Thursday, March 19, 2009

Been an Awful Good Girl

Red hot kisses. Secret Wishes. A gift too scandalous to share…

Get ready for a holiday season you’ll never forget with three New York Times bestselling writers who know what every woman wants for the holidays. You’ll believe in Santa all over again with these seductive stories from:

Mayhem ensues under the mistletoe as a determined shopper grabs the very last hot toy action figure off the shelf, only to find herself plunged into the middle of a real-life spy game- in the arms of a sexy secret agent…

Two dedicated coworkers with a lot of secrets (and fantasies!) between them must plan a Christmas party side by side- and discover a love worth celebrating- in this steamy office romance.

A "mistletoe moment" begins when a no-nonsense lawyer intent of seducing her boss meets his twin instead - after giving him a scintillating kiss that leaves him begging for more...

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Title: Santa Baby
Start & Finished: 12/10/08- 12/12/08
Published: 2006
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Pages: 298 (total)
Genre: Anthology-Romance

Contemporary romance authors Jennifer Crusie, Lori Foster, and Carly Phillips contribute their delightful novellas to the 2006 Christmas anthology Santa Baby. Two of the three can be found in other anthologies but Crusie’s story Hot Toy is the headliner in this collection and the only one that hasn’t been published before. Foster and Phillips are long time friends and fellow bloggers however; this is their first and so far only time that they have contributed to the same book.

Whenever a holiday rolls around, there is usually an anthology I’ve had sitting on my shelf for awhile and yet by the time that holiday gets here I hardly ever have time to read it! Well that happened for a little over a year before I finally got enough time in December to read Santa Baby, an anthology I had won from Carly Phillips in 2007. Usually when I read any anthology there are bound to be one or two stinkers but this time I hit the jackpot with all three stories Hot Toy, Christmas Bonus, and Naughty Under the Mistletoe being some of the best Christmas romance short stories I’ve ever had the pleasure to read.

Title: Hot Toy
Author: Jennifer Crusie
Pages: 111

Just about everyone has had to do some last minute Christmas shopping at one time or another but few have tried to brave the toy store on Christmas Eve! Unfortunately for Jennifer Crusie’s Trudy Maxwell, her nephew’s father ran off with the nanny and forgot to pick up the Hot Toy of the year for him. Trudy and her sister’s own father almost always forgot too and after years of “it fell off of Santa’s sleigh,” they stopped believing. It’s up to her to keep a little boy’s belief in Santa alive… she just didn’t plan on there being secret agents after the doll!
Jennifer Crusie always writes such deliciously funny, sweet, and even sexy stories whether they’re full length or novella-sized. Her characters in this story are fully developed and despite being a little over 100 pages long, it reads like a complete book. Like all of Crusie’s heroines, Trudy isn’t truly scrumptious though as she did get on my nerves a little but I still liked Hot Toy. As wild as the story gets, it’s never unbelievable… well not too unbelievable anyway.

Title: Christmas Bonus
Author: Lori Foster
Pages: 93

There are quite a few office romances in the romance genre lately and author Lori Foster writes quite a few of them. In Christmas Bonus, a crush that has been brewing between Eric Bragg and Maggie Carmichael (each without the other one knowing) is finally brought out in the open. All thanks to a little mistletoe, a romance novel in-progress, and the Christmas spirit.

Paranormals and urban fantasy are mostly what I read but I discovered romance novels first. I do read more of the former now but I still pick up the occasional romance! This was my first time reading Lori Foster even though I own several of her books and I’m happy to say that I really enjoyed her contribution to the anthology. It’s the shortest of the three stories but still well-written enough that I only have one complaint and that is how little Christmas has to do with the plot. It was written for another holiday anthology in 2000 but I was still left with the feeling that the author threw in a few appropriately Christmassy-type things to make the story fit in.

Title: Naughty Under the Mistletoe
Author: Carly Phillips
Pages: 94

The last contribution to this book of Christmas and romance stories is Carly Phillips’ Naughty Under the Mistletoe. It’s another office-type romance on the surface but so much more in the end. Antonia ‘Toni’ Larson has decided, “if Santa was coming to town, he wasn’t going to find Toni being a good girl this year” as she has decided to seduce her soon-to-be-ex-boss Stephen Corbin. Quite by accident she mistakes his twin Max for him at the Christmas party and sparks fly.

While Jennifer Crusie is good at the funny and suspense romance and Lori Foster is good at simple, yet delightful contemporary romance, Carly Phillips is the best at happily ever after romance. Her characters always manage to be slightly more complex and the story always ends well even if it is a bumpy road getting there. I thought this story was slightly a little too sappy and sweet for me to find believable at times too. Love at first sight is a tricky thing in romances and if I’m not mistaken this is the first time I’ve read a Phillips story that uses it in the plot. While it wasn’t my very favorite, I did enjoy it regardless and not only was it worth recycling from the anthology Naughty or Nice?, it was also a good story to end with too.

Links: Carly Phillips and Lori Foster Blog and Jennifer Crusie Blog

Picture Explanations
Gingerbread House:
Trudy’s sister is drowning her sorrows in gin and decorating one of these too while she constantly calls her to see if she has the toy.
Misletoe: What brings this couple together
Elf Hat: Toni volunteers as Santa’s helper to give out gifts at the Christmas party to the invited children


  1. I have a few of Jennifer Crusie's books on my shelves but haven't picked them up yet. Thanks for sharing this review!

  2. Jennifer Crusie is awesome! I seriously thought about not posting this but since I already had written it I figured it couldn't hurt!

  3. I love Christmas collections. I'm already getting my list together for next December.

  4. Your Santa Baby reminds me of my Santa Shorts. I bought this material to make these cute little Santa sleeping shorts for Christmas and it took me two Christmases to pass before I finished! They're really cute though :) I guess they were worth the wait :)

  5. I love making gingerbread houses. More than reading christmas romances...

  6. CarolsNotebook: I'm working on my Halloween reads right now.

    TheChicGeek: That's good that they were worth it in the end :)

    Lenore: We never really had any when I was a kid but I did make a Halloween gingerbread house one year when I was a teen!

  7. Holiday collections can be such fun!



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