The Heiress and the Hothead by Sabrina Jeffries
Stunned by the heat of an unexpected kiss on a cold winter’s eve, two strangers from vastly different worlds turn hotheaded principles into burning passion.


This story was first featured in the 2015 anthology What Happens Under the Mistletoe. Although it’s quite a recent book, you might want to check you haven’t got that book before purchasing this as a stand alone story. Although I do quite like having my favourite stories as stand alone books.

This book is one of the Sinful Suitors stories. Amanda first appeared in The Art of Sinning and we also meet characters in this book from future books in the Sinful Suitors series. You might be enticed to read more of the series but this book does stand alone quite nicely.

Amanda and Stephen are quite opinionated and both hold strong views on mills and mill reform - which is the backdrop to this story. What’s nice is that while the mills are a big feature, and richly described, they never take away from the story or from Amanda and Stephen’s romance.

I liked that both Stephen and Amanda were made to work hard for their happily ever after. Both were stubborn and opinionated and both had to realise their own faults stood in the way. It wasn’t just the man, as is often the case in these kind of stories, that made a mistake and had to right his wrong before it was too late.

The consummation of Stephen and Amanda’s love was a little different - at least the location was! I won’t spoil the story by saying too much but while it wasn’t hugely sexy (at least compared to Jeffries’ other works), it did seem realistic and fit the circumstances.

Sabrina Jeffries is one of my favourite authors and this story doesn’t disappoint. Lively characters, strong emotion and an unusual premise give this tale something more than most and it’s a story I’d happily recommend.


101 pages

* I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. *

The Sinful Suitors series:

A Mackenzie Christmas by Liliana Hart MacKenzie is ready to settle down and start a family. The only problem is the one woman he’s interested in doesn’t seem to be ready for the long haul. But fate lends Grant a helping hand in getting exactly what he wants under his Christmas tree.


I’ll admit that I often expect stories named for families, sagas and the like, to be rather tame. Imagine my surprise when this short tale had a nice punch of heat to it. The sex scenes (yes, there was sex - and chats of sex - packed into these 38 pages) were quite rushed and could have done with a bit more description but I’m attributing that to the fact that the story was short. I imagine in Ms. Hart’s full length novels there’s more time reserved for such things.

Grant was a good character and I feel I got to know him and like him in the short space of time. Annabeth was slightly more of a mystery and I did feel she came across as quite young; Nothing to dislike, however. Perhaps if I’d read the rest of the Mackenzie novels (this is book 9 in the series) then I might feel I knew her a little better.

A bit too much flowery language at the beginning of the sex due to Annabeth’s inexperience. Talk of gifts and miracles - hmmm. I don’t know anyone (thankfully) who speaks like that either before, during or after sex. A couple of sentences wasn’t a huge issue, however.

I liked this story. It was short, sweet with a bit of heat and a nice tale to give you a 20 minute break from the craziness of Christmas. One to check out and I might have a look for Lilian Hart’s longer novels in the future. 4 stars.


The Winter Wife by Anna Campbell a chance meeting on Christmas Eve…

Alicia Sinclair, Countess of Kinvarra, cannot believe that fate has been so cruel as to strand her on the snowy Yorkshire moors with her estranged husband as her only hope of rescue. During their rare encounters, the arrogant earl and his countess act like hostile strangers. Now that Alicia has fallen into Kinvarra’s power, will he seek revenge for her desertion? Or does the dark, passionate man she once adored have entirely different plans for his headstrong wife?

...deliver a second chance at love?

Sebastian Sinclair, Earl of Kinvarra, has spent ten wretched years regretting the mistakes he made with his young bride, but after long separation, the barriers between them are insurmountable. Until an unexpected encounter one stormy night makes him wonder if the barriers of mistrust and thwarted desire are so insurmountable after all. When winter weather traps Sebastian and his proud, lovely wife in an isolated inn, could the earl and his headstrong countess have a Christmas miracle in store?


This story seemed awfully familiar to me but since I couldn’t quite remember the exact details, I decided to give it another go. It turns out that this is a story originally featured in The Mammoth Book of Regency Romance where it was called Upon a Midnight Clear. It’s been reworked slightly since then and released as an individual novella.

