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It Must Be Christmas: Three Holiday Stories
     

It Must Be Christmas: Three Holiday Stories

4.0 9
by Jennifer Crusie, Mandy Baxter, Donna Alward
 

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Previously published stories from New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Crusie, Mandy Baxter, and Donna Alward, these hot romantic stories share the spirit of love this season. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, when love is in the cold and frosty air—and desire reaches the boiling point…

Hot Toy
From New

Overview

Previously published stories from New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Crusie, Mandy Baxter, and Donna Alward, these hot romantic stories share the spirit of love this season. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, when love is in the cold and frosty air—and desire reaches the boiling point…

Hot Toy
From New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Crusie comes a hilarious, sexy story about a determined shopper who grabs the last action figure off the shelf, only to find herself plunged into the arms of a sexy secret agent. Mayhem under the mistletoe ensues. Business as usual this Christmas season…right?
Christmas with the Billionaire Rancher

Nate wants to stay away from all the women who want his money in Mandy Baxter’s story set deep in the heart of Texas. But when gorgeous do-gooder Chloe Benson comes knocking at his door—in search of funds for her charity—Nate can’t ignore the passion he feels for her. Maybe love is priceless after all?

Christmas at Seashell Cottage
’Tis the season in Jewell Cove when local doctor Charlie Yang finds her quiet, steady life disrupted by both an abandoned baby in the nativity manger and ex-SEAL Dave Ricker. Are these turn of events too good to be true? Or is Christmas working its magic—for real?

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
10/15/2016
Three novellas with a delightful assortment of settings sweep readers around the country with stories that highlight the vast variety among holiday experiences. A university librarian and a professor of Chinese lit (with a secret agenda) trade barbs and kisses as they spend Christmas Eve searching for an elusive action figure for a five-year-old in Crusie's nonstop chuckler "Hot Toy"; a small-town doctor and an ex-Navy SEAL dad are thrown together when they find a newborn in the Christmas crèche in Donna Alward's insightful "Christmas at Seashell Cottage"; and a wealthy rancher who wants nothing to do with his late father's money finds romance with the founder of a sports-related charity for at-risk kids in Mandy Baxter's steamy "Christmas with the Billionaire Rancher." VERDICT Spirited, refreshing, and brimming with holiday joy, this diverse trilogy delivers both sexy and sweet, providing a little something for everyone. Crusie, Alward, and Baxter live in New Jersey, Eastern Canada, and rural Idaho, respectively.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781250106377
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
10/04/2016
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
264,239
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.30(d)

Read an Excerpt

It Must Be Christmas


By Jennifer Crusie, Donna Alward, Mandy Baxter

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2015 Mandy Baxter
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-250-10638-4



CHAPTER 1

Trudy Maxwell pushed her way through the crowded old toy store, fed up with Christmas shopping, Christmas carols, Christmas in general, and toy stores in particular. Especially this toy store. For the worst one in town, it had an awful lot of people in it. Probably only on Christmas Eve, she thought, and stopped a harried-looking teenager wearing an apron and a name tag, accidentally smacking him with her lone shopping bag as she caught his arm. "Oh. Sorry. Listen, I need a Major MacGuffin."

The kid pulled his arm away. "You and everybody else, lady."

"Just tell me where they are," Trudy said, not caring she was being dissed by somebody who probably couldn't drive yet. Anything to get a homicidal doll that spit toxic waste.

"When we had them, they were in the back, row four, to the right. But those things have been gone since before Thanksgiving." The kid shrugged. "You shoulda tried eBay."

"And I would have, if I hadn't just found out I needed it today," Trudy said with savage cheerfulness. "So, row four, to the right? Thank you."

She threaded her way through the crowd, heading for the back of the store. Above her, Madonna cooed "Santa Baby," the ancient store speakers making the carol to sex and greed sound a little tinny. Whatever had happened to "The Little Drummer Boy"? That had been annoying, too, but in a traditional way, like fruitcake. She'd be happy to hear a "rum-pa-pum-pum" again, anything that didn't make Christmas sound like it was about getting stuff.

Especially since she was desperate to get some stuff.

The crowd thinned out as she got to the back of the store. Halfway down the last section of the fourth row, she found the dusty, splintered wood shelf marked with a card that said: Major MacGuffin, the Tough One Two. It was, of course, empty.

