Kissing Under the Mistletoe is a steamy holiday anthology from St. Martin’s Press that is a great read for people looking for a sensual holiday read. As I always do, I’ll be reviewing the individual stories.
Great Scot! by Suzanne Enoch
Lady’s companion Jane has resigned herself to a spinster’s life. Feeling a third wheel at the MacTaggert family Christmas, she faces a decision. A decision which suddenly has new options when she meets architect and MacTaggert cousin. The one-eyed architect sets her heart racing and her blood pumping. But can she follow her heart? Of should she play it safe?
Set in the same universe with all of the characters from her Wild Wicked Highlander series, this novella focuses on a poor relation of the heroine of the first book of the series, and this story is a great addition to that series. I really liked Jane’s dilemma and I appreciated that we got a hero who wasn’t perfect. My biggest complaints were the very extreme instalove and the fact that I didn’t feel that the novella could stand on its own. Still, I loved the banter and characters and I am a fan of this series. So this story gets:
Christmas at Dewberry Hollow by Amelia Grey
Years ago, Gate’s grandfather, the Duke of Notsgrave, stayed at the Dewberry Hollow Inn with his new wife, carving a heart onto a tree in the nearby woods. Now as his grandfather lays dying, Gate races to find the tree so that his grandfather can fulfill a promise to his dead wife. He expects to find a tree. He doesn’t expect one of his servants to be shot by the most perfectly enchanting creature he’s ever met. Miss Isabelle Reed has long eschewed the idea of love. She’s seen what it’s done and she wants nothing to do with it. But when Gate appears at her family’s inn she begins to change her mind. Can this unlikely pair find the tree and fall in love?
This is a standalone novella, and I feel that it’s the weakest of the stories in this anthology. I found the writing a bit too purple and the stakes really really low. The heat level of this entry is also really low, there’s “door ajar” sex but it’s not really on the page. I wasn’t a fan of how perfect the heroine was and how “Not Like Other Women” she was. Literally, the hero states in an internal monologue that she is “not like other women” and it really landed poorly for me. The story isn’t completely horrible, I liked a few of the side characters as well as the idea of the grandson doing this as a favor to his grandfather. This Story would be for fans of sweet romance who want a little more heat with their low stakes sweet. For me, it was too cloying.
My Mistletoe Beau by Anna Bennett
Determined to retrieve the watch her mother gave her father, Miss Eva Tiding is willing to do anything get it. Even stooping to robbing the scoundrel who tricked the watch away from her father one Jack Hardwick, the Earl of Frostbough. Unfortunately, she’s caught in the act by the Earl himself. In return for his silence as well as the watch, she has to agree to be his intended for the next few weeks to placate his grandmother. It’s the perfect arrangement. The only problem, falling in love.
This was far and away the best entry in the collection. This is a standalone novella that is utterly charming and lovely and fun. The banter was on point. The romance steamy. The conflict and the tension was there. I was rooting for Jack and Eva. (Which I also appreciated the punny names that weren’t overtly punny (no Chris/Kris or Hollys to be seen).) The plot was engaging and I also really liked the side characters. This novella made me smile and happy and it was the perfect Christmas romance.
In all this was a solid anthology. I liked two of the three entries and the entry that I didn’t like was more due to my personal dislikes (I like more conflict and imperfect characters) rather than anything too egregious. This is a fun anthology and it’s a great way to get in the mood for Christmas.
So if I average everything together it’s 3.67 stars which I’m going to round up.
If this is your jam, you can get it here.
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I received an ARC of this book via netgalley