THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
by Erin McCarthy, Lori Foster, Kathy Love, Jill Shalvis, Kylie Adams, Katherine Garbera

October 2005
ISBN: 0-7582-1214-3
Reviewer Graphic Button Brava
Trade Paperback
Rating:



Bravaís newest anthology features six stories from some of romanceís most popular authors.


In White Knight Christmas by Lori Foster we find Detective Parker Ross coming back from a rough night on the job when he sees his neighbor, Lily Donaldson, being harassed by a strange man. Whatís Parker to do but come to her rescue, proving once again to Lily that Parker is her knight in shining armor. Now Lily just has to figure out a way to get Parker to admit his attraction to her because all Lily wants for Christmas is Parker Ross. Will this cynical, grinch of a man fall under the spell of a woman who lives for the holiday season?


Lori Foster is a grand master at creating sexual tension and this story is a great example. Though they are different as night and day, the heat is there and all it takes is the talented pen of Ms. Foster to make it explode in an inferno of passion. Ms. Foster is at the top of her game with White Knight Christmas.


In Snowed Under by Erin McCarthy, Claire Robbins is not having a good day. After getting hit by a pile of snow from a snow plow, all Claire wants is a steamy bath and some hot cocoa. Unfortunately, she has to walk twelve blocks to get home. However, Claireís brotherís apartment is half a block away so she heads there to warm up. A big surprise is waiting. Her brotherís friend, and Claireís teenage crush, Justin Fairbanks is staying at her brotherís place. Watch the heat rise as Justin and Claire explore feelings that have been suppressed for a long time.


Erin McCarthy has written another sensual and romantic story. Claire and Justin, once they get past their individual hang ups, have a blast getting to know each other as adults and finding out they have more than lust in common; they have a budding love. This story was a real treat to read.


Ms. Humbug by Jill Shalvis has Cami Bennett wanting to figure out who is trying to sabotage the various members of the Blue Eagle Town Hall. With increasingly nasty rumors spreading about her coworkers, Cami canít help but wonder when it may be her turn. She has some help in her search. Her nemesis and sparring partner, Matt Tarino is also determined to find out what is happening at Town Hall. When an unexpected kiss shakes them both up, they have whole new levels of emotion to explore that have nothing to do with the goings on at Town Hall.


Hands down, Ms. Humbug is the best story in this anthology. For such a short amount of pages, Ms. Shalvis has given Cami and Matt depths not seen in the other stories of this anthology. Even the mystery surrounding Town Hall is interesting. Cami and Mattís witty dialogue, steamy glances, and heartfelt avowals of love truly wowed this reader. Kudos Ms. Shalvis for making Ms. Humbug a Christmas story to remember.


In Iíll Be Home for Christmas by Kathy Love, Rob Marsten is a workaholic. He wasnít always that way, but when he rejected the one woman heís ever loved, he turned into a bit of a heartless jerk. Heading home for Christmas with his family, heís reunited with ďThe One.Ē Erica Fetzer is the woman he callously let go from his life. Seeing her again brings the regret rushing back. Suddenly, Christmas is looking a whole lot brighter for Rob. Is there any chance he can once again win Ericaís heart?


Kathy Love has penned a sweet story of lovers reunited during a snowstorm. Rob may come off a bit insensitive at the beginning of the novella, but by the end, there will be no question in the readerís mind about how much he loves Erica. Their renewal of love is the perfect treat for the Christmas season.


In Seducing Scrooge by Katherine Garbera, Jackson Peterson hates the holiday season and the distraction it supplies for his employees. He never expects that one of his favorite staff members, Krista Miller, will fall prey to the holiday season, but when she tempts him into a holiday tryst of the sweetest sort, Jackson starts to see Christmas in a whole new light.


Katherine Garbera has written a light and fun story of the true importance of Christmas: Love. Krista will thrill readers with her quest to prove to Jackson that the true magic of Christmas comes from the heart. Jackson seems like a bit of a scrooge, but by the end of the story, his change appears natural and wholehearted. Scrooge no more, Jackson realizes that Christmas is a season to be felt all year with the person you love.


The Good Girlís Guide to a Very Bad Christmas by Kylie Adams.


Peri Knight has just dumped her fiancť after discovering his cheating ways. Now she just wants to celebrate Christmas with her family...and perhaps her fantasy man, Chase McCloud. Heís an actor and Peri is an in-need-of-work actress but thanks to Chase, she has the opportunity to make a career for herself. Chase encourages Peri to audition for the TV show heís an actor on and thanks to his encouragement, Peri auditions...and makes a big impression. Now if only Peri could get up the courage to tell Chase how she feels.


Kylie Adamsí story of a struggling actress is perhaps the least Christmas-like of the bunch, nonetheless it is a fun story. Periís struggle to reach her dreams is interesting because Peri is a snappy, flirty and enjoyable character to know. Kylie Adams has penned a heroine that is a joy to read about. The Good Girlís Guide to a Very Bad Christmas ends this anthology on a high note.


The Night Before Christmas is a lot of fun. The stories arenít out-of-this-world but they suit the purpose of the anthology: To explore the magic and love that is part of the Christmas season, and in that, they succeed with gusto.


Reviewed in September 2005 by Sarah.