7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
I'm not a fan of anthologies, so I'm calling this a collection of stories, and since it just happens to be by four of my favorite authors it was a no-brainer for me to pick up. Two of the stories fall on the "Nice" side of the title, two on the "Naughty," and for the most part, it lived up to expectations.
Holiday Sparks is Shannon Stacey's contribution: Chloe Burke is home house-watching for the holidays as her parents are off on a cruise somewhere a lot warmer than where she is. A minor electrical problem turns into a sexy interlude between Chloe and former classmate turned hunky electrician Scott Quinn.
This is the most traditional love story of the four and it hits all the right holiday notes as well. Stacey writes terrific dialogue, really some of the best contemporary romance stuff around right now, funny and crisp, and the chemistry between Chloe and Scott was yummy. Scott was the right balance of knowing he had become "that guy" and still having that little bit of insecurity where Chloe was concerned and she was a great blend of the woman who had it all but still wondered where her real place was. A total 5.
All She Wants for Christmas is Jaci Burton's contribution: Riley Jensen and Ethan Kent had a good thing going in high school, but it was torn apart one awful morning when she caught him in bed naked with her best friend Amanda. She ran out of town and pursued her dream of singing in Nashville, becoming wildly successful and never looked back. Now she's reluctantly back in town to film a piece for a television autobiography when she's rushed by a gorgeous little fan, Zoey...whose dad just happens to be Ethan. She finds out Amanda died a while ago and she and Ethan still have an attraction, but can they get past old wounds and can she fit him into her career?
This just didn't hit the right notes (no puns intended) for me. While I could get past the reasons Riley left in the first place (she was young and she probably would have gone to Nashville anyway), I didn't understand Ethan at all. He didn't have to marry Amanda and his claim that he never stopped loving Riley rang false; either he loved his wife or he loved Riley enough to look for her before he married Amanda or after she died. He just seemed wishy washy. I thought the appearance of his brothers seemed to muddy the waters; I was never sure if they liked Riley or not or if I was missing something. Did they appear in an earlier book? There were just too many Easy Plot Explanations. An unhappily awarded 3.
Unwrapped is Megan Hart's contribution: I understand this is an epilogue to two prior stories, Taking Care of Business (Black Lace) and No Reservations (Black Lace) and I missed both (I think, because the characters seem a little familiar, so I may have missed only one), so I'm going on the strength of this story alone. Leah and Brandon Long are taking a much-deserved belated honeymoon at Christmastime. It's an opportunity for the couple to reconnect and have some mad monkey sex, which is where the story picks up. All starts out well, but after Leah injures herself out on the slopes, Brandon notices Leah becoming more introspective and wonders if there's trouble.
I wondered for a while into the story if I was going to feel much towards this couple beyond pretty hot about their sex life, and it's pretty hot. As I got into it though, I did pick up on Leah's fears about where things were going and whether or not she could have both sides of their lives; I loved Brandon, he was wonderful with Leah and I think I'm going to go back and pick up the earlier books and then reread this, because I do think the characters were people that I could have liked better if I'd known more. I think it may have been a personal been there, done that for me that sealed the deal, but for the awfully slow start, I have to go with a 4.
The final story is Believe by Lauren Dane and I should probably get it out of the way right off the bat that this is the epilogue to Second Chances, a story that I've already read and absolutely adored. So I know and am gooily (my word and I'm keeping it) in love with them. A super short summary of their backstory: Jude and Rori dated briefly but she dumped him when he treated her badly. She eventually went on to marry Zach, who introduced her to the D/s lifestyle, but their blissful marriage was cut short when he was murdered. Knowing what a treasure he'd thrown away, Jude took care of her afterwards, and after a long, long grieving process, Rori found love again with Jude (who was also majorly into the D/s scene).
