This time out, I have a couple holiday anthologies to share with you, both available now, and just the thing to steam up your reading material while getting you started on thinking about those upcoming holidays.
Red Hot Santa (Ballantine) features stories by Cherry Adair, Leanne Banks, Pamela Britton and Kelsey Roberts. Leading things off is "Snowball's Chance" by Cherry Adair, with a sexy bodyguard sent out into a holiday blizzard to protect Kendall from a man bent on killing her. A little difficult to believe in a few spots, but still steamy, and a nice, quick story to tide you over till her next book. Leanne Banks's "Santa Slave" is next. Much as I love Ms. Banks's stories, this one wasn't steamy enough for me, and really felt like it needed more page time to fully tell the story of Hilary offering herself into human bondage to try to find her best friend, and being rescued by bodyguard Rick. Next is Pamela Britton's "Big, Bad Santa" with veterinarian Kaitlyn shocked when her clinic is attacked, and even more shocked to find herself on the run with studly bodyguard Chance. This one more than lives up to the "Red Hot" in the title of the anthology, though the beginning is a little jarring. Finally, Kelsey Roberts's "Killer Christmas" rounds things out with Meghan Beckham's store and life under threat in the busiest season of the year, and her unwanted bodyguard Jack trying to save the day. Something about the tone of this one rubbed me in entirely the wrong way, and the heroine isn't very likeable. All in all, though, the anthology is a great way to pass a few hours on a cold, windy day, and, just for the Adair and Britton stories, this one's getting four of Cupid's five arrows.
The Night Before Christmas (Brava) has stories by some of my favorite authors, and starts off with Lori Foster's "White Knight Christmas", with cop Parker Ross ready to settle into his apartment to wait out the holiday season, but sexy neighbor Lily won't let him. Though Ms. Foster is an auto-buy for me, this one was just okay. I didn't love either character, and wanted more time for the story. Erin McCarthy's "Snowed Under" has Claire Robbins stranded at her brother's apartment, only so is his hunky best friend Justin, who's always been off-limits. Until now. This one is funny, and as steamy as you could want. Jill Shalvis's "Ms. Humbug" features Cami fighting attraction to Matt, her office nemesis. This one is cute, and has rather a lot of suspense for such a short tale. "I'll be Home for Christmas" by Kathy Love is next, with Rob Marston finding he wants another chance with the woman he loved and gave up years ago. But Erica's with another man now, and heading for a wedding. It's cute, and just about the right length for this story. "Seducing Scrooge" by Katherine Garbera comes next. Office Scrooge Jackson Peters wants more help from his staff, but on Christmas Eve, the only person still around is Krista Miller, and her plans for him don't include any of the work he had in mind. This one definitely has a series-romance feel to it, but it's just okay for me. Finally, Kylie Adams has "The Good Girl's Guide to a Very Bad Christmas," and Peri Knight intends to change her image. This one is way too chick-lit for me, and not nearly steamy enough for a Brava story, in my opinion. This collection is only getting three arrows.
Until next time, happy reading!