Under the Mistletoe with AJ Pine

Under Mistletoe
Hi everyone! I’m AJ. I write New Adult for Entangled’s Embrace line. My first title, IF ONLY, released in March, and my second title, WHAT IF, just hit shelves yesterday! I’m a sucker for stories with lots of emotion sprinkled with some sexy and funny, which is what you’ll find in my books. I’m also a sucker for the holiday season. It’s my favorite. Like, for reals. I get Buddy The Elf excited about the holidays and love infusing holiday fun into my stories. IF ONLY has a great scene with mistletoe on Valentine’s Day, and WHAT IF has an equally great scene in front of a huge Christmas tree in downtown Chicago. I. LOVE. The holidays.

Favorite Holiday Song: That’s a toss-up between “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and Adam Sandler’s “The Chanukah Song”

Favorite Holiday Food: Latkes (potato pancakes). Chanukah shouldn’t happen without these.

What’s your favorite thing about the winter holiday season?

I live in Chicago, and it gets so cold here. But to me, that’s how the holiday season should be–cold and snowy and oh-so-cozy. There’s a romantic spirit that accompanies the holiday season, which to me is amplified by the roaring wind outside and crackle of the logs in the fireplace. Let’s not misunderstand, here. I do NOT enjoy being out in the sub zero temps. But I do love looking at it through the window while I’m snuggled on the couch with a good book and a peppermint mocha.

What’s your least favorite thing about the winter holiday season?

Shopping. I love to give gifts but do not love actually stepping foot in stores during the holiday time. I pride myself on doing most holiday shopping online. Thank you, Amazon and Etsy!

About What IF

Hero’s Name: Griffin Reed

Heroine’s Name: Maggie Kendall

What would the perfect gift your hero would give your heroine and why?

Griffin would do something to combine Maggie’s love of taking pictures with her love of the game, UNO. I think he’d take a Polaroid picture of a WILD card and frame it for her. Maggie’s camera and the WILD card have special meanings for Maggie, and while the gift wouldn’t cost much, Maggie would see it as priceless. Or a Pippi Longstocking book because his nickname for her is Pippi. Either way, both gifts would be totally from the heart.

What would the perfect gift your heroine would give your hero and why?

Maggie takes pictures as a safety net to combat short-term memory issues. She’s also an artist and sketches snippets of other people’s lives. In both pictures and drawings, she rarely includes herself. I think for Griffin, she’d let him photograph her, give him some memories of his own. I also think she’d buy him a deck of UNO cards. Just handing him the full deck would be meaningful enough, but you’ll have to read the book to understand why.

Where would your hero or heroine secretly hang some mistletoe to catch an extra special holiday kiss and why?

In Griffin’s truck. There are lots of scenes in Griffin’s truck, and while I don’t advocate driving and kissing, I love the idea of every time he pulls to a stop at a red light that they have to kiss. Also, Griffin would hang some in Maggie’s freezer. It would be spoilery to say why, but it has to do with a funny bit at the end of the book.

Share an excerpt of your favorite kissing scene between these two characters.


Griffin breaks the silence. “I meant what I said before, about Davis being a dick and plans changing and all that. I didn’t come here with the intent… I didn’t know you worked…”

But I cut him off, fisting his hoodie in each of my hands as I pull him to me. He doesn’t falter, not one bit. Instead he falls into the kiss with such ease I almost don’t believe that I’m the one who initiated. His lips are soft and strong, his late-night stubble scratching my chin, but all it does is make me want this more. This. What is this? It’s me, parting my lips and him doing the same. It’s the warmth of his breath on my skin, the taste of him on my tongue. His hands cup my cheeks, and a sigh escapes my lips, filling the space between us when we separate only out of the necessity to breathe. This. Something I haven’t done in months. Something a little reckless, even. But mostly, something I’ve missed. A connection—albeit physical—but I feel it in the pit of my stomach and the tips of my toes. Dizzy… He makes me dizzy, and I’m a girl who needs solid ground.




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