Merry Christmas, Baby by Various Authors will you find under your Christmas tree?
A cowboy?
Ranch hand Tucker Rankin isn't crazy about the holidays...until a wintry night before Christmas, when Lacey Evans shows him how much fun it is to be nestled all snug in her bed....

A wealthy New Yorker?
Stockbroker Jared Martin needs to get away, and Alaska's the perfect place to unwind. Especially once actress Theodora "Teddy" Monroe gets him to loosen his tie--and take it all off!

Or maybe even a man in uniform?
Soldier Silas Davenport is on Christmas leave. But when he arrives at his parents' home, no one is there...except for the irresistible Delphie Moreau. And she's one gift he won't be exchanging!


Harlequin Blaze always bring out an anthology near to Christmas and this year's offering has stories from Vicki Lewis Thompson, Jennifer LaBrecque and Rhonda Nelson.

It's Christmas, Cowboy! by Vicki Lewis Thompson
This was a nice tale that definitely felt the most festive of the three stories. Having said that, Lacey seemed slightly fickle in her affections and Tucker wasn't exactly the ambitious or hard-working type that I would prefer to swoon over. Still a sweet enough tale.


Northern Fantasy by Jennifer LaBrecque
This story forms part of LaBrecque's Alaskan Heat series and while other characters appear it does stand alone just fine. I didn't really get why you would write a series about a small town when all the characters hate it and want to leave. Couple that with the fact that neither Jared nor Teddy were particularly interesting and I didn't much care for this story. The fact that all the heroines in these stories also appear to have unusual names that shorten into men's names was the final irritation for me.


He'll Be Home For Christmas by Rhonda Nelson
This was a pleasant enough story even if it was fairly forgettable. I liked Delphie and could empathise with her and Silas was likeable too. It was realistic which is fine but in a Christmas anthology I was looking for something a little more `happily ever after' or even a little cheesy.

All in all this was an average anthology that didn't really delight and just didn't feel festive enough or put me in the Christmas mood. Not bad but really not great. 3 stars.


219 pages

Come to Me by Linda Winstead Jones
Of all the offices in all the world...

Why did Lizzie Porter have to waltz into his? Wary loner Sam Travers always had a soft spot for Lizzie--and now she's grown up, with the curves to prove it. But to move on his old partner's daughter would be oh-so-wrong....

Except that Lizzie won't take no for an answer. She's discovered that she might have a half sister. And she's not going to let anyone stop her on her search--even Sam!

The plot thickens when someone takes a shot at Lizzie, and Sam volunteers to move in with her--just to protect her, of course. And as they puzzle out the truth, he wonders just when he'll dare move out....


In the past I have avoided Mills and Boon Intrigue because I am a complete wimp and I assumed that the books would be too scary and tense for my liking. However, I decided to give this one a go as I liked the premise of the story. I now wish I hadn't bothered but not because of the scariness (of which there was none) but because it was, overall, a bland and uninspiring read.

Our two main characters are Sam and Lizzie. I couldn't quite figure Sam out - brooding and moody one minute and then grinning and seductive the next. His reasons for not being in a relationship with Lizzie went out the window so fast it made me really question his character. Similarly, I didn't much care for Lizzie. One of Sam's main objections to their romance was the age difference between them (8 years) and as such I think that Lizzie was written as quite an immature and naïve 24 year old. This could have been fine but she babbled on, disregarded everyone else's feelings and was generally too annoying for me to care about her or them as a couple.

The intrigue wasn't too intriguing and there was little suspense or excitement with the half-sister mystery. And generally, I just didn't feel any spark with the story as a whole. There was no sexual tension or emotion between any of the characters and I was left feeling completely uninterested. If this is the level of suspense of Intrigue novels then I might give others a go but this one just isn't for me, I'm afraid. 2 stars.


224 pages

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

The Viking's Touch by Joanna Fulford old life shattered, Wulfgar Ragnarsson lives only for the moment, cheating death and growing rich as a legendary mercenary. His heart may be frozen, but his desire burns hot for courageous widow Lady Anwyn, who needs his protection....

For the safety of her son, Anwyn will risk everything. Even giving herself to a Viking warrior who teaches her not all men are monsters--although he shows little sign that he will ever again be capable of love.


Upon reading the inscription in this book I found that it appears to be the sequel to The Viking's Defiant Bride however this book stands completely alone so you can still enjoy it even if you know nothing of the first story.

From the outset I was charmed by this book and the writing style. I'm not sure whether all the language was completely correct to the time period but it was still engaging and the interactions interesting.

Anwyn was a likeable character - strong and defiant but still true to her time period and never becoming a stereotype. Wulfgar is my favourite type of hero - someone who is strong and tough but with a sensitive core and that is crying out for the love of a good woman. The pair had great chemistry and as such I would have liked the love scenes to be a little more in depth.