This type of story is my favourite kind - second chance / reunion romances. The fact that it’s also set at Christmas makes me happy as a clam. Only chocolate could make me happier.

This is the first ever story from Anna Campbell that I read and it really shows off her unique writing style. It’s classy, packed full of emotion and is jammed with the angst that I expect from her. And I do love me some angst. What’s especially good is that both the hero and heroine are tortured by mistakes they made in their past. It’s nice to read a story where both sides admit that they handled a situation badly and weren’t as innocent of wrongdoing as they initially thought. Refreshing and made me believe the couple’s happily ever after would work this time.

Both Alicia and Sebastian are really interesting, fully rounded characters and are so well written that you can’t help but love them both. Despite how we first meet Alicia and her snarky attitude towards her estranged husband, I immediately felt for her and understood the reasons for her actions. Sebastian is the best kind of hero in my eyes; dark, delicious and desperately in love with his wife despite their estrangement. The fact that he maintains a sense of humour through all this makes me love him even more. The way that Sebastian and Alicia interact with each other was also great and I loved seeing their progression from wary distrust and animosity through to honesty and declarations. It was like reading happiness.

The story isn’t too long at just 59 pages and can be easily read in a couple of sittings. My only gripe is that despite the fact that this has been reworked since its original publication, there’s still no epilogue. I’m not deducting any stars because of that fact but I am pouting a little bit. I feel an epilogue rounds out a story and delivers on the promise of the happily ever after. Anyway, still a great tale for a chilly night and one I would recommend. 5 stars.


Weighting for Christmas by AJ Harmon
Kate Evans is a vibrant beautiful woman.

Chad Rockwood is the personal trainer her mother has hired to help her lose the extra pounds she carries. 

They start out as trainer and client and quickly move to friends, but when Kate’s mom signs her up on an online matchmaking site, Chad sees red.

Do opposites attract? Can Chad convince Kate that she is more than a number on a scale?

A funny and emotional look at romance when it’s least expected.


I make no bones of the fact that stories told in first person are not my favourite - they always make me feel strangely uncomfortable for some strange reason. But for this story - it really works. I like that we only get Kate’s perspective to what’s going on. It makes her journey all the more real and we can truly feel her emotions and how she thinks. That doesn’t mean to say that we don’t get glimpses into what Chad’s thinking; Kate is adorably clueless about her own desirability and it’s clear, to us readers anyway, what’s bothering Chad when Kate starts dating.

My only reason for giving this story 4 stars is that it took me longer than I would have liked to warm up to Kate. She’s our heroine and despite me hugely identifying with the way she was feeling and how she viewed herself, there were times at the start of the book when she was just downright mean. I probably wouldn’t have minded except that she took great pains to remind us that she was nice. Hmmmm. I saw the change in her throughout the book so maybe it was a clever ploy by the author; I’ll never know!

The reason this book wasn’t what I expected is that it’s more than just a romance. The book could have ended at about 50% and I would have been satisfied with the happily-ever-after of Kate and Chad. However, this was also a story about Kate falling in love with herself and coming to terms with who she was. Not to sound all cheesy but I found this part very uplifting and quite, erm, motivational. Maybe I’ll find my own Chad in time for next Christmas.

I really enjoyed this story and was hooked from the first. It’s light on the Christmas element as it’s set throughout the year but you honestly won’t mind as soon as you get into the story. A book I would recommend. 4 stars.


A Match Made in Mistletoe by Anna Campbell mistletoe wish…

All her life, Serena Talbot has been in love with the handsome boy next door, Sir Paul Garside. She always eagerly looks forward to Paul’s visit to her family over the Festive Season, even if he usually brings along his dark, sardonic friend Lord Hallam. This year, Serena is determined that Paul’s kiss under the mistletoe will lead to a proposal. Even if she has to enlist every ounce of Christmas magic she can get her hands on to make that happen.

But the mistletoe gets it wrong!

When Serena slips a sprig of mistletoe from the village kissing bough under her pillow, it’s not Paul who turns up in her dreams as the man she’s going to marry, but brooding, intense, annoying Giles Farraday, Marquess of Hallam. Still more annoying, once everyone arrives for the annual Christmas house party, she can’t stop watching Giles, and thinking about Giles. And kissing Giles, whether there’s mistletoe about or not. Now Paul wants to marry her, and Giles wants to seduce her–and Serena has a bone to pick with the old wives who came up with all this superstitious nonsense in the first place.

