by Cherry Adair, Leanne Banks, Pamela Britton, Kelsey Roberts

October 2005
ISBN: 0-345-48349-9
Reviewer Graphic Button Ballantine Books
Mass Market Paperback

The prologue sets up the premise of this book. A mysterious woman has made it her mission to help those in trouble, and each of the stories shows us the dedicated men she has hired to do so.

Snowball’s Chance by Cherry Adair starts off this Christmas themed romantic suspense anthology. Kendall Metcalf is in the midst of preparing for a party and ends up stranded at her client's home because of a severe snow storm. When Joe Zorn appears at her door she mistakenly assumes he’s the man who will be dressing up as Santa. Joe is actually there to protect her from the killer whom she escaped from and whose testimony put him behind bars. He’s escaped from prison and wants another chance at her. Edge of your seat suspense combines with sizzling romance to make this my favorite of the four stories. My only complaint is that the story was so short.

Leanne Banks gives us Santa Slave in which Hilary Winfree is determined to find a missing college student for whom she feels responsible. After following the girl’s trail she finds herself in a human trafficking ring, and it’s up to Rick Santana to rescue her. At times the banter was cute, but I found the story completely unbelievable and the heroine exasperating.

The third contribution to this anthology is Big, Bad Santa by Pamela Britton. Dr. Kaitlyn Logan is having a normal day at the veterinarian clinic where she works when a stranger comes in and tries to drag her out of the building. Before she knows it, the place is practically under attack and she’s being whisked off on the back of a motorcycle. Chance Owens just wants to do his job and get Kait to safety; he never counted on being so attracted to her. Although this story had very little to do with the holidays, great chemistry and sexual tension join together in a delightful read.

Last is Killer Christmas by Kelsey Roberts. Meghan Beckham is dealing with the death of her brother and trying to run her department store during the busiest season of the year. So when overbearing Jack Palmer shows up and starts telling her what to do it doesn’t sit well with her. Jack is certain the deaths of the store’s Santas and her brother's death are related and that Meghan is the real target. Can these two fight their growing attraction long enough to find the truth? Meghan was a little hard for me to relate to at first. Though I did warm up to her character, I felt the ending was rushed and unrealistic.

While not exactly Red Hot this book may be just the ticket when you need to take a break from the holiday madness. Cozy up in a comfortable place and meet these men who so willingly put their lives at risk to save these courageous women.

Reviewed in November 2005 by Jackie.