"Damn," she said, and turned to look at the shelf next to it, hoping a careless stock boy might have —

Six feet two of broad-shouldered, dark-haired grave disappointment stood there, looking as startled as she was, and her treacherous heart lurched sideways at the sight.

"Uh, merry Christmas, Trudy," Nolan Mitchell said, clearly wishing he were somewhere else.

Yes, this makes my evening, she thought, and turned away.

"Trudy?"

"I don't talk to strangers," Trudy said over her shoulder, and tried to ignore her pounding heart to concentrate on the lack of MacGuffins in front of her. She'd been polite and well behaved with Nolan Mitchell for three dates, and he'd still dumped her, so the hell with him.

"Look, I'm sorry I didn't call —"

"I really don't care," Trudy said, keeping her back to him. "In October, I cared.

In November, I decided you were a thoughtless, inconsiderate loser. And in December, I forgot all about you."

Madonna sang, "Been an awful good girl," and Trudy thought, Like I had a choice. The least he could have done was seduce her before he abandoned her.

"It's not like I seduced and abandoned you," he said, and when she turned and glared at him, he added, "Okay, wrong thing to say. I really am sorry I didn't call. Work got crazy —"

"You're a literature professor," Trudy said. "Chinese literature. How can that get craz —" She shook her head. "Never mind. You didn't like me, you didn't call, I don't care." She turned back to the shelf, concentrating on not concentrating on Nolan. So it was empty. That didn't necessarily mean there were no MacGuffins. Maybe —

"Okay, I'm the rat here," Nolan said, with the gravelly good humor in his voice that had made her weaken and agree to go out the fourth time he'd asked her even though he was a lit professor, even though she'd known better.

The silence stretched out and he added, "It was rude and inconsiderate of me."

She thought, So he has a nice voice, so he's sorry, big deal, and tried hard to ignore him, and then he said, "Come on. It's Christmas. Peace on earth. Goodwill to men. I'm a man."

You certainly are, her id said.

We've been through this, she told her baser self. He's no good. We don't like him. He's bad for us.

"Okay, so you've forgotten I exist. That means we can start over." He came around her and stuck his hand out. "Hi. I'm Nolan Mitchell and I —"

"No," Trudy said, annoyed with herself for wanting to take his hand. "We can't start over. You were a grave disappointment. Grave disappointments do not get do-overs."

She turned away again and put her mind back on the MacGuffin. Okay, this was the worst toy store in the city, so the inventory control had to be lousy. If somebody had shoved a box to one side ...

She dropped her shopping bag and began to methodically take down the faded boxes of toys to the right of the empty MacGuffin shelf. They were ancient but evidently not valuable Star Wars figures, a blast from her past. There was a little Han Solo in Nolan, she thought. Maybe that was why she'd fallen for him. It wasn't him at all, it was George Lucas and that damn light saber. She put Nolan out of her mind and kept taking down boxes until she reached the last layer. None of them were MacGuffins.

"Trudy, look, I —"

"Go away; I have problems."

"You have Star Wars problems?"

"No. I have Major MacGuffin problems. If you know where to get one, I will talk to you. Otherwise, leave."

"I can't." Nolan smiled at her sheepishly. "I'm looking for a MacGuffin, too."

"I figured you more for the Barbie type." Trudy started to stack the boxes back on the shelf again.

"No, no, I'm a collector." Nolan picked up a box and put it back for her, and she thought about telling him to go away again, but she really didn't want to put all the boxes back by herself. "It's important to get the toys mint in the box." He held up a box with a crumpled corner. "See, this is no good."

"Thank you for sharing." Trudy put another box back. When he continued to help, she decided he could put them back by himself and moved to the dusty boxes to the left of the empty MacGuffin shelf. Action figures from The Fantastic Four. The store really did have an inventory problem; those were completely out-of-date. Well, if there wasn't a Mac to the right, there would be one to the left. Life could not be so cruel as to send her a Nolan but not a MacGuffin.

She began to methodically remove every Fantastic Four box on the shelf, while Nolan restocked the Star Wars figures and tried to make small talk about the MacGuffin, asking her if she'd bought one there before, if she shopped in the store often, if she knew anybody who'd bought one there. She ignored him until she'd pulled out the last box and there was still no MacGuffin, and then she took a deep breath. Okay, Plan B. Maybe on the other side of the shelf ...

"Trudy, I —"

"Unless you have a MacGuffin, I'm not interested."

