WHEN SHE WAS NAUGHTY… by Kate Hoffmann
Alison Cole has always loved music but more than that she loves the stories behind the songs - especially what’s known as ‘mountain music. Her discovery of an old reel-to-reel recording dated back to 1939 has her hunting for the elusive singer, Ettie Lee. The last thing Alison expects is to find herself stranded in a mountain cabin with the dynamic and sexy doctor Drew Phillips. Drew’s home and career is in the Tennessee mountains while Alison hopes to head her own department at a Texas college. The passion between them is sizzling yet a future between them seems impossible, but is it really?
Kate Hoffmann instills the perfect blend of sensuality, humanity and humor into this story so that the reader is pulled into the action and comes to really care about the characters. The story may be focused more on Alison and Drew’s romance but I have to confess I adore Ettie Lee. She lives life on her own terms and makes no apologies for doing so.
COLE FOR CHRISTMAS by Rhonda Nelson
Layla Cole suffers from terrible stage fright but she’s a genius when it comes to playing the mandolin and that’s why she prefers to play only in the relative safety of a studio. However, the allure of earning the money to finish paying off the land where she plans to build a home pulls her into the limelight and on stage. The only thing that makes her stage fright bearable is Bryant Bishop’s creative way of distracting her – with soul searing kisses.
The sparks positively sizzle between Layla and Bryant right from the beginning. Rhonda Nelson isn’t shy about incorporating realistic qualities to the characters which allows readers to feel a connection with them. I got a real kick out of the scrabble games and how Layla and Bryant’s words are akin to foreplay. While this story is passionate there’s much more between the characters than sex – including a misunderstanding involving Layla’s younger sister Rita and something that had happened years ago.
A BABE IN TOYLAND by Tawny Weber
Rita Mae Cole never truly fit into the musical side of her family. She’s more of a people person and feels like she’s disappointed her parents by never really finding her niche in life. This year she’s going home for Christmas and has the perfect gift almost paid for – only her fallback job has fallen apart thanks to bad boy Tyler Ramsey’s interference. Now she has to count on him for a ride home and come up with a way of making the rest of the money she needs. Fortunately there’s a tote full of erotic toys her temporary roommate gave her and she’s a whiz at networking. Tyler’s determined to drag out the trip home for reasons of his own. It’s going to take a few extra days – plenty of time for the passion between them to flare out of control and for Rita to seize every opportunity to hawk her wares out of the back of his truck.
Tawny Weber finals out this anthology with a downright sexy, toe curling romance that kept me chuckling just imagining Tyler’s reaction to Rita’s ‘marketing techniques.’ I have to confess he’s not entirely likeable at the beginning because he’s got a hidden agenda and you just know he’s going to hurt her somehow. Of course, I can never resist a bad boy I ended up falling for him – especially once I understood the reasoning behind his deception. Tawny Weber delves beneath the surface of the characters and brings them to life in startling clarity so that you’re quickly caught up in their romance and all the trouble that comes with it.
IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE MISTLETOE is a sweet and spicy anthology that follows the romances of three sisters who grew up in a musical family. Each author tackles a different sister and all the unique and sometimes difficult situations that go along with finding Mr. Right at a decidedly inconvenient time. Each author’s story involving one of the sisters builds the anticipation in the reader’s imagination about what the next story will bring and how it will all come together in the end. Obviously this story is billed as a Christmas story but in all honesty, it’d be a great feel good read at any time of year.