A Christmas of confusion lies ahead! Will mistletoe magic lead the way to a happy ending?


**Please don't be put off by the reviews of this book on Amazon. Unfortunately there was a problem when purchasing the book and only the cover and first pages downloaded. The issue has now been resolved but customers were understandably annoyed and were trying to warn other customers which has led to a low star rating for the book.**

At 153 pages, this is a sweet tale that is perfect for a short diversion away from all the Christmas madness.

Serena has been in love with Paul since she can remember but this Christmas it’s his best friend, Giles Hallam that she hopes she’ll meet under the mistletoe. Our heroine is but 21 years old and this adds to the sweetness of the tale. What I particularly liked about Serena’s character is that while young, she almost matures before our eyes as she realises the difference between youthful infatuation and real love and desire. She didn’t play games, she was as honest with herself as she could be and I really liked her confusion over her feelings. And her interactions with Giles were fun to read.

Giles is perfectly my type of hero; Brooding and lonely yet filled with love for a woman he knows he can never win. It might be mean of me but I like watching my hero and heroine go through the emotional wringer of doing what they want versus what they should. While Giles is definitely dark and brooding (but himself still young at 25), he also has an easy manner about him that made him more than two dimensional. Anna Campbell excels at angst and while there’s not much of that in this story, there are glimpses of it in the relationship between Giles and Paul.

Paul is worth a mention as a secondary character as it’s easy to write a character that we hate and hope won’t win the girl - it must be so much harder (but so much more realistic) to write one that’s a decent sort of chap. I also really loved the brief scenes of Serena with her mother - such a nice relationship.

For the majority of the book there’s lots of kissing. It’s when you get to the epilogue that anything more occurs. It was nice to see the story - and the relationship between Giles and Serena - continue after their declarations. I do love a good epilogue.

This is a short but satisfying story that has some nice festive touches. It’s sweet, it’s light but you’ll fall in love with Serena and Giles as they fall in love with each other. 5 stars.


Christmas with the Marine by Candace Havens Major Ben Hawthorne 

Mission: To make one sexy civvy's Christmas wish come true 

Christmas is almost here, and guys are the last thing on personal shopper Ainsley Garrett's list. But her icy resolution melts when she sees an incredibly hot Marine shopping for toys. A man in uniform with a hot bod and a heart of gold? Maybe a gal can believe in Santa after all… 

Major Ben Hawthorne has his career to think about, but when it comes to Ainsley, he's willing to break his own rules, at least for one night—provided they can get this insanely wicked attraction out of their systems. Only, once isn't enough. Now Ainsley's checking her list twice…before she falls for a Marine who's naughty and nice


Who doesn’t love a man in uniform? Especially at Christmas. That’s just what Ainsley gets in this story set at Christmas - a sort of opposites attract tale. Ben is a big softie Marine from a poor background while Ainsley is a successful business woman from one of the richest families in America. But they mesh well together and I liked their chemistry, banter and interactions with each other. Both were likeable characters and Ainsley was written especially well since sometimes rich heroines have to work extra hard for me to like them.

Fun supporting characters, too. I suspect that some of the other Marines have either had their stories told previously or will do in the future. A word of warning about the British best friend - generally alright but there are a couple of instances of her taking a ‘British’ word and dropping it randomly into a sentence. A bit cringe if I’m honest.

The sex scenes were enjoyable, too. Not too many to overwhelm the story and warm rather than blazing hot. They bordered on sweet rather than down-and-dirty sexy. Again - nothing wrong with that.

While this was a pleasant read - good characters, interesting situations and well written - it didn’t quite dazzle me or keep me hooked so that I couldn’t bear to stop reading. It was quite clear from the outset what the source of conflict was going to be so you’re just really waiting for when it was going to happen rather than wondering what might happen. That’s not necessarily a bad thing - it just gives a story that’s a little more sedate. Again, warm but not blazing hot.

With that said, this is still a good story with good characters in a Christmas setting. I would recommend it to fans of Blaze, Christmas and the Uniformly Hot! mini-series. 4 stars.

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