Believe picks up with Jude and Rori taking a trip away from home to further cement their still burgeoning relationship. Jude still has his insecurities even though Rori has completely surrendered to him both in the bedroom and has shown her commitment to him out of it, wearing his necklace and a recent tattoo. They have some incendiary, explicit D/s sex and he finally is able to tell her what that last obstacle is for him. Tears abound. There's no question of a 5.
Overall, this completely lived up to the Naughty and Nice name (albeit backwards), and depending on whether or not you've read the two stories at the end that rely on prior stories, your final rating may vary. For me, this earns a 5 and was a fun read, even without the holiday theme.
The last two stories contain very explicit sex, for anyone concerned about it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2011
Four holiday stories, two sweet and sensual, with love growing and flowing throughout. Two hot stories filled with domination and submission, but also filled with lots of love and romance. Something for everyone here, and lots of heat to warm a winter's night.
Holiday Sparks by Shannon Stacey. When her parents take a winter cruise, Chloe Burke housesits for them. When she tries to warm up dinner, the microwave blows the fuses, and she realizes she out of her depth. Lucky for her, Scott Quinn is a skilled electrician, and the only thing he wants more than getting his hands on the Burkes antiquated wiring, is getting them on Chloe. He had a crush on her all through high school, but she never saw his geeky self. Now Scott is all grown up, and Chloe is seeing him through new eyes. But can she ever be happy back in the small town she escaped right after college? Scott will never move to the big city, so is he doomed to lose Chloe, just as he has found love?
I liked the idea in this, that it is never too late to recapture love. Chloe is a wonderful character, torn at first on whether to return to the big city, or stay in her hometown with Scott. I enjoyed watching her journey from determined career woman to woman in love. Scott lost a woman to the big city, and I sympathized with his determination to remain where his business and family was. I enjoyed watching as these two grew closer, and made compromises along the way to make it work for both of them.
All She Wants For Christmas by Jaci Burton. Country singing sensation Riley Jensen is back in her hometown for the first time in ten years. Not much has changed, and Riley would not have come, except for the biography special being filmed. There is still too much hurt inside. If she can just avoid the main reason she ran so long ago, she will be fine. But when a small girl in the crowd, her biggest fan, snares her attention, she finds that the child brings Ethan Kent back to her life. She ran when she found her best friend and the love of her life in bed together. What she doesn't know is that it was all a plot by her friend to hurt Riley. Now, ten years later, Riley gets a new perspective on everything, and finds a fresh chance at forever with the man she loves. Can a young girl bring them together?
This is a wonderful love lost and found again story. I liked watching as Riley finally let go of old hurts and opened up to a new and grown up love with Ethan. I loved Ethan, with his insecurities where Riley was concerned, thinking he couldn't offer her as much as her career did, when in fact he could give her the world.
Unwrapped by Megan Hart. Leah and Brandon Long are on their honeymoon, a Christmas-in-Vail ski trip. Leah and Brandon are happy, and they live out many of their fantasies. Leah knows Brandon loves it when she takes charge in the bedroom, and she enjoys it too. But when Leah takes a spill on the slopes just a few days into the trip, she gets time to think about things as she sits while Brandon skis. When a game of Truth or Dare reveals Brandon's hidden desire, Leah decides to let him have control, and finds that she can enjoy it. And they also discover that, while their life may change, their love doesn't have to.
Leah is a strong character, and she enjoys taking control. She is totally in love with Brandon, but she is nervous about the changes marriage will make for them. She likes their hot and slightly kinky sex life, and worries that they could lose the spark that burns between them. She is fiercely independent, and fears that she is too controlling, but Brandon likes how she is just fine. I liked watching these two discover new ways to enjoy each other, and figure out that while their relationship may change, it doesn't have to become dull, boring and, as Leah calls it, vanilla.
