Spotlight & Excerpt: The Mistletoe Trap + Giveaway


by Cindi Madsen
Heart in the Game, #2
Publication Date: November 16, 2020
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Amara, Contemporary, Romance, Holiday

Amazon CA
Amazon UK
Amazon AUS


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


In life, there are certain questions that should never be asked. How bad can it be was one of them.

It was one thing to have to dress up in an elf costume. It was another thing to look like he was auditioning for Christmas with the Chippendales.

After expelling a long breath, Gavin opened the door to the men’s bathroom and stepped out into the gym. He didn’t see Julie anywhere. He should’ve asked if she were going to meet him outside of the bathroom or back by the booth.

A quick glance at his watch showed he was one minute past the amount of time Mrs. Trombone had given them. Answer enough, he supposed. No matter how complicated Julie’s outfit was, she would’ve slipped into it in enough time. Once a teacher’s pet, always a teacher’s pet.

Damn, had the gym gotten bigger since he’d been in it last? Funny how packing it with line after line of booths made it seem larger instead of smaller. Since there was nothing else to be done, Gavin ducked his head and rushed toward the booth with the toys.

A smile spread across his face as he caught sight of Julie. Like him, she’d been given an elf costume, and like his, it was on the snug side.

The difference was that she somehow pulled it off, managing to look adorable and sexy at the same time. The green top hugged her curves and flared out to the puffiest red and green skirt he’d ever seen. If she didn’t have tights on, every time she bent over, there’d be a whole lot of skin on display.

Problem was, the red and green striped tights—as fucking ridiculous as they were—also showed off the shape of her legs. Thoughts of stripping them off flashed through his head, a dirty Christmas reel that would definitely land him on Santa’s naughty list.

Although he’d like to point out—at least in his head—that he’d been right about the whole elf siren metaphor the other night. And yet here he was, ready to perk up his ears and listen to her song anyway.

The bell on the tip of her mini pointed hat jingled as she turned, as did the pointy shoes on her feet, complete with—you guessed it—more tiny gold bells. Her gaze landed on him, and then a laugh burst out of her, confirming he looked as absurd as he felt.

“Sorry,” she said, and then she giggled again. Her attempt to cover it resulted in a snort, and Gavin wished the gym floor would open up and swallow him whole. Julie rounded the table and patted his chest. “If you think about it, you have no one to blame but yourself. These huge muscles you were bragging about last night simply can’t be contained by an ordinary elf costume.”

“Oh, so a life-sized elf on the shelf costume is ordinary, is it?”

She snickered and then worked to stifle her laughter again. “To be fair, that little stuffed dude is creepy AF, and you’re…” A smile curved her mouth, and she sunk her teeth into her plump, redder than usual lower lip. “Closer to a holiday strip-o-gram.”

It’s for the kids. To keep from feeling too sorry for himself, he focused on that fact.

Julie’s gaze dipped to the striped tights he’d crammed his legs into.

“At first I thought the pants were just missing, and then I realized these snug tights are the so-called pants,” he said.

“Like your spandex football pants are any different. Need some shoulder pads and a jockstrap to feel better? Get a bit of padding down there?”

He turned the glare she’d given him a moment ago right back on her.

“Think of it this way.” Julie tugged on the bottom of the ridiculous green shirt. “This is at least long enough to cover your butt, while usually when you bend down prior to the hike on the football field, your booty is on display for all to see.”

“Oh yeah.” He flicked the jingle bell on her hat. “So much better.”


Cindi Madsen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and young adult novels. She sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting, revising, and falling in love with her characters. She loves music and dancing and wishes summer lasted all year long. She lives in Colorado (where summer is most definitely NOT all year long) with her husband and three children. She and her family also take their Marvel addiction very seriously, as their one-eyed cat, Agent Fury, and their kitty named Valkyrie can attest.

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