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Library JournalCarina’s third annual collection of holiday-themed novellas starts with “Wish List” by K.A. Mitchell (“The Christmas Proposition” in Men Under the Mistletoe). Jonah panics when he finds a set of wedding bands in his boyfriend’s desk. He loves Evan but isn’t sure he’s ready for total commitment when he has a lengthy list of sexual experiences he hasn’t tried, primarily of the bondage and submission variety. Evan discovers Jonah’s list and realizes Jonah may be more willing to accept Evan’s hidden Dominant side. But the secrets the men keep from each other may tear them apart first. In “I Need You for Christmas” by Leah Braemel (“Hauberk Protection” series), lovers Ryan, a sculptor, and Megan, a Mountie, have been kept apart for years by family and career demands, meeting every few months to keep their love strong. Megan’s public assertiveness bends to Ryan’s dominance in private, and the two enact a modern version of O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi” to bring their worlds together at last. In “Breath on Embers,” the award-winning Calhoun (Liberating Lacey) introduces Thea, whose grief over her late husband keeps her emotionally distant from her lover, Ronan, a firefighter. But Ronan plans to use the holiday spirit and Thea’s adventurous nature to wake her up, even if he has to add another man to their relationship for one night.
Verdict Carina offers another solid collection to meet the demand for Christmas-themed collections, with spicier fare to appeal to the recent surge in interest in erotica.—Melanie C. Duncan, Shurling Lib., Macon, GA(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.