This Christmas, sugarplums aren’t the only visions that will be dancing in your head. Prepare to have your toes curled by some of the holiday’s hunkiest heroes in this hot, hot, hot collection. . ..
I really like reading anthologies for a couple of reasons. The main two being to try a new-to-me author I’ve heard a lot about but am on the fence over, or to read something new by an author who’s already a favorite. This anthology falls into both categories for me. I adore Jill Shalvis and wanted to read her entry in this collection. I’ve also been hearing a lot about Helenkay Dimon, but I wasn’t sure if I’d like her or not. Honestly, it was just a bonus that I also got to try something by another new-to-me author, Donna Kauffman.
When Emma Lafferty is hired by a billionaire CEO to watch his pets over the holidays, she expects to enjoy a quiet Christmas in opulent surroundings. What she doesn’t expect is to spend the week trapped in the mansion with the CEO’s sexy great-nephew??-and heir-whose motives are as shady as his desire is crystal clear….
I really liked the characters in this novella. Emma had a wonderful sense of humor, a great outlook on life and she was charming and spunky. Trevor was a good match for her. Solid, fun-loving and dependable, he really balanced her out. They had great chemistry and their romance was believable – a huge feat for such a short story.
What wasn’t believable was the story surrounding their meeting. Trevor showed up at his uncle’s mansion with the intention of solving a mystery that’s been bothering him since childhood. That was fine and worked as a way to bring the two together. Unfortunately there was no resolution. Or not a satisfying resolution. Once Trevor and Emma started in on their relationship the plot was kind of dropped. It seemed like the author realized that and tried to throw us a bone with the epilogue, but I wasn’t buying it.
3.5 out of 5
Brilliant chemist Maggie Bell has a knack for choosing Mr. Wrong, and with yet another lonely Christmas looming, she decides it’s time to alter the equation-and seek out someone who seems totally wrong for her. Enter Jacob Wahler, the rough and rippling contractor who’s about as far from Maggie’s type as he could get. But suddenly what’s wrong for Maggie seems oh-so-right….
It’s no secret that I love Jill Shalvis. She’s the reason I picked up this anthology to begin with. Her entry didn’t disappoint in the least.
Maggie is an absentminded scientist. This character type hasn’t worked for me in the past, but Shalvis made it work. She was fun and quirky. I actually laughed out loud a couple of times, especially when she was drooling over Jacob or rambling off random facts – something she did when she was nervous. I like that Jacob was just an average every-day kind of guy. He wasn’t too over-the-top in any one area.
The plot was well done, if a bit over-the-top. I think the cheese factor was kind of high, but it worked in the end. Oh, one last thing: I like that Jacob and Maggie knew each other from High School. It made their relationship more believable in the end.
4.5 out of 5
Natalie Pritchard is desperate. It’s a week before Christmas and she’s lost the naughty tape she made for her now-ex-boyfriend. She’s so desperate, in fact, that she’ll turn to her nemesis Spencer Donovan for help. The sexy criminal defense attorney would be only too happy to assist-but can Natalie afford his price?
This is my least favorite entry in the collection. While I enjoyed both characters separately, I’m not sure I liked them together. Their dialogue felt stilted and didn’t really seem to lead anywhere. The H/H reminded me of my children, bickering back and forth with each other. And the jumps in conversation left my head spinning. Often I was left scratching my head, wondering what in the world they were talking about – or why they were talking at all.
I appreciated Natalie’s predicament, and I liked that she decided to be proactive about taking care of the problem. It was nice to see that she had some self-esteem issues she was working through, too. Not nice that she had them, of course, but nice that she realized she had a problem and was taking steps to fix it. I also liked Spencer. He definitely had a great sense of what was right and wrong. I especially liked that he was the backbone of the company, but from behind the scenes. It was refreshing. Apart they were great, together they didn’t really work for me.
I also thought the villain of the piece, Natalie’s ex, was a bit too overblown and stereotypical. I think maybe this just wasn’t the best example of her work. I might have to try something else by her to see. Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time I didn’t care for an author everyone else seems to love.
3.0 out of 5
Overall I think this was a good buy. Even though one of the stories didn’t work for me, the other two were more than satisfying. Total grade for the collection:
4 out of 5