Believe by Lauren Dane. Rori and Jude have been given a rare gift; a second chance at love. Jude loves Rori with all that he is, and yet, he wants to start new holiday traditions with her. Her dead husband was Jude's friend, and Jude and Rori have been together for two years, ever since her husband was murdered. She loves their life together, and wants only to please the man she loves. When Jude surprises her with a Christmas trip to the mountains for some alone time, Rori is thrilled. But Jude wants to find a way to discuss some serious changes with her, things he hopes she will understand and agree with. Jude knows he has a treasure in Rori, a woman who finds his dominance in their bedroom a perfect match to her needs. Can he explain his other needs to her without driving a wedge between them?
Rori is a strong woman, and she is in love with Jude. She knows what pleases him, and it is this desire that fuels all of her actions. But just because she is submissive, doesn't mean she is weak, and I like the little touches that show her independence. I liked Jude, the strong and very Alpha male figure, who has insecurities about what he wants for their future. Dominant in most things, I loved that he was unsure how to tell Rori what he wanted for their future.
These are four wonderfully expressive holiday stories, with sweet and lovely for those who like gentle but sensuous stories, and scorching hot domination for those who like an edge to their holiday reading.
Originally posted at Whipped Cream Reviews
on August 20, 2011
"All She Wants for Christmas" by Jaci Burton
Riley Jensen has made it big in Nashville. She had to take a hard road to get there, but she has paid her dues and achieved her goals. Now the powers that be want to film a biography on her and they need her to go back to her hometown to do it. Riley doesn't want to visit the scene of her heartache, even though she has long since put that pain behind her. Going back home to see the love of her life and her best friend just doesn't sound like something a girl would want to get involved with, even if it has been ten years since she ran away.
Ethan Kent is a widower with a young daughter who made a bad decision ten years ago. He had broken Riley's heart by being found in Amanda's bed. Then he had let Riley run away and didn't follow her because he rationalized that she would soar to the sky if he wasn't holding her back. Feeling that he needed to own up to his mistakes and make things right even if he couldn't have the girl of his dreams anymore, he let Riley go and married Amanda who claimed to be pregnant. Now Riley Jensen is back in town and to make matters worse, his daughter is one of her biggest fans.
What did I like about "All She Wants for Christmas"? I liked that Amanda and Ethan had to deal with Riley's heartbreak every time they heard one of her songs on the radio. I even found it an added bonus that the townspeople knew as well. I felt Riley was able to experience the emotions that she needed to go through via her music, while Ethan was able to forgive himself as Riley forgave him. As I read the story the old adage: "If you love something set it free. If it returns, it's yours. If not, it never was." I don't think Ethan would have chosen to let Riley go that way, but he took advantage of the situation and let her go to rise above her place in life. Riley soared without the encumbrance of a relationship with Ethan, only to return years later. Would she have become a big star if this didn't happen? Maybe . . . maybe not, but the thing is it did happen and she did become a star because of it so she took the lemons and made lemonade and he can't be sorry for the little girl that he has. I tend to think the love was there for both of them it was just pushed to the side. She found an outlet to deal with her pain and suffering via her music and he seemed to just lie in the bed that he had made and loving his little girl.
"All She Wants for Christmas" was a hard one to get past. The betrayal of your best friend with your boyfriend is something some people wouldn't ever get past. But Riley proved that she was stronger than she looked and that music really is cathartic. I believed Ethan was sorry for his mistakes and wanted to make things right with Riley. So the HEA was believable for me.
"All She Wants for Christmas" could have worked as a long story with more emotions conveyed, but I thought Jaci Burton did a splendid job of conveying what she did in a short amount of space. Everything wasn't spelled out in black and white, but the emotions were there. You had to look below the surface of the words to get the emotions.
"Holiday Sparks" by Shannon Stacey
Chloe Burke, web designer, is housesitting for her parents who are on vacation. She uses some appliances, which in turn cause the electricity to short out. Calling in an electrician she discovers her childhood home is in desperate need of a rewiring. Deciding that this would be the perfect Christmas gift for her parents she gives the go ahead to the hunky electrician whom she doesn't recall from school.