"Okay," he said. "I understand." He put the last of the Star Wars boxes back and smiled at her. "Have a great Christmas and a happy new year, Trudy."

He turned to go and she turned back to the shelf, irrationally depressed that he was going. She wanted him to go, that was the point

She heard him say, "Hello, Reese," and then somebody else said, "Hey, I heard you guys talking about the MacGuffins. You found any?" and Trudy looked up to see the kind of guy who looked like he'd say "dude" a lot: early twenty-something, clueless face, muscled shoulders, tousled hair. The only non-surfer thing about him was his shopping bag with a pink confetti-printed box sticking out of the top. Both the box and the guy looked vaguely familiar, but Trudy couldn't place either one.

He grinned at her. "Hey, Miss Maxwell, you're lookin' good."

Trudy looked closer but still didn't recognize him.

"You don't remember me." His grin widened with forgiveness, and he added, "I sure remember you," and Trudy thought, What a shame he's too young for me.

I could seduce him in front of Nolan.

He stepped closer. "I'm Reese Daniels, your father's research assistant last year. You helped me find that book on the Ming Dynasty your father wanted. You know, in the library."

"Good place to find books," Nolan said, his voice considerably cooler than it had been when he'd talked to her.

"Right. Reese. Got it," Trudy said, placing him now as the guy her father had called the most inept RA of his career.

Reese smiled at her. "I sure have missed your dad since he went to London."

"Oh, we all have," Trudy lied, and stuck out her hand. "Call me Trudy." She looked at Nolan. "You can call me Miss Maxwell," she said to him. "No, wait, you're not going to call me at all. Weren't you leaving?" Reese still held on to her hand, so she took it back.

He nodded to Nolan. "So you and Professor Mitchell found a MacGuffin?"

"Professor Mitchell and I are not together." Trudy picked up her shopping bag and moved around both of them. "And I haven't found a MacGuffin yet. But I will."

Reese followed her around to the next row and the other side of the empty MacGuffin shelf. "Well, I'm not sorry you're not with Professor Mitchell, Trudy," he said when they'd rounded the corner. "I never got the chance to get to know you better. Your dad worked me pretty hard. But the best part about being his RA was always seeing you."

"Thank you." Okay, for some reason this infant was trying to pick her up. Whatever. She had problems, so later for him.

Trudy zeroed in on the boxes that backed up against the MacGuffin shelf. Dolls this time, with big heads and miniskirts and too much eye makeup. Too bad Leroy wasn't a girl; she could have loaded him up with pop-tarts. But no, he had to have a violent, antisocial 'Guffin.

"Men." She put her shopping bag down again and began to take the dolls off the shelf. Over the tops she could see Nolan restocking Fantastic Fours. He shook his head at her, probably disgusted she was flirting with an infant like Reese, and she turned away to see the infant looking at her, confused.

"Men?" he said. "Did I say something wrong?"

"What?" Trudy said, stacking doll boxes on the floor. "Oh, not you. My nephew, Leroy. He's five and he wants a Major MacGuffin doll, and of course, I can't find one."

"Yeah, you had to shop early for those," Reese said, sounding sympathetic. "So I guess you haven't seen one here?"

"I would have shopped early if I'd known his father wasn't going to get him one," Trudy said, exasperated. "But since his father told me he was going to, I didn't."

"So what are you doing over here?" Reese frowned, looking at the dolls she was taking down.

"I'm looking for a misplaced MacGuffin. This place is pretty sloppy, and I'm hoping there's one stuck at the back of a shelf someplace because if there isn't, I'm screwed." She took the last box down and faced another empty shelf.

On the other side, Nolan looked serious as he put back the last of the Fantastic Four boxes. He couldn't possibly care that she was talking to Reese. Unless he was one of those guys who didn't want something until somebody else wanted it. He hadn't seemed like that kind of guy.

He'd seemed pretty much perfect: smart, funny, kind, thoughtful ...

Ignore him, she told herself, and started to put the boxes back. Okay, suppose I was hiding a toy so I could come back and get it later, maybe when I had more money. I found the last MacGuffin, but I didn't have enough to pay for it, so I needed to hide it. The first thing I'd do is go to another row of shelves so nobody who wanted one would trip over it accidentally.

Nolan came around the end of the shelf and started to say something and then saw all the doll boxes on the floor. "Great."

Trudy ignored him to smile at Reese and then picked up her bag to go look in a different aisle.

