Naughty and Nice

This book is a wonderland of four novellas written by some awesome writers. From nice girls to naughty tales, there is something for everyone looking for a little romance during their holiday season.

Holiday Sparks by Shannon Stacey has more than romantic sparks popping. Chloe Burke is house sitting her childhood home for her parents when she discovers not only has she blown up their microwave but the electrical system in the house is still on fuses! Upgrading the electrical system is on her handyman father’s to do list but Chloe is scared that the house will burn around them before he gets to this major project. Deciding that the upgrade would be the perfect Christmas gift, she calls the electrician listed on her mother’s phone list.

Scott Quinn use to daydream about Chloe. He was sure that she never noticed him throughout high school and when he gets to her house to look at the wiring and she shows no recognition, he’s positive he was way under her radar. Of course, Scott has changed a lot since high school but still his name should have rung a bell if she remembered him.

Scott agrees to take on the upgrade wondering how he’s going to hide his attraction to Chloe. Chloe may not have noticed Scott in high school but she sure is noticing him now! He’s becoming a major distraction to her work. With friends and neighbors watching, can Chloe and Scott act on that spark of attraction or will their relationship remain professional?

Jaci Burton moves us from the wilds of Maine to rural Missouri in her story Big Star, Small-Town Christmas.

Ten years ago, country singer Riley Jensen ran from her hometown after finding her boyfriend in bed with her best friend. Unable to cope and having no family, she headed to Nashville where she found fame. Now, she’s filming a TV biography and they want her to return to the hometown she left so long ago. She’s never been back and never wanted to. Yet, she has no choice so making the best of it, she smiles at the crowd and pretends it’s a performance. One of the first people she sees is a cute little girl dressed all in pink. Stopping to talk to her, she’s shocked to learn the little girl is her ex-boyfriend’s daughter.

Ethan Kent loved Riley and has no idea how he ended up in bed with her best friend. Still, he did the right thing and married her after she became pregnant. He doesn’t remember that happening either! His wife died a few years ago and Ethan is trying to make the best life he can for their daughter. His daughter loves Riley’s music which is why they are in the crowd to welcome her home. He never expected or wanted to actually meet up with her.

Riley’s PR person senses a story and gives Ethan backstage tickets. Not able to tell his daughter no, they attend the concert. Ethan and Riley have a lot to talk about but do they dare? What if their feelings from so long ago aren’t gone? A lot has happened to both of them. Can they at least be friends again?

Moving further west and a bit more naughty, Megan Hart introduces us to newlyweds Leah and Brandon Long and their Christmas in Vail vacation. This is a long awaited vacation as Leah and Brandon weren’t able to take a honeymoon right after their wedding. Leah is surprised that Brandon and his family didn’t seem to mind considering how close they all are and how Christmas is such a big deal with his family. Leah didn’t have that closeness growing up. That just wasn’t how her parents were. In fact, her parents were traveling for Christmas as usual.

Though Leah doesn’t ski as well as Brandon, she doesn’t mind if he takes off on the harder trails. During one of their joint runs though, Leah twists her ankle which takes her off the slopes. Still, hanging out at a luxury resort shouldn’t be any hardship and Leah is positive that Brandon can find some interesting ways to keep her occupied. After all, it is their honeymoon!

Brandon loves Leah deeply and loves that she orders him around during their love making. Still, he’d like to be the one giving the orders every now and then. When Megan asks about his fantasies, dare he bring this one up? Can Megan see him as the top instead of the bottom? Their feelings for each other run deep but this vacation may change the way they see each other forever.

Lauren Dane heads us back east with her story, Believe. Jude is Rori’s second husband. He knew her first husband and blames himself for not being ready for Rori. When Rori’s first husband, Zach, dies, Jude makes sure that he is there for Rori and after two years of supporting her, they get married. However, they still live in the same house and have pretty much the same family and friends. Rori’s sister is married to Jude’s brother. Jude wants to leave the memories of Rori’s first husband behind and make some new traditions, just for the two of them.

Taking Rori to a resort up in the Appalachian mountains where they can have fun without interruptions, Jude and Rori are able to explore their relationship on neutral ground. Though they have fun exploring each other, they agree that some changes have to be made when they get home. They don’t want to forget Zach but they don’t want to live in his shadow either. Can they make the changes that need to be made?

All of these novellas are excellent. Each writer has showcased their writing styles and brought their stories to life.

All of the characters are not only well written and show a great deal of depth but they are believable and alive. This shows a great deal of skill given how short these stories actually are. From Leah trying to figure out this close family thing to Chloe trying to figure out how to hide something from a close knit nosey town, each character is unique and special. The men range from super alpha Jude to pretty submissive Brandon yet each is lovable and sexy.

Not only are the characters unique but the settings for each story are equally unique. From a small town in Maine to exclusive resorts to a small town in the Midwest, each is brought alive and you can visualize each location. They are different but they are also the perfect backdrop for each story.

Though each story is definitely a romance, how the couples interact are vastly different. Rori and Jude and Brandon and Leah like things with a little kink. There are definite elements of BDSM in each but nothing too dramatic. Chloe and Scott and Riley and Ethan are more sweet. Each has their characters reconnecting after being apart for several years. These romances are more mainstream. Regardless of how the couples like their sex, the emotional pull and the love they have comes screaming across the page.

Each of these stories can be purchased separately or together. They are all stand alone stories though Lauren Dane’s Believe involves characters that are seen in one of her series and is pretty much a what is happening with this couple after their initial story. Still, having not read the series, I still enjoyed this novella.

Together or separately, I have to say I loved all of these stories. They were exceptionally well written and brought each couple to life. I had fun reading about two of the couples getting together and the other two redefining their marriages. I can’t think of a better way to take a break from the busy holiday season than to read one of these stories. You can’t help but feel the love!

Book Blurb for Naughty and Nice

A famous singer reunites with an old flame. A couple explores their desire to be truly bound together. Newlyweds heat things up when they're trapped indoors. And sparks fly when the lights go out. Whether you are naughty or nice, you can still get what you really want for Christmas in this collection of four seasonal shorts.

Night Owl Reviews Dec, 2010 5.00