In Heidi Betts’s collection of holiday novellas, vampires turn to Angelina Bertolli—vampire matchmaker extraordinaire—to help them find that special someone to curl up with under the mistletoe…
“All I Vant For Christmas”
Connor loves trimming the Christmas tree, baking gingerbread cookies, and hanging the mistletoe. But his vampire siblings won’t help. His friend Angelina sends party planner Jillian to the rescue. But when Jillian, who’s mortal, discovers she’s decking the halls for a family of vampires, will she run—or will Connor have a beautiful woman to share the holidays with?
Connor just wants a peaceful, happy holiday but his younger siblings, who also happen to be vampires—rebellious, teenaged vampires—want nothing to do with their stick-in-the-mud brother’s Christmas dreams. At wit’s end, Connor hires Jillian to create the holiday of his dreams. It’s instant lust, at least on his part, and he sets out to win her over. He even goes as far as requiring she live at his mansion while she decorates. Jillian’s a little more reluctant. He’s a vampire, for goodness’ sake. What if he loses control and bites her? But his patience and his totally smokin’ bod bring her around.
Heidi Betts can tell a great story in a short format. Her characters in this novella are funny and endearing. Connor tries so hard to make a home for his siblings, who go out of their way to tick him off with their piercings, tattoos, and rude behavior. And Jillian comes in, saves the day, and charms them all. A perfect little romance.
Rating for this novella: 5 out of 5
“A Vampire in Her Stocking”
When Vivian learns that her secret crush Nick is terminally ill, she’s heartbroken. Confiding in Angelina, Vivian refuses to turn Nick into a vampire. Deciding to play Santa, Angelina changes Nick and leaves him wrapped in a red bow on Vivian’s doorstep…
Vampire Vivian has had the hots for her boss but never acted on it. But then he tells her he’s dying. She throws herself at him, and they wind up making passionate love in his office. Then he takes her home, and she doesn’t expect to see him ever again, given that he’s dying and all. So, imagine her surprise and horror when she finds him on her couch, a newly-changed vampire.
He’s pretty much a jerk about it all, which I could have forgiven considering he had no choice in the matter and now might live for a millennium. But, despite his protests that he doesn’t like Vivian like that, he dives back into bed with her before he ducks out on her. I think this story might have worked better as a full-length novel. Since it was so short, I didn’t really have a chance to get to know the characters or their motivations and, as a result, I wasn’t a fan of either of them. Nick was a self-absorbed jerk (yes, he was dying and then he wasn’t but I just didn’t like him) and Vivian seemed pretty weak-willed. Maybe if I could have spent more time with the two of them, I would have liked them better.
Rating for this novella: 2.75 out of 5
“It’s A Wonderful Bite”
Although Angelina is happy with her boyfriend Sergio, she’s ready for a commitment. After drinking eggnog and watching It’s a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve, Angelina falls into a dream where she is mortal and Sergio isn’t interested in her. Talk about the nightmare before Christmas! But Santa must have checked his list twice because this Christmas Angelina’s wishes are coming true…
Angelina’s been a key player in the past two novellas and finally gets her shot. She’s been in a relationship with her honey for ages but they haven’t taken it to the next level—marriage. And she wants to be married to Sergio, especially after she sees her friends Connor and Vivian so happy in their relationships.
I really liked the It’s a Wonderful Life twist to this story. Angelina, who likes the good things in life, is thrust into the role of an underpaid, human cop with Sergio as her partner and her love. In this alternate reality, Sergio is married…just not to her. Angelina’s a great character—a strong person who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go out there and get it. When she’s dropped into this nightmare, she steps up and takes care of business. A great happily-ever-after.
Rating for this novella: 4.5 out of 5.
Overall rating for the collection: 4 out of 5.