I'm not big on anthologies (they're usually so uneven) but this one is pretty good. I'll be honest, I really only bought it for Susan Donovan (one of my faves) and Janelle Denison (her stuff is so hot!), but wound up enjoying (to one degree or another) all but one of these stories.
First up is the ubiquitous Lori Foster. I'm not a big fan of her full-length novels, but I've enjoyed several of her short stories, this one is no exception. It's the story of neighbors who become friends all the while becoming more and more attracted to one another. And when Booker's girlfriend essentially dumps him by hitting on his brother, he's now free to pursue his long suppressed attraction to Frannie. Cute and sweet. 4 stars
Janelle Denison's entry brings to mind Cinderella or Pretty Woman (without the hooker). Elementary school teacher Faith decides to come on to pediatric surgeon (and reputed playboy) Matthew and suggests a steamy one-night stand. Matthew has pursued her for months without success, but now he'll take full advantage of her request. She's been burned by his type before - a rich professional from a socially prominent family - so she's got her eyes wide open this time. But can Matthew convince her that he's not like her ex and that he wants more than just one night? He sure convinced me! 4 stars
Susan Donovan's contribution is by far the most inventive of the bunch. At first I was a bit uneasy until it occurred to me what was probably going on (I won't spoil it by telling!). Poor Valerie is stood up on Christmas Eve, in her sexy new dress and shoes, the dinner she prepared getting cold - along with herself! Her furnace has gone on the fritz and she's just waiting for the furnace repairman. What a pathetic way to spend Christmas Eve! But when repairman Earl shows up, her self-pity is put on ice while the heat definitely turns up! Funny, sexy with a twist! 4 ½ stars
Donna Kauffman and Alison Kent both do the high school sweethearts who reunite after ten years very differently. Ms Kauffman's story is more emotional and sweet but a little too angst-filled. Suzanna is filled with guilt and remorse for dumping Jace just months after graduation after promising to stay close. When they meet again, will Jace still care? This story suffered from a little too much history and background and not enough of the here and now, though the heat and longing between the couple was palpable. 3 ½ stars
I did not care for Ms Kent's story. I found this couple lacking any real emotional connection (especially her) and I found their sexual relationship on the coarse side. Blue was sexy, stoic and likable (if a little bitter) and deserved better than the selfish Jessie. Her whole reason for coming back is based on sex and how it's only ever been good with Blue. I didn't feel much love, affection or mutual respect between these two characters. I'd never read anything by this author before nor will this story induce me to do so. 2 ½ stars
Nancy Warren's story of office co-workers who constantly butt heads and who wind up Secret Santa partners was really fun, sexy and enjoyable. I was deliciously impressed with Tara's creative boldness when she dares nemesis Daniel (whom she overheard saying she needed to "get laid") to be the man for the job! Some really steamy love scenes and hot chemistry. Ms Warren is a new author for me and a pleasant discovery. 4 ½ *'s.