Three authors, three Santa suits, three hunks, and romantic mayhem ensues.
Kate Angell imagines what happens to a World Series MVP when he’s caught speeding through a podunk Florida town called Holiday and his sentence includes community service as the village Santa. He falls for Holly, the Nutcracker, and his helper, when she seems entirely impervious to his charms. He’s got just four days to conquer Holly and then speed off to meet his buddies at a beach resort partying down with a bunch of bimbos. Holly’s had such a string of bad romantic luck that all of Alex’s flirting falls on deaf ears. But he does charm her and in the process falls for Holly like he’s never fallen before. Will he be able to convince her that his feelings are for real? I love how Angell describes how hot Alex is by how ill-fitting the Santa suit is and which body parts are assaulted on a regular basis by the kids sitting on Santa’s lap. Holly may think she’s as cold as the ice cream that she serves up in her shop, but Alex definitely has a way of turning her into a molten hot fudge sundae.
Sandra Hill delivers a Santa who looks like an older Brad Pitt who plays bodyguard to the stars like Costner in the movie. He’s promised his sister to start being open to love now that his beloved wife Ginny has been dead from cancer for five years. He just didn’t expect to fall for a crazy woman in a Santa suit flashing a gun at him in a supermarket. Jessica Jones believes that she’s been cursed to have awful Christmases ever since the year her parents died at the holiday when she was a child. She ended up in a home run by Sister Clara and now her latest worst Christmas ever looms over her head. She’s trying to help out Sister Clara with her current bunch of hooligans, and Julio just proves that the curse is alive and well. He’s the oldest of the hooligans; he steals her car, her wallet with cash and credit cards, and the $500 that Sister Clara had saved up for the kids’ Christmas presents. Jessica is just desperate enough to take the gun Julio told her wasn’t loaded and try to find some bad guys to rob. Luckily for Jessica, she ends up taking Lucas Carter hostage at the grocery store first. Luke falls for the spunky, desperate, crazy lady in the Santa suit and endeavors to prove that he’s the Christmas miracle that will end her curse, that he can save the holiday for the kids and that he loves her and wants to have wild sex with her for the rest of her life. Jessica’s had such bad experiences with boyfriends that Luke’s “I love yous” only serve to push her away in fear, that if nothing else, he’ll fall under the curse. Can she open up her heart to Luke before she pushes him too far away? I really enjoyed seeing Luke take over Jessica’s senses, overwhelming her like a horse whisperer. He’s got a lot going for him and when he tries to save Christmas for the kids, Jessica is overwhelmed by his kindness.
Joy Nash puts our heroine, Casey, in the most uncomfortable spot possible. She not only doesn’t have a good track record with guys, it’s been three years since she’s had an encounter of the male persuasion. She can’t help that men look right past her to her beautiful, flirty, aspiring actress sister, Emma. She spends most of her days around married computer geeks and she’s embraced the lifestyle. She can barely survive without her electronic toys. So when Emma dumps her boyfriend right before her romantic Christmas getaway to the Adirondacks, why would she neglect to tell Casey that there is no electricity at the resort whatsoever. Because Casey would stay home and live her geek life instead of enjoying some time unplugged. The girls are immediately taken by two hunks helping their aunt and uncle run the resort. Of course Casey sees them both looking at Emma. Matt wouldn’t have given Casey a second look back home in Manhattan, where he’s a primo talent agent; but Casey wouldn’t have given him a chance either, knowing he’s part of Emma’s shallow world. When Matt’s brother Jake claims Emma, Matt’s actually glad. He hates that all of the women hitting on him are just using him for career purposes. He finds it a refreshing challenge that Casey won’t even look at him. It was really hard for me to read that Matt was helping Jake by separating the sisters, but t was nice to see him evolve beyond that to really caring for Casey.
I enjoy holiday romance stories and this trio is absolutely satisfying. Although the pace of Hill’s “Naughty or Nice” was a bit frantic, the humor more than made up for it. Nash’s “Christmas Unplugged” was the most genuine to me and kept me engaged with the sibling rivalry from the start. Angell’s “Ho, Humbug, Ho” super star stud trying to fit into the Santa suit as well as embracing small town life was as sweet as the cookies baked by the little old ladies for the charity gifts for the needy. I don’t think I’ve met anyone less steeped in the holiday tradition than Alex Boxer, but he came through in the end.
Who’s coming down your chimney tonight?
Naughty or Nice by Sandra Hill
Ho, Humbug, Ho by Kate Angell
Christmas Unplugged by Joy Nash
2 Brothers + 2 Sisters + 0 Electricity = 1 Unforgettable Holiday
Casey’s little sister Emma, having dumped her cheating boyfriend, is left with a fully paid, non-refundable Christmas getaway for two at Dutch Gorge, a remote Adirondack lodge.
Casey agrees to come along to nurse Emma’s broken heart...just as long as she can bring her laptop and catch up with some work over the holiday. Except Emma neglects to enlighten her big sis on one important detail about the weekend…