Kissing Under the Mistletoe: A Sullivan Christmas (Sullivans Series #9)

Kissing Under the Mistletoe: A Sullivan Christmas (Sullivans Series #9)

by Bella Andre


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The Sullivan siblings have captivated the hearts of readers worldwide, and this Christmas, New York Times bestselling author Bella Andre shares the love story that started it all…

For Mary Sullivan Christmas is, and always has been, about family. And this year is no different. As she awaits the arrival of her eight children and their partners at the cottage in Lake Tahoe, she hangs the ornaments that they made for her over the years. Each decoration brings with it a tide of memories, all of which she holds dear to her heart.

But when she comes across the oldest ornament, the one her beloved husband, Jack, gave her on their very first Christmas together, Mary is immediately swept back to the first days of their whirlwind romance, to the love that would be the foundation on which they built the family she is so proud to call her own.

Join the Sullivans this Christmas for a story that explores the wonder of the holidays, the meaning of family and a love that transcends time.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780778316930
Publisher: MIRA Books
Publication date: 09/24/2013
Series: Sullivans Series , #9
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 7.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Bella Andre is known for “sensual, empowered stories enveloped in heady romance” (Publishers Weekly). Winner of the Award of Excellence, the Washington Post has called her “one of the top digital writers in America.” Married with two children, Bella splits her time between Northern California and the Adirondacks. You can visit Bella online at

Read an Excerpt

Early December, nearly forty years ago…

Jack Sullivan needed a Christmas miracle.

"There's no question that the Pocket Planner is a great and cutting-edge product. That's why we agreed to manufacture thousands of units in anticipation of big Christmas orders," Allen Walter explained. The distinguished gray-haired man who had founded Walter Industries held Jack's invention in his hand. "Unfortunately," Allen said as he put it on the table and slid it a couple of inches away, "our sales reps have all reported in to let us know that their accounts are far more interested in ordering toys like the Pet Rock and posters of sex symbols such as Jacqueline Bisset for the holiday sales rush. My company has already lost a great deal of money on several great products this year. What we need to sell this Christmas is a sure thing, so we're going to have to cut our losses now. I'm afraid this is the end of the road for the Pocket Planner."

Ten years ago, Jack had just begun the PhD program in electrical engineering at Stanford University when he'd woken up in the middle of the night with a crystal clear vision of a portable electronic device that would help people keep track of their appointments and to-do lists. His colleagues had thought he was crazy at first, but he'd held on to that vision with unwavering focus. By the time he graduated with his doctorate, three of his fellow PhD candidates had joined his quest to develop the Pocket Planner.

In classic Silicon Valley style, Jack, Howie Miller, Larry Buelton and James Sperring had left the campus labs and set up shop in the garage of a house Jack was renting on a suburban Palo Alto street. James married a year later and left the group to take a steady job with a paycheck. But Larry and Howard had stuck with Jack through hundreds of cold slices of pizza and cups of coffee while they sweated it out over their computers and calculators. They'd had plenty of failures and had made endless mistakes over the years, but there'd been enough success—along with part-time engineering jobs to keep the bills paid—to continue moving forward with their plan.

This morning, when the three of them had put on suits and ties to come to this meeting with Allen Walter, they'd assumed he had great news to share with them about how things were shaping up for their big holiday product launch. Walter Industries had been one of the early investors in Hewlett-Packard and, as far as Jack was concerned, they were the only partner he would have trusted with his baby. It had been a thrill when Allen's company had signed on earlier in the year to manufacture and distribute the Pocket Planner to retailers this Christmas.

Jack had worked too long and hard to let Allen and Walter Industries pull the plug. Even if several other new products had underperformed this year, he knew his wouldn't. Fortunately, he'd done extensive research and he knew exactly what had underperformed and why.

