Call me what you want, but I've always loved Christmas anthologies. One of my favorite holidays-commercialism included!-I love Christmas and the spirit of love, happiness, and goodwill that it stands for. Getting to read a Christmas anthology like RED HOT SANTA, by four of my favorite authors, is icing on my holiday cake!
Cherry Adair serves up a white-hot suspense sizzler with SNOWBALL'S CHANCE, the story of a woman who once escaped a serial killer-but might not be so lucky this time around. Kendall Metcalf has made a name for herself as a party planner and has even had a few write-ups in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Along with her business partner, Rebecca Metzner, their focus has been on a big holiday party planned for a big-wig out in the wilds of Montana. Planned, that is, until Rebecca realizes that the madman who almost killed Kendall, Dwight Treadwell, has escaped from prison and is no doubt set on revenge against the woman who didn't die and in fact got him locked away. So she hires Joe Zorn to ditch his skiing vacation and travel, in a blinding snowstorm, to the ranch where Kendall is staying. Ms. Adair's story had me laughing out loud with Kendall's "Ho, Ho, Ho Y'All" shirt, shivering with fear when the psychotic Treadwell showed up, and sighing with delight over the sexual chemistry between bodyguard Joe and Kendall.
SANTA SLAVE by Leanne Banks centers around Hilary Winfree, a graduate student and teaching assistant who is worried about the college student she's been mentoring. Christine, a beautiful girl who'd never been away from home, had found an ad offering young girls free travel around the world and thousands of dollars in compensation to teach foreign businessmen American customs and manners. Although Hilary had warned Christine that the offer sounded too good to be true, Christine went anyway-and now that she's missing, Hilary takes it upon herself to accept the same position. Unfortunately, she learns all too quickly that these "businessmen" are dealing in human trafficking. Fortunately, someone else is worried about Hilary, and Rick "Chameleon" Santana is on the job. Posing as a prospective "buyer", Rick infiltrates the sordid building where Hilary and a number of other young women are being held, and attempts to buy her way to freedom. Although scary in it's subject matter, SANTA SLAVE deals with the all-too-real problems that face many young women in third-world countries, and the feelings that develop between Hilary and Rick, along with their desire to rescue Christine, make for an interesting story.
Pamela Britton's story, BIG, BAD SANTA, is an absolute delight! Dr. Kaitlyn Logan runs an animal shelter, and has been working for years on a pet project that involves developing a "migratory chip"-an implanted microchip in birds that can be used to actually direct them in a certain direction. Unfortunately, as soon as she writes Senator Prescott with her information and asks for government funding, all sorts of bad events are set in motion. Basically, the chip that she invented to send electronic pulses to a bird's brain and direct it's flight pattern could, if it fell into the wrong hands, be used as the world's first avian weapon-the birds could be outfitted with cameras to spy on the enemy, or even as a biological weapon. Kaitlyn hadn't thought of that, but she wises up pretty quickly when a man named Chase Owens shows up at her shelter, ushers her past a man trying to shoot her, orders her onto his Harley, and whisks her away to safety. He informs Kait that he's been watching her and her place of business for over a week, ever since she wrote the Senator. Now that terrorists are coming out of the woodwork to get their hands on Kait's technology, the only thing keeping her out of harms way is the mysterious stranger on a motorcycle-the same stranger that's causing her to forget all about microchips and instead sending pulses of heat throughout her own body.
Kelsey Roberts brings us KILLER CHRISTMAS, and what a killer it is. Meghan Beckham, the new CEO of Beckhams Department Store in Palm Beach, is a little dismayed to learn that her store's Santas are dropping like flies-literally. One Santa died of a supposed heart attack during his break one day, and the next day the replacement Santa is dead, too-this time, though, the knife sticking out of his once jolly belly points to murder. As does the fact that the dead Santa is propped up on full display in the store's front window. When Jack Palmer shows up to serve as her personal bodyguard, Meghan has a few choice words to say about how it's going to effect her business-but the heat running between the two of them is something else entirely. As Jack vows to keep Meghan safe, and Meghan pledges that no more Santas will die on her watch, the two of them are determined to find out just who is behind the death of Santa Clause, and who wants to see Beckhams close so badly.
If you read no other Christmas anthology this year, make sure you pick up a copy of RED HOT SANTA. You won't be disappointed, but you also won't want to see the stories come to an end!
This holiday season, four bestselling authors give the gift that keeps on giving: gripping tales of special agents in a covert agency, out to protect the innocent . . . by any means necessary.
Snowballs Chance by Cherry AdairKendall decks the halls, unaware that a serial killer has her on the top of his list. Of course, being naughty with the sexy good guy sent to protect her would be so nice.
Santa Slave by Leanne BanksAfter her best friend disappears, Hilary takes matters into her own hands and finds herself caught in the throes of danger, while a hunky male operative hopes to mix pleasure with business.
Runaway Santa by Pamela BrittonBiologist Kaitlyn Moneypennys research is finally leading to a big scientific breakthrough . . . and mortal peril. When bullets start to fly, so do the sparks between Kaitlyn and her Santa-clad rescuer.
Killer Christmas by Kelsey RobertsWhen several Santas are murdered at a swanky department store, the new CEO, Meghan Beckham, had better watch out, had better not crybecause a serial killer has come to town.
These are four holiday stories I would classify as romantic suspense. Actually, the stories do not have much to do with Christmas at all, they just happen to be set at that time of year.
I didn't care for the first story by Cherry Adair at all. The heroine and the guy who was sent to rescue her from a serial killer are stuck in a house in the country during a winter storm. The serial killer has broke out of prison and is traveling across the state in order to finish her off. Why is it that a serial killer doesn't have any problem stealing vehicles and driving through a storm, but the local police can't make it 20 miles? My rating: 2 Stars.
The second story by Leanne Banks was very original. After her best friend disappears, Hilary tries to get involved with the same men and is kidnapped into a white slavery ring. Hilary's parents send help in the form of Rick Santana to "buy her". My rating: 3.5 Stars.
My favorite story was by Pamela Britton. Kaitlyn is a scientist who finds herself in the middle of a shoot-out, only to be rescued by a biker. This is an on-the-run story which is one of my favorite themes. It was the only story where I felt the hero and heroine were really in love. My rating: 4.5 Stars.
The last story is by Kelsey Roberts and it has more of a mystery feel than romantic suspense. When Santas are being murdered at a local department store, Jack is sent to watch over the new CEO who he believes is the intended victim. My rating: 3 Stars.
This holiday season, four bestselling authors give the gift that keeps giving: gripping tales of special agents in a covert agency, out to protect the innocent...by any means necessary.
Snowball's Chance by Cherry Adair - Kendall decks the halls, unaware that a serial killer has her name at the top of his list. Of course, being naughty with the sexy good guy sent to protect her would be so nice.
Santa Slave by Leanne Banks - After her best friend disappears, Hilary takes matters into her own hands and finds herself caught in the throes of danger, while a hunky male operative hopes to mix pleasure with business.
Big, Bad Santa by Pamela Britton - Biologist Kaitlyn Logan's research is leading to a big scientific breakthrough...and mortal peril. When bullets start to fly, so do the sparks between Kaitlyn and her Santa-clad rescuer.
Killer Christmas by Kelsey Roberts - When several Santas are murdered at a swanky department store, the new CEO, Meghan Beckham, had better watch out, had better not cry--because a serial killer has come to town.