Scott Quinn was the class geek who had a secret crush on the all American cheerleader. She starred in numerous boyhood fantasies and being able to spend his time rewiring her parent's home sounds like his fantasies come to life! In high school he wasn't even on her radar, but now . . . she is the one fantasizing and flirting with him. Will the spark that sizzles between the two of them be enough to ignite a lasting relationship, or will it fizzle out when the job is done?
"Holiday Sparks" has the perfect balance of chemistry and sizzling sparks to keep the reader within the pages of this short story. I liked that Scott was in tune with Chloe's feelings and they didn't have to be written on the wall for him to get them. I liked that Chloe was nice to Scott in high school and that she even recalled a sweet moment that they shared together. "Holiday Sparks" was a sweet romance where the characters took a chance on love, pushing their pride aside and taking that leap of faith knowing that it might not all work out.
"Unwrapped" by Megan Hart
Newlyweds, Leah and Brandon Long, are spending their first Christmas together without family. They have decided to go away for the holidays on a budget ski trip. Leah is not as athletic of a skier as Brandon but she still gives it a try because he enjoys it. One night run down the mountain involves a mishap that leaves Leah with a sprained ankle and having to sit around the rest of their trip. How will this help them to grow closer together with her sitting in the lodge while he skis down the mountain?
"Unwrapped" has the characters exploring the dynamics of their newfound relationship. Leah and Brandon push the boundaries and establish a deeper trust by doing so. I found that "Unwrapped" probably would have been more enjoyable if I had read about Leah and Brandon in Taking Care of Business and No Reservations. "Unwrapped" was more of an epilogue of their story. Still it wasn't a bad read but I believe that I would have gotten more out of it if I had read their story before this one.
"Believe" by Lauren Dane
Jude and Rori are finally together. Having come together and broken apart for a few years they are finally getting their second chance. Will they be able to speak of their wants and desires to one another or will they shut them off afraid to hurt the other party in their relationship?
Jude and Rori were originally introduced in Second Chances and this is more of a completion of their relationship towards that happily-ever-after as they iron out a few more wrinkles. "Believe" shows that Jude and Rori can get their second chance by learning to open the lines of communication to build a stronger foundation for their life together. I liked that they didn't just dismiss the past, but dealt with things openly and honestly. To truly enjoy "Believe" you need to read about Jude and Rori in Second Chances.
Naughty and Nice is a wonderful read simply for the first two stories. Even though the other two are more of epilogues, I believe that if you read the initial stories you will enjoy these as well.
Reviewed for Joyfully Reviewed
on January 11, 2011
Holiday Sparks by Shannon Stacey: Chloe is back in Maine house sitting for her parents while they are on a cruise. She grew up in this small town but moved away as fast as she could to the city of Boston. When she starts the microwave in the house is blows a fuse and she is forced to call an electrician. Scott went to high school with Chloe, she was the beautiful popular girl he was an awkward looking loser. But Scott has grown up into a hot electrician, and once he sees Chloe again all his high school fantasies come back. Through their mutual attraction they decide to have a holiday fling but when it turns to more, can they overcome the distance between their respective homes. I really liked this story it was cute and very brief. I also loved the dog Kojak and how Scott would actually talk to him, and the dog was his assistant. It was a great quick story and you could definitely see the twos conflicting emotions about what was suppose to be a fling developing into something more.
All She Wants for Christmas by Jaci Burton: Riley Jensen was a small town girl in love with Ethan Kent. Until the morning she finds her best friend Amanda naked in bed with Ethan, and she runs away from the small town and never looks back. Riley is now a famous country singer and is being forced to go back to her hometown which she hasn't been to since she left. She's hoping to avoid Amanda and Ethan and just get this concert and biography done as fast as possible. But then she finds out Amanda has passed away and Ethan was married to her and they had a daughter Zoey. Riley and Ethan start to reconnect and forgive each other for the past but it might be too late, and too much history for them to be together again. I thought this story was okay, it was a little hard to believe that she forgave Ethan after about 3 days together when he had hurt her so much. I think if there had been more time for them to develop a new relationship than the story would have been better.
