Friday, November 21, 2014

Review: On the Naughty List

On the Naughty List

by Lori Foster, Carly Phillips, Sugar Jamison, Beth Ciotta


The most wonderful time of the year is back with On The Naughty List, bringing perennial favorite holiday stories from Lori Foster and Carly Phillips, along with two Christmas stories that delighted readers a year ago. This sexy anthology will make you want to give your heart to Christmas again and again…
Lori Foster has two co-workers plan a Christmas party side-by-side-and discover a love worth celebrating in Christmas Bonus.
Carly Phillips explores a "mistletoe moment" when a no-nonsense lawyer intent on seducing her boss meets his twin instead--and gives him a scintillating kiss that leaves him begging for more in Naughty Under the Mistletoe.
In Sugar Jamison’s Have Yourself a Curvy Little Christmas, former wild child Dina Gregory returns home to New York to find the father of her young son. Instead, she finds his stuffy older brother, Ben. Ben can’t help but admire her tenacity—and her bold beauty. Could it be that Dina has reignited his Christmas spirit?
Beth Ciotta brings two friends who, after years apart, together at home for the holidays. They don’t seem to have much in common anymore, but when the two get stranded together during a blizzard, they are forced to reexamine if they are better off as "just friends"? Or could it be that true love was there all along? in Some Kind of Wonderful.
Themes: Holidays, Anthology, Contemporary
Rating: 3 stars
Heat Rating: 
Overall this was a very good anthology of short holiday romances.  Though it turns out I’d already read two of them, it was great to get to reread them and relive the holiday loves that developed in the most unlikely of places.
Christmas Bonus was a story I’ve read in the past, but it doesn’t take away from its greatness.  The story revolves around two coworkers that have each been hiding their attraction to one another for many years, but the time has come for them to embrace the desire and find out if there is a chance for a relationship.  This story was fun and sexy, with a sweet undertone of long awaited love and the chance for two people to find their places individually and as a team.  I loved Eric and Maggie, the two of them making a perfect match and seeing them finally share their love made the holiday theme all the sweeter. 
Naughty Under the Mistletoe was also a reread for me.  Toni was a sexy elf that makes the ultimate snafu, sharing a passionate kiss with her crush’s twin, Max.  The intense connection she feels during their embrace is unexpected and slightly frightening, but she is not going to scare off that quickly and will find a way to seduce him.  Max has never felt this kind of connection with a woman and refuses to let her slip away, but he knows that he will have to tread carefully to have his chance at a relationship with the sexy elf who has grabbed his heart.  But when a shocking discovery pushes Toni to run far and fast, Max has to track her down and overcome her fears so they can have a chance together.
In Some Kind of Wonderful, we get to see a long standing friendship morph into a sensual and loving relationship.  Maya left her small town a long time ago hoping the make a difference and find her way in the business world.  But the time has come for her to return home and when she does she finds herself faced with her childhood best friend and the man that has sparked new life into her heart.  Zach has returned from war a wounded man, emotionally and physically, and he is not ready to face the attraction that has sparked for his best friend.  Trapped together in a cabin during a blizzard, Zach and Maya have to come to terms with their new feelings and when they decide to explore their passion, a new love is discovered.  I loved, loved, loved Zach and Maya’s story and wish it could have had a full length version of this story to keep me warm on a long winter night.  Zach was a perfectly wounded character and Maya was the bright and optimistic force that was sent to him to pull him out of the darkness of his past.  There was a surprising Scroogesque moment of two in the story, but overall I must say it was a great holiday read.
And last but certainly not least, Have Yourself a Curvy Little Christmas, takes us on a woman’s journey to the family of her ex in hopes of making a better life for her infant son, never imagining just how much her life would change.  Though I am not usually a woman that is baby crazy, I will have to say that this was my favorite story of all four in this anthology.  Dina was full of heart and her compassionate nature shines again and again as she pulls Ben out of his shell and reminds him of the importance of love and laughter in life.  Ben was a bit like scrooge in several ways, but for the most part he was just a man whose life has left him jaded and alone, his family pulled away from him and his friendships few and far between.  When these two forces collide the explosion is no less than nuclear.  The romance and magic of the holiday season brings them together in unexpected ways and as the passion heats up, the subtle waves of love and longing bring them into a true and lasting relationship.  I would have loved a full length novel even more of this story than the others, and will definitely keep my eyes open for more from this author. 
All-in-all, On the Naughty List was a great group of holiday romances revolving around family, happiness and the spirit of the season.  Even being someone that doesn’t celebrate “Christmas”  the magic of the season and the love that shines this time of year is found in spades in these stories.  I love a good holiday tale, and this anthology was one that was worth every second of the time it took to read it. 

*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

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