The story itself kept me interested and I always wanted to carry on reading just a little bit more each time. The ending was wonderful and a good culmination of everything that had happened throughout the story.

Overall, if you like tales of Vikings and the women that tame their hearts and enjoy a good romance then I really think you will like this story so it's one I would recommend to you. 4 stars.


304 pages

Riding the Storm by Joanne Rock
Interior designer Josie Passano is married to her work. But when she dozes off on a prospective client's boat (thank you, motion sickness pills), she's startled to be awoken by a seriously hot guy...and sailing away on the ocean!

Businessman Keith Murphy (of the Cape Cod Murphys) is blown away by the sexy stranger on his brother's boat. It's like Goldilocks--only it's more fantasy than fairy tale. But their sexual chemistry is lightning-hot, and Keith will do anything to keep Josie onboard...and in bed.


This is the second of a series of books about the Murphy Men of Cape Cod after Making a Splash. Despite it being part of a set, this book stands completely alone and they books will make sense even if not read in order.

All in all this was a likeable book with characters I enjoyed even if I didn't overly identify with them. Josie and Keith had chemistry and their scenes together were nicely sexy.

My main problem was that for the majority of the story nothing really seemed to happen other than Josie and Keith being together on the boat and that made me a little less than enthusiastic in returning to the book when I put it down. It wasn't terrible and the writing is good but it just didn't capture or hold my attention to any degree. I liked the ending but even then, it was cut off without an epilogue which always annoys me.

If you're reading the series then it's not one you should necessarily skip but it's not a book I would go out of my way to recommend.


224 pages

Prince Voronov's Virgin by Lynn Raye Harris
‘Kiss me,’ he growled… ‘And make it believable. ’

Alone and scared on the dark streets of Moscow, staid, bespectacled Paige Barnes has no choice but to comply with the handsome stranger’s command… Little does Paige know she’s been rescued by Alexei Voronov – a Russian prince and her boss’s deadliest rival.

Now he has Paige unexpectedly in his sights, Alexei is prepared to play emotional Russian roulette to keep her close and discover her true motives. But in his splendid gilded palace his game of chance spins out of control and passion takes over… It’s only when she’s back home that Paige realises she’s pregnant with the Prince’s baby…


As soon as I started reading this book I began to enjoy it. Unlike other Modern books I have read, Alexei is the perfect blend of arrogance and kindness. You can understand why he acts as he does and he comes across as the perfect, brooding hero. Paige, too, is a good heroine and although shy, she isn't as insipid or weak as other heroines I have read even if I did want her to be a little bit bolder when it came to her sister. Together they have good chemistry and a relationship you can root for.

The story was interesting and kept you wanting to read and turn the pages. The storyline is quite simple but that's not necessarily a bad thing, especially since there isn't any annoying secondary romance to distract from the main love story.

If you're not a fan of romance novels or don't enjoy Mills and Boon novels then perhaps this isn't the book for you! However, if you do like a good romantic story that will allow you to escape for a couple of hours then I can definitely recommend this book. It's got good characters who work well together and a storyline that's interesting and keeps you wanting to turn the pages. I enjoyed it a lot. 4 stars.


192 pages

His Wayward Ward by Kate Harper
Eliza knows exactly what she wants from life and has already found the man of her dreams in the handsome Mr. Henry. But she hadn't counted on the intervention of her guardian, the wicked Lord Carlton. Carlton has come by his responsibilities by default and is determined not to let the sudden intrusion of two feckless orphans interfere with his pleasures. But then he meets Eliza and the sparks start to fly. Can Eliza persuade Lord Carlton that she knows her own heart? Especially when the man seems determined to change everything she thinks she knows about love...


I was quite looking forward to this story. Billed as a risqué Regency romance and at only 89p what could go wrong? Quite a lot, as it turns out.

I have read and enjoyed a number of stories where wards and guardians get together and never before have I read one where I felt slightly uncomfortable by the relationship between the two. Eliza is 18 but young with it. She's naive, hot tempered and brattish. In contrast, Carlton is 32 and a disillusioned rake. There was just something off about their interactions in my opinion. Perhaps it was because he continually referred to her as a child or girl that, to be truthful, gave me the creeps.

As well as that, there were a large number of typesetting errors which is just sloppy and irritating when you're trying to get into a story.

The story itself was very short but you know something's not going quite right when you feel a little bored and unenthusiastic about the story even with such limited pages. The writing wasn't terrible (hence the 2 stars rather than just 1) but it seriously lacked any emotion or depth which made it doubly hard to feel anything for the characters.

My last complaint has to be about the term 'risqué' romance because it wasn't in the least sexy or sensual. Perhaps that harks back to the lack of emotion in the text but I still think it's terribly misleading and makes the story even more of a disappointment.

Overall, even at only 89p I really can't recommend this story and would suggest you avoid.


49 pages

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