By Vicki Lewis Thompson, Jill Shalvis, Julie Kenner
Release Date: November 1, 2011
The Thanksgiving Fix by Vicki Lewis Thompson
Beth Tierney usually spends Thanksgiving with her parents and her siblings, their spouses and children, but she’s spending this Thanksgiving alone because she’s weary of her family’s determination to find the right man for her. Beth is not opposed to marriage, but having reached thirty with only romantic failures behind her, she’s decided to “embrace her singleness.” She has a responsible job as manager of a Reno hotel, she’s proud of her competence, and she’s not sure she has the time or energy for a permanent relationship. Coinneach “Mac” McFarland is the handyman who takes care of the Vickers cabin. He’s planning on heading to his parents for the holiday where his mother has lined up another date for him, certain that this time she’s found one who will make her son the perfect wife and give her grandchildren. When a winter storm interferes and Mac can’t make it home, Beth invites him to share her Thanksgiving, and four days later, after board games and bed games, Beth and Mac are planning a lifetime together.
The Christmas Set-Up by Jill Shalvis
Jason Monroe and Zoe Anders are assistant architects in the same firm. Everyone in the office is aware of the sexual tension between them, but neither of them is willing to act on the attraction. Then Jason’s younger brother Mike, a draftsman in the same firm, sets them up, sending Jason off to spend Christmas in the Vickers’ cabin and stealing Zoe’s memory stick with the specs for the project she and Jason are competing for—with a promotion as the carrot. Zoe, furious at what she thinks is Jason’s cheap trick, heads for the cabin. Instead of a thief, she finds a naked, vulnerable man who touches her heart and raises her temperature. Soon Jason is unwrapping an unexpected Christmas gift, one that promises year-long, life-long happiness.
The New Year's Deal by Julie Kenner
The New Year's Deal by Julie Kenner
Cleo Daire and Josh Goodson were college sweethearts with big dreams of grad school and beyond, but the death of Josh’s father meant Josh had to take over Goodson Mining, the largest privately held gold mine in Nevada. Cleo couldn’t give up her dream of Harvard law school, and so they broke up but agreed to meet on December 30 five years later. When that time arrives Cleo is on the fast track to success at a D.C. law firm and needs an expert witness for a big case. Josh is growing restless under his family’s determination to oppose his ideas for expanding the company. With a little help from their former undergrad professors, they find themselves spending New Year’s at the Vickers’ cottage where they discover old dreams have a new life, one that’s worth risking everything for.
Holiday Hideout is an entertaining read. None of these stories made me want to corner friends, demanding they had to read this book, but the anthology is a pleasurable way to spend an hour or two. The Thompson story had touches of the humor I appreciate in this author’s books, but I had trouble believing in first meeting to wedding plans in four days. Readers who believe in love at first sight may not be bothered by this. Shalvis’s story has the terrific dialogue and sizzling scenes I expect from her, and I liked the workplace romance. Surprisingly, my favorite was the story by Kenner, an author I had not read previously. I always fall for reunion stories, and I thought this story had great sentimental appeal. The magic cottage seemed contrived, and the characterization of the Vickers inconsistent. I couldn’t buy them as both warm-hearted professors interested in the lives of former students and academics using these people as guinea pigs.
What are your favorite tropes for contemporary love stories? Do you believe in love at first sight? Do you read Christmas anthologies?