Unwrapped by Megan Hart: Leah and Brandon are staying at a ski in ski out resort for their first Christmas as a married couple. Everything is going great until Leah sprains her ankle while night skiing. She feels awkward having Brandon constantly taking care of her even though she enjoys it it feels like she doesn't want to. Brandon loves taking care of his wife, but knows she has a fiercely independent streak, he wants her to relax and relinquish control every once in awhile. This story is the epilogue to a book about these two characters. Since I hadn't read the book I wasn't emotionally invested in the characters and I found their story kind of boring. They were already in love and didn't have any problems to overcome, they were just enjoying each other. It felt kind of bland to me.
Believe by Lauren Dane: This was another story that had it's own book before the story. Rori was married once but her husband Zack was murdered. It's two years later and Jude and Rori are finally together. He took care of her when she was severely depressed after loosing her husband. They had begun to date and are in love with each other and want to spend their first Christmas together away from their family. Jude fears that Zack will always have a place in his relationship with Rori and that he won't be enough for her. Rori is past moving on from Zack and wants to fully embrace her life with Jude, she just has to find the perfect way to show him. This story was enjoyable, and I felt that it was okay that I didn't read the other book before hand. This book was also into BSDM, which I kind of glossed over but the love story was good.
on January 5, 2011
Holiday Sparks by Shannon Stacey
Chloe lives in Boston but is back in her hometown house-sitting for her parents while they are out of town on a cruise. Not realizing the state of disrepair her parent's house and its electrical wiring is in; she inadvertently blows a fuse and has to make an after-hours call to a local electrician. Conveniently, Scott Quinn is available and eager to make a house call. He and Chloe went to high school together and he had a huge crush on her back then. He's dying to know if she is still as hot as she was back in high school. Scott's look has change a bit since his less-than-cool high school days so Chloe doesn't remember him from. When they reconnect though, the sparks fly. After Scott's inspection of the electrical wiring, Chloe decides an update is in order and hires Scott to do the job creating a perfect opportunity for them to spend a great deal of time together and see what comes of their mutual attraction.
This is the first time I've read anything by Shannon Stacey and this is my favorite of the four stories in this anthology. Right from the beginning the chemistry between Chloe and Scott is evident and so fun. I loved Quinn's internal dialogue as he tries to remain cool on the outside, while on the inside he is high-fiving and chest bumping himself at his good fortune at possibly getting an opportunity to realize all his Chloe-induced teenage fantasies. Chloe is taken with how good looking and genuinely nice Scott is and although she doesn't remember who he is as first, I think she finds him even more attractive once she finally remembers him. What was supposed to be a fun casual fling quickly turns into something much more as Scott and Chloe get reacquainted. But pursing anything more than a casual fling is complicated by geography since Chloe lives in Boston and Scott is settled firmly in small town living.
Holiday Sparks is a fun, and very romantic story. While there were no complicated, emotional obstacles to overcome, I still felt myself pulling for Chloe and Scott to finally admit their feelings for one another and grab that happily ever after that was right there--just within their grasp--if they would just seize it! Fist bump Scott!
All She Wants for Christmas by Jaci Burton
Riley Jensen left her hometown ten years ago alone and broken hearted after finding her boyfriend Ethan and her best friend Amanda in bed together. She moved to Nashville to pursue a country music singing career and became very successful. Now, she is back in town for the first time in ten years and nervous about coming face to face with her past and the people that betrayed her. Unbeknownst to Riley, Amanda passed away and now Ethan is raising their daughter alone. When Ethan and Riley come face to face the memories, and chemistry come flooding back and they are both forced to face the pain of the past and find a way to reconcile the relationship that ended so abruptly.