"So no MacGuffin," Reese said. "Really sorry about that."

"Yep," Trudy said, and then stopped when she caught another glimpse of the pink confetti-patterned box sticking out of Reese's shopping bag. "What is that?"

He looked down. "This? It's some nail polish doll my niece wanted."

Nail polish doll? Trudy reached down and pulled the box out of the bag. "Oh, my God," she said, looking closer at the Pepto-Bismol pink box that said: Twinkletoes! in silver sparkly paint. "This doll is twenty-five years old!"

"I think it's a reissue," Reese said, sounding confused as he tried to take it back.

"Is the box mint?" Nolan said, and Reese frowned at him and tugged on the box again.

"A reissue." Trudy held on to the box. Her sister would have a heart attack if she knew they were making these again. She brought the box closer to see through the clear plastic. Yep, it was the same pouting blonde bimbo, Princess Twinkletoes, and there at the bottom next to Twinkletoes' fat little feet was the same pink plastic manicure set with three heart-shaped bottles of polish — pink, silver, and purple — that had made Courtney's six-year-old heart beat faster, the Hot Toy of 1981. "Where did you get this?"

Reese yanked the box from her hands and nodded to the next row. "Over there," he said, sliding the box back into his bag. "There are a lot of them."

Trudy rounded the corner to see the Twinkletoes shelf, crammed full of hot pink boxes. Evidently lightning did not strike twice; Twink was clearly not the Hot Toy of 2006. You get a little age on you and nobody wants you, Trudy thought. Well, unless you were Barbie. That bitch lasted forever. Trudy picked up a Twinkletoes box.

Reese came to stand beside her. "Your nephew wants a doll?"

"This is the doll my little sister never got," Trudy said. And she could use some payback this Christmas.

"How old's your little sister?"

"Thirty-one."

"Oh."

Trudy looked up at the confusion in his voice. "Courtney was supposed to get this the Christmas she was six, but my dad forgot. He told her it fell off Santa's sleigh."

"Uh huh," Reese said, probably trying to picture her academic father talking about Santa.

"That was his line for whenever he forgot the Christmas presents," Trudy said, thinking of Leroy, waiting at home for his MacGuffin. If she didn't find a MacGuffin, would she be reduced to the "fell off the sleigh" line?

Never.

"Did he forget a lot?" Reese said, sympathy in his voice.

"Pretty much every year. You know professors. Absentminded." Trudy shook her head. "Never mind. I'm rambling. My mind's on my sister and my nephew."

"Well, hey, it's Christmas. That's where your mind is supposed to be. Family." Reese smiled at her, gripping his own Twinkletoes box. "Listen, I have to get going, but maybe we can have coffee sometime?"

"Sure." Trudy smiled back at him automatically, her mind on the Twinkletoes. Would a gift that was a couple of decades late distract Courtney from her divorce?

Hell, it couldn't hurt.

Reese walked away, and she looked closer at the Twinkletoes box in her hands. It had a crumpled corner and she remembered what Nolan had said. The box should be mint. She put her shopping bag down and began to take the Twinkletoes boxes off the shelf. Courtney was going to get a perfect Twinkletoes, pink box and all.

Nolan came around the end of the row and sighed when he saw the boxes on the floor.

"Go away." Trudy took down the next pink box.

"Listen, is there anything I can do to make you not so mad?"

"Mad? I'm not mad." Trudy studied the Twinkletoes box. Smudge on the top. She dropped it on Nolan's foot. "Why would I be mad?"

He picked it up. "That's what I asked."

She pulled another Twinkletoes box off the shelf and shoved it at him. "Okay, here's why I'm mad. I didn't want to go out with you because you were a professor, and I grew up with a professor, and it was no fun because you get forgotten a lot because your dad is thinking about something that happened four millennia ago, so I said no, four times I said no, but you kept at me and I weakened and went out and I really liked you, you bastard, and you were smart and you were funny" — she shoved another box at him — "and I thought, gee, maybe this will work out, maybe this is a professor who won't forget, but evidently it was just the thrill of the chase or something because you dropped me" — she threw the next box at him and he caught it, balancing it with the first two — "and I never knew why since you never bothered to tell me; you just fell right off the sleigh —"

"Sleigh?" Nolan said.

"... so I'm a little upset with you."

Nolan sighed. "Look, you changed."

