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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Review: What Happens Under the Mistletoe (Anthology) by Sabrina Jeffries, Karen Hawkins, Candace Camp & Meredith Duran

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Pocket Books
Release Date: October 27, 2015

New York Times bestselling authors Sabrina Jeffries, Karen Hawkins, and Candace Camp, and USA TODAY bestselling author Meredith Duran come together for a sizzling historical romance holiday anthology.
Stunned by the heat of an unexpected kiss on a cold winter’s eve, two strangers from vastly different worlds turn hotheaded principles into burning passion in Sabrina Jeffries’s delightful yuletide story, The Heiress and the Hothead. In the snowy Scottish countryside, Karen Hawkins’s rakish duke has an unforgettable holiday encounter in Twelve Kisses when the alluring lady he surprises under the mistletoe is not who he expected, but a long-lost love with a score to settle. In By Any Other Name, Edinburgh is aglitter for Christmastime as Candace Camp sends a curious gentleman in hot pursuit of an intriguing lady in disguise—one who refuses to reveal her true identity, though she fears he has already stolen her heart with his kiss. In Sweetest Regret, will the festive spirit of the season sweep Meredith Duran’s feisty heroine beneath the mistletoe—and back into the arms of the dashing rogue whose carelessness soiled her reputation and sent her into exile in London?

In this all-new story collection sparkling with sexy charm and heartwarming wit, four beloved bestselling authors reveal the mix-ups and make-ups, the missed chances and golden opportunities that come but once a year.

Anthologies are like a tray of romance samples and I love it! What Happens Under the Mistletoe brought novellas from four bestselling authors, two of which I enjoy immensely and two that I was happily introduced to.

The Heiress and the Hothead was the one story I was already eager to read. Amanda Keane captured my interest in The Art of Sinning. As the opinionated sister of Jeremy, Amanda ran mills back in America and had only come to England to hash out the issue of ownership of the mills with her brother. Having her meet her match in Englishman Stephen who had a passion for writing about the horrors mill workers endured was like dangling a chocolate dipped apple slice in front of me. It was everything I had hoped, heated exchanges over who was right and who was wrong made Stephen and Amanda a lively pair but it was their chemistry, the touches, the kisses and the emotional connection they shared that made them a favorite of mine. A fantastic bonus for me? My honey bunny Edwin Barlow, the Earl of Blakeborough makes an appearance! *sighs*

Twelve Kisses by Karen Hawkins took me back to the series that I just started, The Oxenburg Princes with Marcus Sutherland, Lord Rothesay friend to Nikolai Romanovin, the Crown Prince of Oxenburg and Kenna Stuart, the widowed Lady Montrose. This second chance love story was sweet and spicy in the right places with Marcus and Kenna being so darn stubborn that they almost missed their chance to start again.

New to me author Candace Camp’s By Any Other Name was definitely a favorite! A kiss between Gregory Rose and Rylla Campbell leads both on a sort of catch-me-if-you-can courtship with humor and intelligence. From what little I learned about Rylla, she struck me as a take charge woman who didn’t sit around waiting for the men around her to solve the world’s problems much less her own. I loved this character’s wit and bravery because it went so well with Gregory’s. I loved Gregory’s appreciation for a woman like Rylla who was willing to ignore society’s rules for the people she cared about. These two had such an unorthodox relationship but in the end it felt stronger than most historical romance relationships because they got to know each other without the restrictions of “polite” society. I need more of this author’s books!

And finally, another new to me author gave a second chance to a pair of spirited, stubborn and shamelessly in love characters. Meredith Duran’s Sweetest Regret reunited Lucas Godwin and Georgiana Trent after two years. The two had a fondness for each other but Lucas left suddenly for another part of the world and Georgiana believed it was because he played her for a fool. Once these two are in the same room again the sniping and resentment resurfaces leading to a shocking discovery and another chance at love. Georgiana was my favorite of the two. She really changed from beginning to end of this short story. She went from obedient, shy wallflower to a strong, opinionated and stubborn woman who wasn’t going to let anyone stand in her way of happiness.

Final Verdict: All around great stories, no matter their length from four extremely talented authors. I’ve discovered two new authors whose books I am dying to read now!

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