Holiday Kisses is the newest Christmas anthology being published from Carina Press. Holiday Kisses includes stories from Alison Kent (This Time Next Year), Jaci Burton (A Rare Gift), HelenKay Dimon (It’s Not Christmas Without You), and Shannon Stacey (Mistletoe & Margaritas). I’m a huge fan of each of the authors in this anthology and was very excited to get a copy early from NetGalley.
Alison Kent’s This Time Next Year
Brenna Keating is on her way to spend Christmas with her grandmother when treacherous roads and a skittish deer put her car in a ditch. Riding to the rescue – literally – is Dillon Craig, a reclusive doctor who insists she weather the storm in his cabin.
Since returning from Afghanistan where he treated wounded soldiers on the front lines, Dillon’s made it a point to avoid any emotional involvement. But his unexpected guest has him dangerously close to breaking his own rules.
Brenna has a plan for her life – until she’s stranded for three days with Dillon. Soon, the chemistry sizzling between them forces her to re-examine her priorities. The man is gorgeous, if taciturn, and a true hero in every sense of the word. No woman in her right mind could resist him, and so Brenna doesn’t – even though she can’t stay…
I really loved both Brenna and Dillon. Brenna and Dillon are both such strong individuals, who both have a need to serve and help others. Thanks to a deer in the road and a major snow storm, Brenna is rescued by Dillon and must wait out the storm at his cabin. There is attraction between Brenna and Dillon from the beginning, but with Brenna leaving the country at the first of the year, neither knows if the relationship can go anywhere. However, even with an uncertain future, Brenna and Dillon can’t fight their attraction for one another for very long. Loved how fast Brenna and Dillon knew they loved on another and they were willing to write letters, emails and talk on the phone while Brenna worked her dream job for a year.
Jaci Burton’s A Rare Gift
With a disastrous marriage behind him, Wyatt Kent has no interest in getting involved with any woman, let alone his ex-wife’s younger sister. But when Calliope Andrews hires him to build an addition onto her day care center, Wyatt can’t help but notice she’s a desirable woman, as warm and funny as his ex was cold and aloof.
Calliope fell hard for Wyatt the first time he walked through the door of her family’s home, and can’t believe her sister let him get away. He’s still the star of all her fantasies, and she’s determined to prove to him she’s nothing like his manipulative ex. Wyatt may be all business, but Calliope sees the way he looks at her when he’s supposed to be working…
It’s not long before Wyatt and Calliope are keeping each other warm on cold December nights. But it’s going to take a Christmas miracle for Wyatt to put his trust in love a second time.
A Rare Gift is the second book in the Kent Brother series from Jaci Burton. I absolutely loved Calliope Andrews. She is such a strong woman and knows exactly what she wants out of life and is willing to fight for what and who she wants…which has been Wyatt Kent since she first met him. Wyatt has just a little bit of baggage when it comes to love. Namely, Calliope’s older sister, who happens to be his ex-wife. He quickly realizes that Calliope is nothing like her sister, Cassandra, and finds himself having to fight his attraction to Calliope. As soon as Calliope realizes the attraction is mutual, she will accept nothing less than all of Wyatt. Calliope knows they are meant to be together, and takes steps to make sure Wyatt has put the past behind him to insure they can have a future together. Of course, Wyatt must mess up royally first, but in the end, he shows how much he loves Calliope.
HelenKay Dimon’s It’s Not Christmas Without You
Carrie Anders officially broke up with Austin Thomas when she accepted a dream job in the city. Unofficially, she misses him and is tempted to sneak back to her West Virginia hometown to see him. That’s why this year, she’s not going home for the holidays. Her heart can’t take any more mornings-after where nothing has changed – and Austin has made it clear he’s not interested in relocating.
Austin’s been waiting for Carrie to realize she can’t live without him. But when he hears she’s not coming home for Christmas, he decides to take action. If Carrie won’t come to the country, he’s going to bring a piece of the country to Carrie – in the form of a Christmas tree lot just minutes from her apartment. He’s certain daily meetings will entice her to come home with him, this time for good.
Their attraction is as hot as ever, but with such contrary Christmas wishes, can either of them get what they really want for Christmas?
I love that Austin loves Carrie so much he come to the city to set up a Christmas tree lot across the street from her apartment. Carrie is understandable rude when he first shows up, but still is as attracted to Austin and even gets jealous when she sees other women hanging around him. Of course, attraction has never been Carrie and Austin’s problem, but her job in D.C. at a museum has been. Austin figured Carrie would work in D.C. for a while and then be ready to come back home. Carrie loves her job at the museum and doesn’t understand why Austin can’t see how much her work means to her. When Austin attends an event at the museum with Carrie, he finally sees how important her work is to her, and doesn’t see how he can fit in her life any longer. Only by compromising can Carrie and Austin make their life together in two different cities.
Shannon Stacey’s Mistletoe & Margaritas
Claire Rutledge still believes in love, despite losing her husband. So, after two years, she’s not surprised by the steamy dreams telling her it might be time to start moving on. But she didn’t expect her friend Justin to have the starring role.
Justin McCormick has loved Claire since the moment he first saw her, but his best friend got there first. Now that Claire is ready to move on with her life, Justin is finding it harder than ever to hide his true feelings. And when they both get caught up in the holiday spirit at a party, their simmering mutual attraction boils over into a night neither of them can forget…
Claire and Justin have been best friends for years. Justin has been in love with Claire from the moment he saw her, but his best friend Brendan got there first, so he has kept his true feelings for Claire hidden for years. Claire has always looked at Justin as a friend, but now she is seeing him in a whole new light. Claire would be happy to act on this new attraction, and after a few margaritas at a holiday party, she and Justin get together. Of course, he wants to blame it on the alcohol, and not mess up their friendship. However, when they hook up again when out on his snow plow, there isn’t any alcohol to blame this time. Justin feels so much guilt going after his best friend’s wife, even though Brendan is gone. Only after talking to Brendan’s mom does Justin start to feel like he and Claire could have something lasting.
I loved each and every one of the stories in the Holiday Kisses anthology. I’m a big fan of Christmas stories and add a happily ever after to the mix and you always have a winner in my book. The release date is set for December 5, 2011 and can be found at your favorite online bookstore.