KISSING SANTA CLAUS
A Fresh Fiction “Fresh Pick”
Three hottie humbugs find holiday magic where they least
“Continuing the Brava tradition of sexy holiday anthologies, this trio of steamy stories takes readers from cozy wintry towns to lush tropical resorts, providing romance with all the sizzle fans have come to expect. Holly Berry Bennett reluctantly returns to Willow Creek when her parents leave her in charge of their Christmas store and finds loveâ€”and uncovers secretsâ€”with an old school friend in Kauffman’s “Lock, Stock, and Jingle Bells”; the owner of an endangered bed-and-breakfast is forced to give shelter to the gorgeous lawyer who’s threatening to foreclose in Jill Shalvis’s “Bah, Handsome”; and a woman with an unbelievable run of bad luck is stranded on Kauai, HI, during the holidays under the watchful eye of a determined cop in HelenKay Dimon’s “It’s Hotter at Christmas.” VERDICT Unforeseen romance, a dash of mystery, and Brava’s brand of hot sex add zing for fans who like their holiday reading on the lusty side.”
~ Library Journal
“A trio of treats fill out this anthology for readers in search of holiday happily ever afters. In Kauffman’s Lock, Stock and Jingle Bells, Holly Bennett returns from London to Willow Creek, Va., to deal with an unexpected gift from her mother and find a potential love interest in an old crush. Shalvis’s Bah, Handsome is the recession-influenced seduction of Hope O’Brien, a bed-and-breakfast owner, by an unhappy CPA employed by her Scroogeish stepbrother. Dimon goes tropical in It’s Hotter at Christmas to explore what happens when a cranky Kauai deputy police chief falls for a Philadelphia ad executive who can’t seem to stay out of harm’s way. It’s not quite hot enough to melt ice, but it’s good, disposable fun.”
~ Publishers Weekly
KISSING SANTA CLAUS
Lock, Stock, and Jingle Bells
Coming back to Virginia is not how Holly Bennett anticipated spending her Christmas holiday, but her parentsâ€™ sudden decision to take off for sand and sun left her with no choice. All of his life Sean Gallagher has been blessed with a multitude of loving and caring relatives here in Willow Creek as well as in Ireland. And though his parentâ€™s deaths were sudden and devastating, taking over the family restaurant was as natural as breathing. Holly stands before her motherâ€™s beloved Christmas shop with terror and dread fighting for dominance in her head. This is not what she wants for her life, it never has been, but for her motherâ€™s sake she has to do something with the shop. Sean sees Holly for the first time in years, but the sensation of having the ground shift beneath his feet is frighteningly familiar. He has wanted this woman for as long as he can remember, but the fear of rejection is no less daunting now than it was at seventeen. Sean and Holly are the perfect yen and yang combination. He is everything that is big and boisterous, while she takes a quiet and somber approach to life. They click together like puzzle pieces, and complement each other wonderfully.
The clock is ticking for Hope Oâ€™Brienâ€™s B &B, and it is her filthy rich creep of a step-brother that stands to benefit from her failure. Doing the dirty work for his boss is wearing thin for Danny Shaw, and knowing that it is Hope who will suffer makes it that much harder. Hope knows her brother is a rotten S.O.B., but to send out Danny this close to Christmas to make sure she comes up with his money is an all new low. So the guy is hot in a geeky-too-smart kind of way, but not enough to make her want him, right? Danny wants more than anything to help Hope out from under her financial mess, but right now he has way more carnal thoughts crowding his mind. She is smart, feisty, and not at all trusting of his motives, so where does that really leave him? Bad boys are all well and good, but brains can be so much more fun, a fact that turns this story into one hot little number. Hope and Danny may be pitted against each other, but their hearts refuse to yield to anything but passion.
Itâ€™s Hotter at Christmas
To this day, Ted Greene keeps a reminder under his bed of how wrong it is to try to be something you are not for someone else. He left Kauai for a woman, and now has the emotional scars to prove it was the worst move he ever made. Coming to Kauai for work would seem like a dream job, but Marissa Brandt has dealt with one catastrophe after another, and cannot wait to get home to Philadelphia before Christmas. One teeny little incident with a TSA officer at the airport, and Marissa feels like her entire world is falling apart. What started out as a working vacation has turned into a nightmare that is only getting worse. Ted takes yet another statement from Marissa about a break-in in her hotel room, but what he really wants is to get her alone and preferably naked. A little tourist romance and send her on her way is just the diversion he needs, but something in his gut is screaming that it will not be that easy. Most of us would find the allure of the tropics hard to resist, but add in a gorgeous green-eyed native, and all thought of home and hearth go flying right out the plane window. Ted is cocky and self-assured, but has that damaged heart women find all too hard to resist.
The holidays are trying and chaotic at the best of times, but throw in a hot guy and life-altering decisions and you have the makings of some pretty sexy showdowns. These three stories all have a common theme and time frame, but each author blesses her characters with angst and passion in a unique and wonderfully twisted way. I especially love how they are blunt to the point of brash, and voice their wants and needs. You can never go wrong with authors of this caliber, and this story is no exception.