"The Factomatic doesn't appeal to a broad enough market," Jack said. "And the Playerphone is too similar to the Stylophone. But our Pocket Planner isn't just a gadget for men to get their tech fix with. Women will love using it, too, because it will make their busy lives easier. Even kids can use it to keep track of homework and after-school games." Jack remembered how busy his mother had been raising four boys while putting in part-time hours at the school district office. She would have loved having his invention at her disposal to keep track of household purchases and school schedules. His father would have used it to track his favorite sports teams and investments.

"I don't doubt that you're right, Jack," Allen agreed. "The problem isn't whether or not people will enjoy using your invention. I'm sure they would. The issue is getting the retailers to stock it in the first place. Between rising inflation and slowing economic growth, we're finding it more and more difficult to get stores to give a new product a chance. They truly have to believe that people will want to part with their hard-earned dollars to buy it."

Jack could see his partners, Larry and Howie, deflating more and more with every word out of the chairman's mouth. But it would take a heck of a lot more than a couple of lukewarm sentences to make a Sullivan give up.

"We appreciate your concerns, Allen, and would like to come back in twenty-four hours with a marketing and publicity plan that will convince you that our invention can be extremely profitable for your retailers."

Howie shot Jack a look that he could read without needing to hear him speak aloud: Why are you volunteering to come up with a marketing plan? We're engineers, not PR people.

Larry's expression was even easier to read: it's over.

Allen shook his head. "I admire the work you've put into this, Jack, but times have changed—too fast, if you ask me. People aren't interested in wholesome or helpful anymore." He picked up the Pocket Planner again. "Tell you what—if you can figure out a way to give this device sex appeal we may be able to continue the conversation."

Jack could have easily proved its usefulness. And he could have definitely detailed its time-saving benefits.

But sex appeal?

Even Jack knew when he was staring straight into a dead end.

Still, he'd bought them twenty-four hours. Now it was time to use those hours to make absolutely sure he and his two partners came up with something big enough, reassuring enough, and "sexy" enough, that the retailers couldn't say no.

Careful not to let his doubts show, Jack stood up to shake hands with Allen and the other board members. Then the clock began to tick.

In silence Jack and his two partners took the elevator down from the twentieth floor to the lobby. None of them said a word until they'd stepped out of the large glass doors and onto the sidewalk. Ten in the morning was a busy time of day in San Francisco's Financial District and they had to speak loudly to be heard over the noise of the traffic and the suited businessmen and women rushing around them.

"How are we supposed to give the Pocket Planner sex appeal?" Howie asked, clearly frustrated.

"If we could have gotten it out two years ago, before the economy started to tank, the retailers would have taken it on without blinking." Larry's mouth was turned down at the corners as he spoke. He was a genius, but more than once he'd reminded Jack of Eeyore, the morose donkey from the children's books his mother had read to him when he was a young boy. "But now? It will take a miracle to convince them to stock it."

Howie was the realist. Larry was the pessimist. And Jack was the energy that kept their inventive and brilliant motors running, no matter what.

"The three of us are going to grab a cup of coffee and start brainstorming."

They'd been planning to pop open champagne right now, not down more java. Jack pushed the thought away to focus on the problem at hand: making their device "sexy," not only for men, but for women, too.

Of all the problems Jack had faced over the past decade, worrying about sex hadn't been one of them. He had a great appreciation for women. He liked to watch them move, liked to feel them soft and warm beneath him and enjoyed the way their minds worked. And yet, just as eating and sleeping had always played second fiddle to his work, so had women and sex.

Larry sighed as they got off the trolley and rounded the corner into Union Square, which was fully decorated with lights in every store window and huge green wreaths hung from the lampposts. "If we can't convince the retailers to carry our product this Christmas, we'll officially be out of money. And I'm getting too old to keep living on the edge of completely broke like this, guys."

Howie gestured toward the center of Union Square, where there was a portable trailer on the corner. Several large lighting rigs had been set up around the area to shine down on the snow that had been brought in for the scene. Flakes of fresh snow fell from another rig positioned above the brightly lit stage.

"Imagine having the funds to put something like this together to sell our invention."

