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Sourcebooks Casablanca 
ISBN: 978-1-7282-5652-8
October 10, 2023
Romantic Comedy

Castellana, California – Present Day

Katie Smith works in a diner as a waitress and Juan Martinez is one of her regular customers. He’s handsome and charming, and while Katie has a secret crush on him, Juan hasn’t looked her way. But a week before Christmas while he’s finishing his meal, he asks Katie if she would come to his family’s home at Los Cielos Cellars winery—and be his pretend girlfriend. Katie has no family and no invitation for Christmas, so she agrees. Right after he leaves, she realizes that he left something behind and goes chasing after him. To her horror, she spots a van barreling toward him in the street and runs to warn him but it’s too late. In the ensuing chaos, Juan is knocked unconscious and both he and Katie end up at the local hospital. 

At the hospital, confusion reigns as Juan’s family arrives. How can Katie explain who she is when Juan had just asked her to pretend to be his girlfriend and not tell his family? Because Juan had texted his family, they know who she is (ha!) and immediately envelope her into their loving arms. Meanwhile, Juan is still unconscious and put into an induced coma. He can’t help Katie! As she gets to know the Martinez family, one particular member captures her attention—and a growing attraction: Mateo.

Mateo is intrigued by Katie but wouldn’t think of poaching in on his brother’s territory. However, he can’t deny that he is growing more attracted to sweet Katie. As they grow closer, Mateo gets more frustrated. How can he bear to be around the woman who apparently loves his brother when he’s falling for her? Meanwhile, as Christmas draws near, it appears that Juan will be waking up.  

Yes, THE HOLIDAY MIX-UP sounds a lot like the plot from the movie While You Were Sleeping. Kate was only doing Juan a favor—and hoping that he’d look her way romantically. But the longer the ruse went on and she got to know the Martinez family better, the harder it was to keep the secret. She begins to care for the various parents, grandparents, and aunt. Then there is Mateo. He is respectful of Katie and her “relationship” with Juan. Mateo and Katie appear to have a lot in common, which includes maintaining the rich culture and family history of Los Cielos Cellars, which is having financial difficulties. She soon learns that Juan is at odds with his family about the winery’s future. And it’s clear that she agrees with Mateo’s vision for the family business. Each day Katie struggles with the secret she is carrying. She needs to tell these nice people that she really isn’t Juan’s girlfriend, but they keep surrounding her with their love and affection. It comes to a point that when the truth is revealed, she fears that they will hate her.

THE HOLIDAY MIX-UP is filled with emotion and the theme of Christmas as the days count down. Readers will understand Katie’s reluctance to reveal the truth because she lost her parents and has no other family. The Martinez family has become her family. Hovering all of this is Juan’s coming out of the coma. Once he does, the ruse will likely be up. Will Katie have lost the trust of his family—including the man she has fallen in love with? Readers will love the funny scenes of a family that has embraced someone they don’t know. But will it all end in heartbreak? Find out the answer by grabbing a copy of THE HOLIDAY MIX-UP.

Patti Fisher

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