"Of course I changed," Trudy snapped. "It's been three months. I've grown. I've matured. I'm in a new and better place now. A place without you. Go away." She went back to the Twinkletoes shelf, pulling boxes off at random and dropping them on the floor, appalled to realize that she was close to tears. He did not matter to her; the fact that she'd thought he was darling was immaterial; the fact that she'd told her sister he might be The One was immaterial; the fact that her father had said, Nolan Mitchell, that's a little out of your league, isn't it? was ... Well, her father was a jerk, so that didn't count.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from It Must Be Christmas by Jennifer Crusie, Donna Alward, Mandy Baxter. Copyright © 2015 Mandy Baxter. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Jennifer Crusie was researching her dissertation on the differences in the way men and women tell stories when she got sidetracked into writing romance novels.

Her first book was published in 1993 (which pretty much finished off any hope of her getting that PhD).

While bestselling author Donna Alward was busy studying Austen, Eliot and Shakespeare, she was also losing herself in the breathtaking stories created by romance novelists like LaVyrle Spencer, Judith McNaught, and Nora Roberts. Several years after completing her degree she decided to write a romance of her own and it was true love! Five years and ten manuscripts later she sold her first book and launched a new career. While her heartwarming stories of love, hope, and homecoming have been translated into several languages, hit bestseller lists and won awards, her very favorite thing is when she hears from happy readers!
Mandy Baxter lives in rural Idaho. She's a part-time pet wrangler, a full-time sun worshiper, and only goes out into the cold when coerced. She loves black clothes, pink appliances and thinks junk food should be a recognized food group. In the summer, she can be found sitting by the lake, enjoying the view from her dock.

Donna lives on Canada's east coast with her family which includes a husband, a couple of kids, a senior dog and two crazy cats. When she's not writing she enjoys reading (of course!), knitting, gardening, cooking...and is a Masterpiece Theater addict.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Ohio
Date of Birth:
1949
Place of Birth:
Ohio
Education:
B.A., Bowling Green State University, 1973; M.A., Wright State University; Ph.D., Ohio University, 1986