Their usual coffee place was just ahead but, instead of heading inside, Jack detoured toward the crosswalk.

"Where are you going?" Howie asked.

"To take a closer look."

Larry was right. They'd need a miracle in the next twenty-four hours to keep their dream alive. Jack knew it wouldn't be the end of the world if they didn't make this deal. He'd easily be able to get a job working for one of the high-tech companies in Silicon Valley. But he'd never wanted to work for anyone else. And just as this snowy scene in the middle of San Francisco had been some director's impossible vision, Jack wanted to see his own impossible vision come to life, too.

A sixth sense had him moving quickly toward the Union Square set. He didn't know exactly what he was going to learn by watching the filming of a movie or commercial. It was just that today he needed to witness fantasy become reality.

Turning up the collars of their suit jackets, and shoving their hands deep into their pockets to try to keep warm against the strong Bay breeze that whipped between the tall buildings, the three men crossed at a busy corner. They had just stepped up onto the sidewalk when the door to the trailer opened.

And the most beautiful woman in the world stepped out.

Jack stopped so suddenly that Howie and Larry both barreled hard into his back and a car rounding the corner nearly knocked them down.

Glossy, straight dark brown hair moved over shoulders covered in red velvet. Soft fabric clung to a perfect hourglass figure and swirled seductively around an incredible pair of legs, made even sleeker by extremely high heels. Long, elegant fingers were painted red to match the dress and the full lips that were curving up into a smile.

The woman on the Union Square set wasn't only the most beautiful woman Jack had ever seen, she was also the most vibrant. As she took her place on set beneath the lights the photographer began taking pictures of her. Though Jack didn't know what it was she was selling, he wanted it anyway.

And her.

He wanted her, too.

"My girlfriend is never going to believe it when I tell her I saw Mary Ferrer live and in the flesh." Howie's expression was starstruck.

Larry's eyebrows went up. "You know her name?"

"She's on the covers of a bunch of magazines Layla has lying around in the living room. Hard to believe it, but Mary Ferrer is actually better looking in person."

Men, women and kids of all ages stopped what they were doing in the middle of downtown San Francisco to watch the beautiful model pose for pictures. As she smiled, flirted and laughed for the camera, she was sexy without being too sexy, sweet without being too sweet.

A little girl broke free from her mother's hand and barreled onto the set with a squeal of joy. The model scooped the girl up into her arms with a laugh and the two of them chatted cheerfully until her mother rushed up to take her daughter back. Jack couldn't hear what they were saying, but he could see that Mary was waving away the woman's apologies without a second thought.

That was when something inside Jack's chest twisted tight…and he immediately knew why.

"She's the answer to our problems."

But what he felt when he looked at the beautiful stranger didn't just come from thinking she could be the perfect spokesperson for their invention. Jack was a scientist who believed in what he could prove with numbers and calculations and wires and chips hooked together. At the same time, he'd been following a dream long enough to understand that passion lay beneath it all.

Suddenly he had to ask himself, was love at first sight actually possible?

Larry and Howie had turned to stare at him as if he'd lost his mind. "How on earth could that gorgeous creature have anything to do with our problems?"

"Our device needs sex appeal. She's got plenty of that. But we also need someone to represent it who will appeal to the broadest possible market." He could see it all so clearly, just as clear as his first vision had been ten years ago. They would need both still shots and live commercials of her holding the Pocket Planner. Because people wouldn't be able to take their eyes off her, they also wouldn't miss the product she was selling. He gestured at the large crowd of men and women, boys and girls of all ages. "Everyone is clearly mesmerized. Even two-year-olds can't resist her."

"Okay," Howie said slowly, "you're making some good points. But how are you going to convince Mary Ferrer to work with us? Especially since she has to be one of the most expensive models in the world and our budget at this point barely covers our coffee."

"Don't worry," Jack said. "I'll convince her."

Howie and Larry looked at each other with raised eyebrows, but neither of them expressed another doubt. Both of them knew that when Jack Sullivan decided to make something happen, it always did.

