This week, I've got the first of the Christmas romances, Mary Jo Putney's anthology Christmas Revels (Berkley). In it, you'll find three of her older novellas and a new one, specially written for this collection. The previously-published stories include "The Christmas Cuckoo," "Sunshine for Christmas," "The Christmas Tart, and The Black Beast of Belleterre," which was my very favorite of all. The new story is "A Holiday Fling," with two characters who were in her single title "The Spiral Path." Jenny Lyme and Greg Marino. Jenny's in desperate need of someone to help her village earn enough money to keep out a huge corporation interested in an ancient barn. Greg still can't forget the relationship he and Jenny shared a long time ago. Though it's not likely, both can't help wondering if they could make it work this time. Sweet story, but I hate having the bedroom door slammed in my face. The anthology is a good way, though, to get into the holiday spirit. I'm giving it three and a half of Cupid's five arrows.
Next up is Jodi Thomas's Texan's Wager (Jove). For those of you who were LaVyrle Spencer fans and are still mourning the loss of her books, you might want to take a look at Ms. Thomas and rejoice! Bailee Moore has already accidentally killed one man, which led to her being sent west on a wagon train. Now, when she "kills" a man bent on stealing a wagon from her and her two traveling companions, she's forced into the "wife lottery" in Cedar Point, Texas. And Carter McKoy is the man who's name she draws. Carter is the strong, silent type, literally. Watching these two fall in love is truly a joy. The characterization is wonderful. I can't wait to read the stories of Bailee's two friends and their husbands as well. In the meantime, this one's earned four and a half arrows. Definitely a keeper.
Finally we have Wicked Lies by Laura Renken (Jove Seduction). Julian Lambert is working undercover, but when he's caught with a young woman who seems more innocent than guilty, he can't stop the attraction he feels. It's a bit of a shock, however, when he learns she's his late brother's widow--and he hadn't even known his brother married. Too bad the fiery attraction won't go away. Worse, Catherine's involved with a group bent on revolting against the British government, which poses a danger to them both. I think I like this book best of all Ms. Renken's so far, possibly because of it's near-Revolutionary War setting. Possibly because Catherine is a strong woman, and quite possibly because Julian is one sexy hero. I'm giving this one four arrows.
Until next week, happy reading!