by Lisa Plumley

October 2005
ISBN: 0-8217-7860-9
Reviewer Graphic Button Zebra Books
Mass Market Paperback

Lisa Plumley’s latest creation is a holiday anthology that is sure to bring the holiday spirit to one and all.

Mistletoe and Holly

Holly Aldridge has just been dumped by her boyfriend. Sure, he calls it taking a break, but it amounts to the same thing… dumped! Holly can’t believe it. She knows she and Brad are perfect for each other. She just has to convince him of that fact, so she comes up with the perfect plan. When Holly gets a new roommate, hunky and laid back college professor Sam McKenzie, she can’t help but hope that Brad will be jealous. Unfortunately, Holly’s plan backfires when she starts to develop feelings for Sam. He claims it’s love at first sight, but responsible and analytical minded Holly can’t believe that. It’s going to take a little holiday magic to bring this irrepressible pair together.

Sam and Holly shine as the odd couple. Holly is very organized and has her life planned out, while Sam prefers to go with the flow. When their paths cross, the sparks fly. Lisa Plumley will have you laughing at their sparring and smiling as Holly and Sam fall forever in love.

Christmas Honeymoon

Stacey Ames’ holiday plans include an all-expenses-paid Vegas honeymoon. Too bad she doesn’t have a husband to enjoy it with. Posing as her cousin Janie, Stacey plans to relax and lay low. She doesn’t count on her ex-boyfriend Dylan Davis to show up as her “husband.” Stacey thought Dylan was out of her life after their relationship ended, but Dylan is back to prove that he’s ready for Stacey and wants to be more than just a boyfriend. Can the magic of Vegas and the holiday season bring Stacey and Dylan back together again?

Perhaps the most humorous story of the anthology, Christmas Honeymoon will surely have you laughing out loud as you enjoy Stacey’s accident prone personality, Dylan’s wit and charm, and the love of a sweet pooch named Ginger. Ms. Plumley cleverly works out Stacey and Dylan’s problems amidst a town where fate and luck can be measured in the roll of the dice.

A Baby for Christmas

One Saturday morning, Chloe Carmichal wakes up happier than she’s felt in a long time. She’s just spent a wonderful night with her best friend, Nick Steadman, the man she’s been in love with for three years. She can’t help feeling that this morning will be a brand new start for their relationship. Except… Nick doesn’t remember their night together. Waking up with a hangover, he has no memory of their wonderful night together, the night that was the fulfillment of three years of dreams for Chloe. Heartbreaking, Chloe decides to hide the truth from Nick. She wants him in her life, and if he knows they spent the night together, he just might freak. She’s determined to put him back into the best friend category, but it doesn’t prove to be as easy as she thought. For one thing, Chloe’s pregnant! How will she tell Nick the truth? Nick has no plans to be a father right now; he’s got enough on his plate as an engineer trying to work out the perfect invention. He can barely keep track of his day-to-day activities; let alone taking care of a child. However, once Nick finds out Chloe is pregnant, he’s determined to be there for her. But as her pregnancy goes on, it becomes increasingly hard to hide the truth from Nick. Will Chloe let him know before it’s too late for them to have the kind of relationship she’s always dreamed of?

Poignant and romantic, this is a sweet story to end the anthology. Best friends falling in love can be a clichéd topic, but Lisa Plumley gives it a fresh face-lift as she develops Nick and Chloe’s character. Though I became a bit frustrated with Chloe’s withholding of the truth, this fact doesn’t detract too much from the overall story. Nick’s care and patience with Chloe is incredibly touching and only increases the intimacy these two characters have together.

Once Upon A Christmas is truly a holiday delight. The plots cover a range of emotions that pertain to all seasons, but the addition of holiday magic makes these stories a pleasure to read. Perfect as a stocking stuffer or for your beach bag, Once Upon A Christmas explores the power of love, the one gift that truly keeps on giving.

Reviewed in September 2005 by Sarah.

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