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Kissing under the Mistletoe: A Sullivan Christmas 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 77 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you have read the series is is just the next chapter. Taking you back to how it all began, Jack and Mary's love story had me hooked and I couldn't put the book down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
## SWEET. Really sweet. Jack was amazing. As was Mary. There wasn't much conflict in this book. It was pretty much love at first sight and there were some really tender moments. A bit repetitive at times, ergo 4 stars. However, this Sullivan series is so amazing that I can forgive any minor flaws. Please do yourself a favor and read all of them. They are worth every penny.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was a little disappointed with mary and jacks story. But i loved the rest of the serires
KittyKelly28 More than 1 year ago
As posted on The Smutty Kitty reviewed by KittyKelly 4.5 out of 5 Licks I admit I was a little nervous to read this one. I devoured the previous Sullivan books and I was afraid that Mary and Jack's book wouldn't live up to the story already in my mind. Thankfully I was wrong. While I did find the book dragging a bit at times, overall it was the perfect love story for them. Knowing Jack's fate did make the book harder for me to read, but it made me love him more than I already did (which I wasn't sure was possible). The book leans a little more on the sweeter side than smutty, but there were some pretty steamy sex scenes between these two. I found myself starting to cry multiple times while reading this one-particularly right at the beginning. I'm not sure a sweeter man ever excited than Jack Sullivan. He wanted Mary more than he had ever wanted anything else in the world, yet he still put his own wants aside to give her everything she could have ever wanted. The only thing that would have made this better for me would have been adding in the rest of her family arriving at the end, but that's because I am a series whore and I never want them to end. lol While I would recommend reading the other books in this series first, I don't think you are missing anything if you don't. This story is all about Mary and Jack and so worth the read!
WhiskySkye More than 1 year ago
The latest in the Sullivan Family is another hit! If you haven't read these...DO IT NOW! I read it in one sitting..... why pay attention at work? Jack and Mary set the stage for a great family. (And Bella Andre's characters speak with incredible voice.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have to admit to being a bit disappointed. I know that everyone wanted to know Jack and Mary's story, but I always felt that Mary was much more important that Jack to the series, since she raised them mostly alone all those years. In the last couple of books, the author hinted that Mary may have found a new love and I was hoping it was true. But in the end, she hadn't gotten her second chance, and that made me sad.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Seems like every turn of the page was 2 pages so not real sure how long the book actually is... way too long in my opinion. This book read like someone telling the story in a dispassionate voice and using way to many words to get to the point... And what was the point, anyway?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow! This was a fantastic Christmas story. I loved reading about the Sullivan family and how the parents met. I'd never read any books in this series, but I hooked now. I want to read more about the children of these two amazing people. So glad I heard about it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow! This was a fantastic Christmas story. I loved reading about the Sullivan family and how the parents met. I'd never read any books in this series, but I hooked now. I want to read more about the children of these two amazing people. So glad I heard about it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good story about falling in love at first sight
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RtBBlog More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Jen Book provided by NetGalley for review Review originally posted at Romancing the Book I’ve been a huge fan of this series for years and have watched all eight of the Sullivan kids find love. And I’ve always been kind of curious about their parent’s story since throughout the books it is obvious how much the siblings love their mother and miss their father. This book is technically number ten in the series, however it really is a prequel. The kids are mentioned at the beginning and end of the story, but most of the book is Mary’s flashback to when she met and fell in love with Jack. The book does stand alone, but will most definitely be more satisfying if you’d read other books in the series first. So, Mary and Jack. She’s a world famous model and he’s a small-time inventor. They happen to meet on the day she was to retire from modeling. He talks her into becoming the spokesperson for his invention that he wants to get on the market for the holiday season. She says yes, but doesn’t want to mix business and pleasure even though there is this spark of attraction between them. But of course, since we already know that they fell in love and had eight kids, the thrill is learning how they’ve get to their happily ever after. I had to keep a box of tissue handy for this book. Mary and Jack just broke my heart with all they had to overcome to get together and then knowing that they only had a limited time together. Between their careers, a family illness, miscommunication, well, their road to happily ever after was not smooth. But I was riveted to the pages and couldn’t wait to see what would happen next. I loved every minute of this story. It was an emotional ride that I highly recommend everyone to enjoy. And I can’t wait to see what’s next from the Sullivan family!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
