An anthology of four short historical romances sends up the holiday season with a touch of mischief, mistletoe and Christmas magic.
In Enoch’s “One Hot Scot,” when a Highlander rescues an English lady who’s been kidnapped by a rival clan, he risks his safety to help her, not realizing he's risking his heart by spending time with her. The Christmas connection is a bit of a stretch, but the amiable characters and sensual storyline—including the hero’s clever outmaneuvering of the villain—win the reader over. In Hawkins’ “Once Upon A Christmas Scandal,” Lady Ellen is mortified and angry when her father increases her dowry to win her a husband, then confused when Lord Swainsbury finagles his way into their holiday party under false pretenses. He seems like her perfect match, but it’s clear he’s hiding something, so are his attentions to be believed? A hint of a housebound mystery spices up this warm yet sexy romance. In Essex’s “The Scandal Before Christmas,” a naval lieutenant must find a wife before his loathsome father forces him to marry his own choice. A colleague’s docile and shy spinster daughter seems like a perfect choice, and when a snowstorm forces them together, he finds himself falling for the intelligent, passionate woman emerging from beneath her dowdy exterior. There’s a satisfying plain-Jane storyline with the added bonus of outsmarting the insufferable father. Bowman’s “It Happened Under the Mistletoe” offers a magical cat, a Regency meet-cute in a closet, and a duke and an heiress who are perfect for each other, though they’re convinced they aren’t—with a bit too much emotional hand-wringing on her part, which detracts slightly from the story’s overall charm. Historical romance anthologies are as much a part of the Christmas season for some readers as trees and stockings, and this is a fun collection they’ll appreciate.
As warm, sweet and sexy as a quick kiss under the mistletoe.