This is yet another first read author for me and I very much enjoyed this emotional novella. The characters were solid and although they are dealing with some very heavy topics, they remained firmly grounded as they worked through their issues and came to terms with their past mistakes. In what seems like impossible obstacles to overcome, somehow love finds a way in this second chances romance. I will definitely be reading more from Jaci Burton in the future.
Unwrapped by Megan Hart
Newlyweds, Leah and Brandon are spending their first Christmas as a married couple at a ski resort in Colorado. While they have clearly defined roles in their erotic bedroom play--Leah is dominate and Brandon is very happy to serve her needs--they have a very nicely balanced relationship outside of the bedroom. When Leah is injured on the slopes she insists Brandon continue to enjoy his outdoor activities while she convalesces in the lodge. She begins to reflect on their lives and realizes that change is inevitable and she wonders how this will affect their future.
This story is a follow-up for Taking Care Of Business and No Reservations. Megan Hart writes emotionally powerful erotic stories and in reading this novella it is clear this couple has history. But, having not read the preceding two books I was unaware of their full story and so I think that is perhaps the reason this erotic romance did not appeal to me in the way most of Megan Hart's books usually do. The sex is plentiful and very erotic but Ms. Hart has set the bar very high for herself in her brand of erotic romance with the multiple layers and emotional depth she weaves into her stories. While this was an enjoyable, very erotic story, I feel like I would have enjoyed this one much more if I had read Leah and Brandon's full story first since I didn't fully connect with their characters or understand the depth of their relationship.
Believe by Lauren Dane
Believe is a follow up to Lauren Dane's emotionally charged, Second Chances. I was excited to read this novella since I enjoyed Jude and Rori's story and I was eager to find out what happened after "the end".
Jude and Rori have been through hell and back together and now their lives have finally settled into happiness. They are all about family but they are eager to create some Christmas memories and traditions of their own so Jude plans a Christmas getaway to a secluded cabin where they can be alone and celebrate in their own special way. Jude and Rori have a Dom/sub sexual relationship and this getaway is the perfect opportunity to enjoy their unconventional erotic play. They'll have plenty of privacy and Jude has a special surprise planned for Rori.
Lauren Dane creates genuinely good solid characters and Rori and Jude are no exception. They are such likable characters and their love for one another comes through so clearly that the erotic scenes seem natural and believable. It was a pleasure to get a peek into their lives after their story and I was happy in the way this follow-up played out for them.
I really enjoyed this anthology featuring two new-to-me authors and two favorites as well. Although it has been billed as a Christmas read, I would recommend Naughty and Nice for any time of the year if you're looking for sweet love stories and some naughtiness mixed in for good measure.
on December 7, 2010
Holiday Sparks by Shannon Stacey
When Chloe Burke blows the fuse at her parent's old house while housesitting, she calls electrician Scott Quinn to come turn the lights back on. Scott has had a crush on Chloe since high school, but running in different circles, Chloe doesn't remember him. Now working in Boston, Chloe is enjoying being back at home for a few weeks, and enjoying the sight of Scott. When Chloe decides to get her parent's house rewired for a Christmas present, she is able to see Scott every day for a few weeks. Their fast friendship soon turns to a very sexy romance.
This is an absolutely adorable story. It is a very simple love story really, without a lot of conflict. Just two people who meet, dance around each other for a few days, and have a wonderful romance blossom between them. They are both easy going, casual people. Scott has been lusting after Chloe for years, and can't believe he actually has a chance to do wicked things with her now. Chloe doesn't remember Scott at first, but can't get over how nice and sexy he is. With her living in Boston, and him living in her small hometown of Maine, they start their fling with the intention of keeping it casual. But by the end, there is true love, and a story that will have you smiling. Super cute!!
All She Wants for Christmas by Jaci Burton
Country music star Riley Jenson returns to her hometown after leaving ten years ago to film a biography. She left a young adult those ten years ago not only searching for a big music career, but running from heartbreak. She caught her best friend Amanda and her boyfriend Ethan in bed together.