wulfpakgal More than 1 year ago
Bella Andre did it again! I was hesitant on reading this story after having read all of the others, but I'm so glad that I did. My only complaint is that I wish it were longer. Now I am anxiously waiting for the next one! I guess I'll just go back and start reading the Sullivans Series again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So happy to read how it all started with Jack and Mary. Couldn't help but feel a bit sad because I knew how it ended, but was a heartwarming read! Don't miss this one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the Sullivans and have read all this series to date. Can't wait for the next one to come out. Could do without so much of the sex telling and they all make love the same - what's with that? Otherwise, fell in love with the characters and just had to read them all, one after another. Great series!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all the whole Sullivan series but one, I skipped Lori to read Mary & Jack's love story, it truly was a LOVE story. I have enjoyed all of them but this was the best, Jack & Mary truly ex-perienced what love should be all about. I am now going to read Lori's story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book it was the best one anyway i think it was Read it twice THANK YOU SO MUCH
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the 1st 8 Sullivan stories and each one would become my new favorite! But then to read Mary & Jack's story and see where it all began, I have an all-time favorite now! Fabulous story even though I wish Jack was still alive!
Lisascrapbooker More than 1 year ago
Jack Sullivan is an inventor with a PhD in electrical engineering. He is very handsome, kind, understanding and is a great listener. He comes from a very close knit family.  He is driven to get his Pocket Planner on the market. He has been focused for 10 years designing and refining the device with two friends. They are given 24 hours to find a way to convince retailers, with a publicity and marketing plan, that their device will be very profitable.  Mary Ferrer is from Rome, Italy and is a world class supermodel. She left home at 19 to follow her dream to model and has not returned in 13 years. She is estranged from her parents and is an only child. She is smart, independent, cynical and wondering what to do with the rest of her life.  Their meeting was serendipitous. Jack asked her to help them with the marketing and publicity for the Pocket Planner and she agrees. As they travel the road to love they have a deep attraction to each other that Jack agrees to control it until they finish the campaign. They find themselves becoming closer and closer, each sharing thoughts and feelings they had never shared with anyone else. This is a charming, heartwarming and thoroughly delightful story. This is the tenth book in the series about the Sullivan’s, I have catching up to do!  I received an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
debyhyland More than 1 year ago
I have heard about the Sullivan books before, but this was my first read in the series. Let me tell you, I started with the right book! I really like the idea of beginning with the love story of the parents, and then finding out how their influence affected their children’s love stories. I knew that I was going to love this story from the prologue, and I’m sure that if you are a mom like me, who loves a warm happy story, you would agree that watching this mom unwrap Christmas ornaments and remembering Christmases past really hits home, but it was the last line that gave me that “wow” feeling... “And as Mary closed her eyes to savor her memories of falling in love with Jack Sullivan, the first snowflakes of winter began to fall...” (Andre, location 146) This story was the absolute perfect example of love at first sight, and two people who were completely meant to be. You could feel the sizzle right through the pages, even without the bedroom scenes. I appreciated that even though these two people were made for each other, they still had to overcome insecurities from the past, as well as doubts because everything seemed too perfect. Kissing Under the Mistletoe takes readers from California to Italy on a journey of true love that made not only a couple, but a family. I am excited to return to the Sullivan’s and meet the children of Jack and Mary. With an example like this couple, I’m sure that there is much more love in those pages.
smallandwise More than 1 year ago
I love all of the stories.  But Jack and Mary is truly my absolute favorite.  I fell in love with Jack myself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago