Tracy’s review of Holiday Kisses by Alison Kent, Jaci Burton, HelenKay Dimon and Shannon Stacey
This Time Next Year by Alison Kent
Brenna Keating is on her way to spend Christmas with her grandmother when treacheous roads and a skittish deer put her car in a ditch. Riding to the rescue—literally—is Dillon Craig, a reclusive doctor who insists she weather the storm in his cabin.
Since returning from Afghanistan where he treated wounded soldiers on the front lines, Dillon’s made it a point to avoid any emotional involvement. But his unexpected guest has him dangerously close to breaking his own rules.
Brenna has a plan for her life—until she’s stranded for three days with Dillon. Soon, the chemistry sizzling between them forces her to reexamine her priorities. The man is gorgeous, if taciturn, and a true hero in every sense of the word. No woman in her right mind could resist him, and so Brenna doesn’t—even though she can’t stay…
This was the story of a woman who gets trapped in a cabin with a man who is closed off from life and the world. He’s fighting some huge inner demons and Brenna Keating is just the woman to break him out of his self-induced prison. But Brenna is leaving to work in Malawi and won’t be back any time soon.
The romance in this story is touching but very quick. They pair are only initially together for a few days but in those days they become quite close. I loved seeing Dillon come out of his shell and it seemed that even Brenna was coming to terms with what she really wanted to do with her life. While I thought it all went rather fast I do have to say that I liked the story despite that.
A Rare Gift by Jaci Burton
With a disastrous marriage behind him, Wyatt Kent has no interest in getting involved with any woman, let alone his ex-wife’s younger sister. But when Calliope Andrews hires him to build an addition onto her day care center, Wyatt can’t help but notice she’s a desirable woman, as warm and funny as his ex was cold and aloof.
Calliope fell hard for Wyatt the first time he walked through the door of her family’s home, and can’t believe her sister let him get away. He’s still the star of all her fantasies, and she’s determined to prove to him she’s nothing like his manipulative ex. Wyatt may be all business, but Calliope sees the way he looks at her when he’s supposed to be working…
It’s not long before Wyatt and Calliope are keeping each other warm on cold December nights. But it’s going to take a Christmas miracle for Wyatt to put his trust in love a second time.
Wyatt Kent is not thrilled with having to go give his ex-sister-in-law, Calliope, an estimate on a new addition to the day care that she owns but he decides he can be bigger than the situation and do it. When he gets there he’s quite surprised at how grown up Calliope has gotten in the 6 years since he’s seen her. He’s instantly attracted to her but he doesn’t want to be because of who she is, of course, and also all the past baggage from his marriage to his sister.
Despite his misgivings Calliope, who’s had a crush on Wyatt since she was 15, manages to get under his skin enough and they end up starting to see each other. But Wyatt needs to get over all the bad feelings he has toward his ex wife and move on. When Calliope puts that in motion can they stay together or do things go awry?
This was a great little story. I enjoyed both Calliope’s and Wyatt’s characters and there was enough background on them both that I really felt like I knew them a little bit. Sure Wyatt acted like a bit of an ass at one time or another but I really thought he was a good guy and was happy to see him getting his HEA. Overall a great little story.
It’s Not Christmas Without You by HelenKay Dimon
Carrie Anders officially broke up with Austin Thomas when she accepted a dream job in the city. Unofficially, she misses him and is tempted to sneak back to her West Virginia hometown to see him. That’s why this year, she’s not going home for the holidays. Her heart can’t take any more mornings-after where nothing has changed—and Austin has made it clear he’s not interested in relocating.
Austin’s been waiting for Carrie to realize she can’t live without him. But when he hears she’s not coming home for Christmas, he decides to take action. If Carrie won’t come to the country, he’s going to bring a piece of the country to Carrie—in the form of a Christmas tree lot just minutes from her apartment. He’s certain daily meetings will entice her to come home with him, this time for good.
Their attraction is as hot as ever, but with such contrary Christmas wishes, can either of them get what they really want this year?
Carrie and Austin have been together for years but Carrie is ready to move into her adult professional life. In order to do that she needs to take the job at the museum in DC that she has been offered. She breaks the news to Austin and begs him to go with her but he is stubborn and refuses. They are both miserable for 6 moths but Austin finally gets together a plan to win Carrie back and bring her home.
Carrie truly loves Austin but he’s so stubborn! He doesn’t see that she NEEDS to do the work that she’s doing and that going home to live in a small town in West Virginia is not the answer. When Austin finally realizes that the job isn’t something that Carrie is going to give up easily – especially when he sees how much it means to her – what will happen to their relationship.
I think this was my favorite novella of the anthology. I really loved Austin even though he was stubborn ass and couldn’t see with the eyes he’s been given but he learned to see. He was a loving caring person and truly had Carrie’s best interests at heart once he figured it all out.
The story was fun and funny and definitely worth reading.
Mistletoe and Margarita’s by Shannon Stacey
Claire Rutledge still believes in love, despite losing her husband. So, after two years, she’s not surprised by the steamy dreams telling her it might be time to start moving on. But she didn’t expect her friend Justin to have the starring role.
Justin McCormick has loved Claire since the moment he first saw her, but his best friend got there first. Now that Claire is ready to move on with her life, Justin is finding it harder than ever to hide his true feelings. And when they both get caught up in the holiday spirits at a party, their simmering mutual attraction boils over into a night neither of them can forget…
Justin and Claire are best friends now. They’ve always been friends but Justin grew up with Claire’s now deceased husband and though Justin loves Claire his feelings of guilt are eating him up. He wants her but he feels it’s not right to want her.
Claire thinks it may be time to date but Justin is right there and he’s so hot and when she starts having erotic dreams about him it starts to be hard to think of any other man. After a Christmas party the two go home and can’t seem to get enough of each other but when the morning after comes around how will they each deal with their feelings?
This was a cute story. I felt that Justin’s feelings of guilt were justified but I just wanted him to get over them…and quickly! Lol Claire and Justin made a great pair and while they’d never stop loving their friend & husband who was no longer with them they needed to move on. Luckily some friendly interference gets Justin to see the truth of it all. It was a cute story that was fun to read.
I really liked all of these Christmas novellas and think it’s definitely worth the read.
Rating: 4 out of 5
You can read more from Tracy at Tracy’s Place
This book is available from Carina Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format.