Anthology Authors: Elisabeth Naughton, Alexandra Ivy, Cynthia Eden, Katie Reus, Laura Wright, Skye Jordan
*advance reader copy received for honest review*
I am not a huge reader of anthologies or seasonal stories, but this anthology was a great mix of authors and tales and is an absolutely adorable Christmas-themed read. These six stories take place on or near the Christmas holidays and are all set in the same small holiday-themed town of Holly, North Carolina. While the characters and stories were fun to follow, it was just as interesting to see each author step in and drop her writing style into the overall mix. The combined epilogue at the end of the book was a treat too! While the anthology is 450 pages, the stories were broken up at such great intervals that this would be an awesome holiday break or afternoon read. You can read before bed or on your commute, and then pick up the next day or night with a new story. It is definitely a steal at the current price – be on the lookout for the release the first of December!
Melt for Me – Elizabeth Naughton
“Yeah, there was nowhere in the world like Holly, North Carolina. Too bad it was decked out like a Charles Dickens novel three hundred and sixty-five days per year and not just during the holidays.”
The first story in All He Wants for Christmas is Melt for Me by Elizabeth Naughton. This is the story of Ella the pub owner who has lost a lot, almost an unbearable amount, and is just struggling toward a light at the end of the tunnel. When a ghost from her past and happier times bursts back onto the scene, her whole life is suddenly spun around. A sexy and popular rock icon, Tate is in town searching for Ella and the spark they shared in their youth. It’s hard for Ella to trust Tate, and things start to get deadly serious when suspicious vandalism begins occurring. Will they even survive to find out what they might have together?
Sweet Rapture – Alexandra Ivy
“But the truth is that I was willing to do whatever I had to do to keep you in my life,” he confessed, his raw tones striking deep inside Meg. “Even if it meant lying to you. I was terrified at the thought of losing you.”
Meg returns to Holly to lick her emotional wounds and take over the home inherited from her grandmother. Strange things start happening around the house, and everyone seems to be worried about the incidents except Meg. When a friend calls for help and the source of her pain shows up on her doorstep, it looks like fate is starting to align against her in the cruelest way. Dylan is determined to show Meg that he had no choice but to hurt her before…now he is ready to play for keeps. If they can just stay alive long enough to stake a claim.
The Spy Who Came for Christmas – Cynthia Eden
“His gaze drifted up the tree and then, slowly, his stare turned toward the hallway. If I could have anything I wanted for Christmas…I would want her.”
Jemma is Holly’s sole chocolatier and all around good girl, but when the smoking hot stranger rolls up for some last minute sweets, she is ready to take a walk on the wild side. Grayson retreated to small town America to lay low and relax, but all he can think about is the sexy little chocolate shop owner. As they gravitate toward one another, his past catches up with him in the worst way and suddenly he isn’t the only one looking hard at Jemma. Will he be able to save the woman he loves in time?
Merry Christmas, Baby – Katie Reus
“She should not be happy to see him, but yeah, her body didn’t listen to reason. It was screaming that he must be sincere if he was here again, that she should give him another chance. Stupid hormones.”
Nora has been focused solely on raising her younger sister, and the single mom thing doesn’t exactly leave a lot of time for romance. When the town cutie Jackson pursues her for almost six months she finally gives in to her impulses. In return, she doesn’t hear from him for weeks. By the time Jackson strolls back into her little book shop, she is pretty done and not that interested in whatever excuses he can make. What possible reason could a former Navy Seal have for ditching a girl like that? Now that Jackson has come to his senses and worked up his courage, will he be able to talk Nora into a second chance, or is she done for good?
Sinful in Snow – Laura Wright
“Gabriel felt like a raw nerve as he stood up again and began to undress. As she watched him, her eyes dancing to each flash of skin he uncovered, he watched her.”
Gabriel is back in town to play the role of avenging angel…well, not exactly. He is here for vengeance against the girl who ruined his teen life, but the problem is she is not a teen girl anymore…she is definitely a woman. Carol always has a smile on her face and works hard to keep her tiny Christmas shop open; she loves her family’s hometown. When Gabriel returns, she is amazed by his transformation from angry teen to cold businessman. As they interact, Gabriel seems to thaw just before igniting with Carol at the center of the inferno. Just when things seem to reach peak happiness, Carol finds out exactly what brought Gabriel to town. Crushed, she leaves the man she thought she cared for to be with her family. Will Gabriel be able to save Christmas for both of them?
Home Advantage – Skye Jordan
“His eyes were heavy-lidded and hot, his expression tight with desire, and Faith had never seen a man look as sexy as Meier looked right then.”
The final tale in All He Wants for Christmas is about the small town sports star coming home for the holidays. Meier is just planning to recover at home before jumping right back into the hockey rink once he gets clearance from the doctors. Emotionally detached from his parents, Meier happens across former high school hottie Faith who is now running her family’s hardware store. Faith doesn’t have time to play around with Mr. Bigshot Meier, but he is not taking no for an answer. When they finally come together, it is scorching hot, but reality rears its ugly head. Between girls who are actually in his league and the demands of his job, there doesn’t seem to be much room for Faith. By the time Meier realizes that he needs her more than anything else, it may be too late for both of them.