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BellaOnline's Romance Novels Editor

Santa, Baby

Hello, and welcome back! It's been kind of a hectic week here, but I'm still ahead of the reviewing with my reading. And I have my final Saturday off from work this weekend, before the wild and woolly holiday shopping season kicks into high gear here.

Santa, Baby Santa, Baby (St. Martin's Press) has a trio of holiday stories by Jennifer Crusie, Lori Foster, and Carly Phillips. If you enjoyed the latest collaboration of Crusie's then 'Hot Toy' will be right up your alley. This one has plenty of action, but not nearly enough romance to suit me, sadly. The reprinted stories by Lori Foster and Carly Phillips, however, do have more romance, and a Lori Foster story is always a good re-read, as is 'Christmas Bonus' with Eric trying to get Maggie back to her old self, and into his arms. 'Naughty Under the Mistletoe' has a case of mistaken identity fumbling Toni's plans for her boss. A nice collection, but not a keeper for me, I'm afraid. It's earned three arrows.

Heat Lightning Heat Lightning (LoveSpell) by Colleen Thompson has angry cop Grant Holcomb assigned to find out who tried to kill perpetual do-gooder Luz Maria Montoya--the woman he hates and blames for what happened to his old partner. While there's plenty of suspense in this one, there's not enough to convince me of the romance between this pair. Nor of the escalating attraction they share. Grant's change of heart is slow, and not too jarring, but Luz Maria didn't convince me of her emotional shifts. And, if you've read a few whodunits, you should be able to figure this one out before you get to the reveal.

Delicious Delicious (Aphrodisia) by Jami Alden is next, with the best of this week's trio. Newly-hot chef Reggie Caldwell doesn't think much of her 'stalker', but her sister convinces her to hire a bodyguard. Gabe Bankovic wasn't the bodyguard she'd expected, but she isn't too disappointed--they shared a steamy interlude together some time ago, and both have wondered about the other since. Of course, there can be no mixing of work and play. For about a minute, anyway. This is a fun story--not too complicated and plenty hot. This is what the old Bravas used to be like, and what I'd hoped to see more of in the Aphrodisias. I hope Ms. Alden's career takes off like a rocket, and that she serves up more books of a similar style. I'm giving this one four arrows.

Until next time, happy reading!

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