Now ten years later, Ethan is a single parent after Amanda's death. When he sees Riley that flare of passion ignites within him again. Riley has been singing about the betrayal and her eventual forgiveness in her songs. Can the man from small town, make it with the big star?
This story packs an emotional punch. First Riley must come to terms with the betrayal that happened ten years ago, but in a sense, she is also coming to terms with her fame. She doesn't feel comfortable back in her own town, not having a lot of confidence. She feels more unsteady when she realizes how much she has missed, by not being in contact with anyone the entire time she has been gone.
With the amount of drama in this one, Ethan and Riley act mature throughout which is very appealing to me. There is a lot of time spent analyzing the past, and I think it is odd that it was such a big deal that Riley runs out of town because of Amanda and Ethan's betrayal, yet no one contacts her to let her know when Amanda dies? That made me scratch my head a bit.
However, I really enjoyed this one! Ethan and Riley have great chemistry and I really hope Jaci Burton writes the stories for Ethan's two brothers who are very intriguing.
Holiday Spice by Megan Hart
Leah and Brandon are in Vail, CO celebrating their first Christmas married. Leah may not be the best skier, but most of their fun happens inside the bedroom. Having a good rhythm in bed, Leah knows she likes to be in control, and Brandon is more than happy to follow her lead. As they enjoy one another, Leah gets a bit heartsick thinking of having kids. Afraid children would cramp Brandon's style, she is unsure how to bring the subject up, but she can't get it out of her head.
Holiday Spice is an erotic short story with some very spicy love scenes. I like Leah as a dominant and Brandon "forced" to do her bidding. I have no complaints with the love scenes. I did kind of feel like I didn't know this couple very well. We kind of get dumped into this week of their lives, and I felt like we were missing important things about who this couple is. So, while it was nice just for the sex scenes, I missed having a connection to these characters. These two characters are in her other two books, Taking Care of Business and No Reservations, which I have not read.
Believe by Lauren Dane
Jude and Rori want to make their own Christmas tradition. Now in love, they have overcome much in their life, including the murder of Rori's husband who was also Jude's good friend. Together they made it out of that terrible time, and found love with each other. Jude is a dominant, and Rori loves to be topped by him. As a gift, Jude takes Rori to a resort, where they will have days of uninterrupted naughty play, and a time to make a Christmas memory of their own.
Believe is the most naughtiest of the stories in this anthology. Lauren Dane has such a way with words. Her descriptions are so vivid and raw. It makes for an extremely sensual book. This is an excellent erotic story of two people in love, who have moved past horror in their lives and just enjoy the time spent with one another. There isn't conflict, just the two of them experiencing the love they share for one another. It is very sexy, and I loved both Jude and Rori. It is an epilogue to her previous book, Second Chances, which I have not read and but had no problems following this short story.
I am very impressed with this anthology! Even for those who shy away from anthology books, I definitely recommend this one.
on July 13, 2014
When I seen Lauren Dane & Jaci Burton in this set I wanted to read it. My favorite book in this set is All She Wants For Christmas. I loved how Riley & Ethan were able to come to terms with the past. I love how Riley got the family she wanted & Ethan got the woman he loved. Holiday Sparks I'm sorry I didn't feel no romance or Christmas spirit in this book. The story line was too dry, slow, & boring for me. Unwrapped The only thing I liked about this story is the hot & steamy scenes. The story line was boring & I didn't feel the romance between the main characters. Believe the only things I liked about this book is the hot & steamy scenes & the way Jude made Rori happy. I wish the story line was more romantic. I liked how this set introduced me to authors Shannon Stacey & Megan Hart.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2015
This was terrible. I recommend skipping it.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4 Stars for 2 Stories
No Rating for 2 Stories
NAUGHTY AND NICE is a collection of 4 short romantic stories set during the most wonderful time of the year. I've said it once and I'll say it again: I haven't always been a fan of short stories nor have I been a big fan of anthologies. I'm starting to understand the benefit of being able to sample a few different authors before spending larger amounts of money on them. Truth be told, I'm becoming a fan of anthologies. (Don't look too shocked--we all can change.) I picked up NAUGHTY AND NICE after enjoying WINTER WISHES. Different authors, same idea.
