by Jaycee Clark, Ellen Fisher, Angelica Hart

December 2004
ISBN: 1-58608-363-5
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Since I normally devour romantic suspense books like candy, I was immediately drawn to the first story in this anthology, Santa's Kisses by Jaycee Clark. It starts out with a Santa impersonator strangling a woman with Christmas lights, and from that point, I was hooked.

Heather Railing has allowed her best friend Lanni to convince her that a vacation in Key West is just what she needs. Maybe here in this tropical paradise, she can avoid the constant phone calls from her former fiancť.

On the sheet of paper that Lanni gave her, it appears her destination is a coffee bar. Once Heather steps inside, sheís in for a surprise when she recognizes her first lover, Baine Gregor, whom she hasnít seen since her daddy forced them apart years earlier.

Once Baine and Heather get over their initial shock and realize theyíve been set up, things go pretty smoothly. Heather decides to stay and rent the room he has available over the coffee bar, and allows him to show her around. Clark did a fabulous job of building up the sexual tension in such a natural way.

The story does come to a climax rather quickly however when Baine and Heather return to the bar after a sizzling session on the beach. Due to the length of the story, I found I only held my breath for seconds as I waited to see if Heather would become the next victim of the Santa killer.

The second story in this collection was one I had looked forward to reading as I recognized the authorís name but had yet to read one of her books. Unwrapped by Ellen Fisher has one of my favorite storylines of lovers reunited.

Nicholas Brant has hated Christmas ever since Syd Alexander dumped him on Christmas Eve three years ago. If it werenít for his precious sister and her two kids, he wouldnít celebrate at all. But this year when he arrives to pass out his gifts, he finds out that his sister has invited Syd to join their celebration.

Of course this story didnít bother heating up slowly, it started burning from the moment these two laid eyes on each other. This time around it seems they are going to forget the relationship part and go straight to the hot sex! I have to admit even though I usually enjoy a slower buildup, this story flowed well and I didnít feel that the sex was just thrown in to fill space.

Okay so at this point Iím still really enjoying this anthology and hoping this time Iíll read one that I can rate a five. But seconds after starting story three, I knew I was going to have the same problem as I often do with compilations. Angelica Hartís story Upon a Midnight Dark didnít grab my attention at all. Those of you who like a bit of paranormal in their romance might find her story more enjoyable than I did.

Even though I found fault with one of the stories in the group, I found that this book would be a charming way to spend a winter afternoon.

Reviewed in January 2005 by Shelby.