Kissing Santa Claus
LOCK, STOCK AND JINGLE BELLS by Donna Kauffman
BAH HANDSOME! By Jill Shalvis
ITâ€™S HOTTER AT CHRISTMAS by Helenkay Dimon
KISSING SANTA CLAUS is a praiseworthy contemporary anthology full of hunky heroes and sassy heroines. Each story brought a smile to my face and a chuckle to my heart as the characters struggle through their own personal conflicts. Whether youâ€™re a big fan of the holiday season or wish the whole month of December would fall off the map Christmas themed stories seem to always strike a chord and instill a sense of hope into the readerâ€™s heart.
Kissing Santa Claus
Who doesn’t love a Christmas anthology-especially when it’s written by three very talented authors? I’m no exception; I curled up with KISSING SANTA CLAUS, a cup of cocoa and a plate of cookies. I enjoyed every moment of the experience, and have to admit I read until the last page was turned, the cocoa was gone, and the plate empty!
Donna Kauffman’s Lock, Stock, and Jingle Bells starts this anthology off perfectly. Holly is completely shocked when she’s handed the keys to the family business on Thanksgiving. It doesn’t matter that it’s part of the past she’s tried to flee, or that Santa Clauses give her the creeps. With determination, she lets herself be pulled into the scheme her parents have set up, and finds herself face to face with the face from her past that has never left her mind! Very entertaining, and with enough fun moments to keep the momentum going, this is a sweet story.
Bah, Handsome! by Jill Shalvis reminded me why I love this author’s work. Her razor-sharp sense of humor and realistic characters bring her stories fully to life. I laughed out loud as I read about Hope, her bed-and-breakfast, rotten ex-boyfriend and unwelcome houseguest. I hate to admit it, being that he’s part of the “bad guy” battalion, but I loved Danny from the moment I saw him shivering on Hope’s doorstep. Excellent tale, one that brings the reminder that there’s a silver lining to even the gloomiest cloud.
Helen Kay Dimon’s It’s Hotter at Christmas rounds out this anthology in a very satisfying manner! Hot and steamy, it kept my attention long after the last cookie was eaten. Ted is forced to question Marissa about her string of unfortunate incidents after she wrangles with airport security, so their early moments together are funny but hardly romantic. This, however, changes pretty quickly. Stuck in paradise with a man who makes her blood boil, Marissa is offered a job and the chance to stay near Ted. I held my breath, wondering how these two unlikely lovers would end up. I won’t give anything away, but I will say that this story left me with a smile on my face!
KISSING SANTA CLAUS is a real Christmas treat. I loved it, and I believe others will too!
~ Kay James, Novel Thoughts
KISSING SANTA CLAUS – Donna Kauffman, Jill Shalvis, HelenKay Dimon
Lock, Stock and Jingle Bells – Donna Kauffman
Holly Bennett was a late-in-life surprise born to loving parents on December 24. Everything would have been perfect if her Christmas-mad mother (who owned and ran a novelty shop called Santa’s Workshop) hadn’t named her Holly Berry, thus insuring Holly a childhood of teasing. Once out of school, Holly fled to England where she attended Oxford, established a career in advertising, and saved up for vacations during which she indulged herself in her real passion…art. But now, as her thirtieth birthday approaches, her parents have retired in Florida, and her mother has given her the shop and all the…shudder…Christmassy contents. Should she stay in Willow Creek? Return to England? There are many things to consider in making a decision. One of those factors might be her high school crush. . . Sean Gallagher runs the family restaurant across the street from Mrs. Bennett’s store. Unlike Holly, he holds fond memories of Christmases spent amid a large, close-knit clan. Neither Holly nor Sean was aware of the interest of the other when she was a sophomore and he a popular senior. Lock, Stock and Jingle Bells pairs two disparate individuals in an inspiring romance. At the same time, it introduces an intriguing thread issuing from an old diary.
Bah, Handsome! – Jill Shalvis
The latest of Hope O’Brien’s loser boyfriends took off with all her money. Now she struggles to keep her Bed and Breakfast going to make enough to continue with her improvements and to pay back the loan she begged from her Scrooge of a stepbrother. What she doesn’t need is her brother’s lackey of a CPA to come snooping around. Danny Shaw’s a city guy from Los Angeles not used to driving in blizzards. After getting his rental car stuck in a snowbank, he barely makes it to Hope’s B&B, where he is not treated to a warm welcome. While Hope’s ill feelings towards her brother and men in general spill over onto Danny, he sympathizes with her situation. Newlyweds Lori and Ben take time from their own cuddling to give Cupid a hand. A fun and hopeful story.
It’s Hotter at Christmas – KelenKay Dimon
Neither Marissa Brandt, in Hawaii on business, nor Kauai Deputy Chief of Police Ted Greene has any reason to trust the opposite sex. Yet when they are thrown together after Marissa kicks a transportation safety officer at the airport for not letting her on her plane back to the mainland just because her ID was stolen, the seeds of attraction are sown. Marissa’s hurry to get home for Christmas suddenly doesn’t seem so urgent. Ted worries his desire for Marissa will cause a conflict of interest. Set in a glorious-sounding beach resort where Ted’s sister Nicki is assistant manager, It’s Hotter at Christmas combines atmosphere, interesting characters, and a mild mystery to produce an engaging romance.
Don’t miss KISSING SANTA CLAUS for its humor, holiday spirit, and sexy romance from three talented writers.
~ Jane Bowers, Romance Reviews Today
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"Men of Rogues Hollow" Series
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(MM) = Massmarket Paperback