then needed. It was just an ok read for me! Plus I'm not a huge sports romance or or best friend to lover fan. Probably not the right target audience.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dayang

    4⭐️ I loved it. This was truly a feel-good read. It started slow. There was even a time when I've questioned when will this pick up, but it did about 30-35% in. I also would've wanted a little bit more angst, groveling and jealousy on Gavin's part. But overall, I loved it. Christmas is all about family and knowing Julie and Gavin's family background, there's no wonder why. I'm sorry, I'm being vague. But it's a fun and easy read. I kept on thinking that I wish to see this on screen. It's like some 4⭐️ I loved it. This was truly a feel-good read. It started slow. There was even a time when I've questioned when will this pick up, but it did about 30-35% in. I also would've wanted a little bit more angst, groveling and jealousy on Gavin's part. But overall, I loved it. Christmas is all about family and knowing Julie and Gavin's family background, there's no wonder why. I'm sorry, I'm being vague. But it's a fun and easy read. I kept on thinking that I wish to see this on screen. It's like something Netflix or Hallmark will show.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly (Kimmy Loves to Read)

    4 1/2 stars! Full review to come soon!

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