Holiday romances are my indulgence during this time of the year. I read as many as possible beginning around Thanksgiving. This was my first of the season.
The common theme in these stories is a billionaire. I usually avoid stories in which a character's main identifier is that he's a billionaire. That just seems so boring and overdone. That isn't to say I don't read my fair share of stories about rich men (I love Harlequin Presents) but I don't like for the most important thing about the person to be how much money he has. I'm more interested in powerful and successful rather than simply, rich. But this collection included a story by Maisey Yates, so I was anxious to read it.
But darn these romance novelists for giving false hope and allowing us to imagine that the handsome man in the suit at the airport might for a moment have a passing interest in the weird girl with purple hair, wearing a leather jacket and Doctor Who tshirt.
That's the thing about the billionaire stories, the gorgeous, successful, rich man is drawn to the awkward, quirky, creative girl who is short and a little chunky with crazy hair, not the statuesque blondes he's spent most of his life dating. That's why weird girls, like me, enjoy these stories. But my goodness, they are so very far from reality.
Anyway, the first story is Billionaire Under the Mistletoe by Carole Mortimer. I didn't like this story all that much. The writing bothered me with exclamation points at the end of almost every other paragraph. The exclamation points weren't part of dialogue either, but rather describing the characters thoughts or impressions. That seems more fitting for text messages, not a book. That should have been edited out of there. Also, I didn't pick up on any strong chemistry between the characters. I never felt any sort of connection to them. Their attraction just happened without any real explanation. I found it very difficult to believe a guy would be so attracted to the woman he hired to decorate and cook for the holidays, and after hardly knowing her at all, want her to join in with his family celebrations. I didn't hate the story, but didn't love it.
However, I did love the second story, which is Maisey Yates' Snowed in with Her Boss. Loved the couple in this book. Even in a story this short, I felt like the characters were well-developed, and from the beginning, they had great chemistry. The two had a history together, Amelia has worked as Luc's Personal Assistant for years. He's used to her quirks, and tolerates things like her constant singing because she's an invaluable employee. When they go to Colorado together to check out a property he's considering purchasing, they're mistaken as a couple. Luc decides to go along with it, hoping to get a better deal on the property. But a snowstorm hits and the two find themselves spending a lot more time together than expected. The time trapped together, pretending to be what they aren't, results in them exploring the attraction they've had for each other and tried to deny for too long. Very good story. (Maybe because I'd just watched Homeland, I immediately pictured Raza Jaffrey as Luc when his "mocha" skin was mentioned. Later it is mentioned that he's part African, so I realized my image was wrong, but it was already set at that point. Also, this story would work well as a Hallmark holiday movie, granted some elements might not be appropriate for Hallmark, but they could figure it out. It would be adorable.)
I also very much enjoyed the third story in this anthology, A Diamond for Christmas by Joss Wood. Riley has been in love with her best friend's big brother, James for most of her life. They have a history of three one night stands, with several years between each of them. After the latest though, Riley's had enough. She currently works for the family designing windows at their store in New York City. She's planning to leave as soon as the Christmas windows are revealed. But James isn't ready to let her go just yet. I loved the history between these characters, and learning how they've drifted in and out of each other's lives over the years. Very nice story. There seemed to be so much going on in this story, besides just the love story. I'm curious as to whether there are or will be more books about this family.
Overall, I liked this anthology quite a bit. The last two stories were great, perfect way to begin my holiday reading for the year.
I received a review copy of this via NetGalley.