Holiday Sparks by Shannon Stacey (58 pages)--4-1/2 Stars
Call an Electrician
While house-sitting for her parents in their OLD Maine home, Chloe blows a fuse just using the microwave. Chloe decides to surprise her parents with all new wiring for Christmas and enlists local electrician Scott to do the job. Sparks fly.
Honestly, this one sounded like it could be the premise for a bad porno. I didn't have high expectations of this one, but it turned out to be my favorite out of the four. Chloe and Scott went to High School together, but ran in completely different circles. Sparks are definitely flying now, which they act on and then agree it can only be a Holiday Fling since she's only home for the Holidays. Even though I'm never really a fan of the "friends-with-benefits turn lovers," this really worked for me. It worked for me because we watch them spend time together outside the bedroom. Most the story takes place outside the bedroom.
All She Wants for Christmas by Jaci Burton (85 pages)--4 Stars
You can go back home
Country singer superstar Riley would never agree to go back home unless under duress, which is why she is now walking off a tour bus to wave to all those she left behind 10 years ago. Unfortunately, the one person she never wants to see again is there--with his 7 year-old daughter--with the woman he cheated on Riley with. Ouch. Now, Riley has to get through a Christmas concert in her home town and face her past and truths she's run from for 10 years.
I just finished this one this morning and am still not sure how I feel about it. I was amazed at how uncomfortable I felt just reading what Riley went through growing up and was going through just by returning home--it takes talent for a writer to make me feel like the characters. I liked the story as a whole, I just wish there was more to Riley and Ethan coming together again instead of them just jumping each other's bones. I felt that if they had spent 10 years apart in totally different worlds, they would need time to reacquaint themselves instead of assuming they still know each other so well.
I didn't want to like Ethan--not after what he did to Riley. I was rooting against him--even when the truth came out of his betrayal. But somehow, somewhere, I started to root for him. I still can't pinpoint when and how that happened.
I was amazed at the way Ms. Burton wrote a story that created so many strong feelings in me. For that alone, I want to read more things by this author.
Unwrapped by Megan Hart (42 pages) - No Rating
While honeymooning over Christmas in Vail, Colorado, Leah sprains her ankle forcing the couple to send time inside instead of on the ski slopes.
I'm not rating this story not because it was horrible but because it was a miss for me. It basically was watching a BDSM couple on their honeymoon. Normally, Leah is the Dom, but Brandon's one wish is to change it up just once and take charge. The only conflict came from both wanting to start a family but both kept thinking the other didn't want to. The story held no interest to me: I couldn't care about the characters and I just don't understand BDSM. To each their own.
Believe by Lauren Dane (52 pages) -No Rating
Jude whisks Rori off to a remote cabin for Christmas to spend quality time together and forge memories of their own so both can move past the memory of Rori's deceased husband who was also Jude's best friend.
This was another complete miss for me, which is why I'm not rating it. It just wasn't my thing at all. All the "story" consisted of was a BDSM couple playing together. When they did talk, it sounded like they were exchanging wedding vows--consistently. The only conflict was "Can we move to a different house" which was met with sugarcoated words. I've never read anything by Ms. Dane, but I'm sure this will be welcomed by a lot of her fans as she mentions in the Dedication that this story is for her fans who want more Jude and Rori. So, obviously I've missed a lot, which is again, why I'm not rating it: it wouldn't be fair. Apparently, this is a follow up to Second Chances. I recommend reading that story first so that you are emotionally invested in the characters.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2013
I do not participate in reviews. Don't appreciate being asked to review books and would appreciate being exempted from this.