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It Must Be Christmas: Three Holiday Stories 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
gaele More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars – rounded - 3 Previously Released stories I have already read one of the three stories in this anthology, a single novella release from last year. Hot Toy by Jennifer Crusie is a rom-com novella that I found left me with questions and a solid lack of character development. Although I’m sure fans of the author would enjoy it, I haven’t yet found another title from her to pique my interest. Next up are the stories from Mandy Baxter and Donna Alward, both authors that are new to me – so let’s see what they bring. Christmas with the Billionaire Rancher from Mandy Baxter, and I’ll be honest: billionaires in any and every form aren’t exactly burning up my must-read list. But, being fair to the author, the connection between Nate and Chloe, if a bit contrived because of his money, did ring true, and the story (and Chloe’s intentions) were built to tug at heartstrings. Solid writing, steamy moments and a huge growth trajectory for Nate made this story intriguing. Lastly is Donna Alward’s sweet story, Christmas at Seashell Cottage. A story of two broken people running to find that ‘missing’ piece in a small town, but afraid and unable to open up and share themselves because of their pasts. Sometimes a bit of Christmas spirit and plenty of hope, with a twist to throw everyone out of their comfort zone is all you need. I love and hate anthologies for one reason: the ability to sample new authors and find favorites often comes with the flip-side that reinforces why another author hasn’t been added to my tbr pile. While this anthology will get a solid 3.5 rating from me, this is solidly down to the writing of Donna Alward and the sweetness with which she shared a complete and rich story in a novella, not a common occurrence. This is a good sampler for readers either familiar with one of these authors, or none of them, who want three very different holiday infused stories. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions and expectations are my own responsibility.
13835877 28 days ago
It Must by Christmas is combination of three adorable short stories to get you in the Christmas spirit. The stories have not only romance, but some steam and even a little action. My favorite of the three stories was Christmas at Seashell Cottage. I mean who doesn't love a story with a sexy ex-SEAL? Plus, Jewell Cove sounds like my dream Christmas town!
trosado More than 1 year ago
4 STARS (Rating average between the three separate novellas) Hot Toy - 5 Stars I had previously read Hot Toy a year ago and absolutely loved it. In fact, it's, by far, my favorite among the three novellas included in this book. It's a clean read with signature Jennifer Crusie humor. I found the single POV narration to be unusual for a Crusie story, but I loved it all the same. You may want to go into this one prepared to suspend some belief, but enjoy the ride anyway. Lighter on the romance, but heavy on the fun. Christmas at Seashell Cottage - 3.75 Stars This story is book 1.5 in Donna Alward's Jewell Cove series. It stands on its own and gives a nice glimpse into the series. This novella is the longer story of the three coming in at nearly 200 pages. On the rare occasions that I read a novellas, I prefer them on the longer side in order to give the story a bit more character and story development. I was pleased that it felt more like a full length book and that it didn't leave me wanting more. I did find the ending a bit rushed as far as how the romance progressed, but at the same time, it wasn't entirely implausible. Christmas with the Billionaire Rancher - 4 Stars This story revolved around Nate and Chloe. Nate's father has died and has left a vast fortune for Nate and his brothers. Chloe runs a non-profit that helps inner city kids. When she approaches Nate looking for a sizable donation, the beginning of a romantic entanglement begins instead. First, I want to say that I enjoyed the premise of this story and the writing was well done. My only struggle was the explicitness which made it an odd fit with the other two novellas in this collection. There was a vast gulf between the first two stories and this one and it came as a bit of a shock after reading the first two novellas.
mamalovestoread22 More than 1 year ago
In this book you'll find three enchanting stories with a holiday twist, each one unique, each one equipped with a sexy alpha that is sure to make all your Christmas's wishes true!! In Hot Toy by Jennifer Crusie you will meet a very determined Trudy Maxwell on the hunt for the perfect Christmas gift for her nephew, which takes her to a very busy toy store, and running smack dab into the man who she fell hard for, after three blissful dates, and then he just disappeared in the wind. Now all she wants is answers, but before she can get them danger strikes and her life is turned upside down... In Christmas with the Billionaire Rancher by Mandy Baxter you will meet billionaire bachelor Nate Christensen, and the woman who steals his heart Chloe Benson. Nate comes from a wealthy family, and with wealth comes gold digging women looking for the keys to a better life. Which has caused Nate to have to put his guard up, and put a "no strings attached" plan in place... but the minute he meets Chloe that plan starts to falter!! In Christmas at Seashell Cottage by Donna Alward you will meet Jewell Coves' doctor Charlie Yang and the man who manages to win her heart ex- SEAL Dave Ricker. Charlie came to Jewell Cove for a simpler life, with the hope of someday finding love, but past disappointments in that department have left her with doubts that she will ever be able to find it. But when Dave unexpectedly enters her life she begins to think that maybe her wish just might come true after all... I thoroughly enjoyed this one, each story brought smiles, stirred my emotions, had me swooning and left me longing for Christmas! Highly recommend you give this one a try it's sure to put you in the Christmas spirit!! ARC requested through NetGalley and kindly provided by St. Martin's Paperbacks in exchange for a honest and unbiased review.
toniFMAMTC More than 1 year ago
Hot Toy I had the best time reading this romantic comedy novella. The laughs started almost immediately and played out like a holiday family movie. All that can go wrong does, but it also goes very right. While last minute insanity shopping for the most popular toy of the season for her nephew, Trudy gets caught up in a battle between government agents. The dialogue is truly great. The cast is made up of an ex, cougar bait, a drunken sister and other crazies. The one goal in Trudy's mind is to get that toy no matter what. This is a great light read for getting into the Christmas spirit while tickling your funny bone. It left me with a good feeling. Christmas at Seashell Cottage This story is about two people who didn't really know what they were missing until they found each other. Actually, both felt that something was lacking in their lives, but they weren't sure how to find what they needed. It's a serious storyline that deals with everyday difficulties in life and love. Charlie is a doctor who moved to Jewell Cove to get away from the city. She still doesn't quite feel like a local though. Dave is an ex SEAL who is also new to town. They go through some grown up problems and have a realistic romance. Christmas at Seashell Cottage is for those looking for a small town Christmas read with some depth, some ups and downs and a happy ending. Christmas With the Billionaire Rancher Nate's father hasn't treated him well. Now, after his father's death, Nate inherits most of his father's wealth. He can't think of a worse fate than having to schmooze with the rich or entertain the social climbers. Chloe isn't one of the usual golddiggers. Yes, she first approaches him for money for her charity, but all intentions are soon thrown out the window. These two go at it hot and heavy right away, sending Christmas with the Billionaire Rancher into the naughty holiday reads category. Things get turned around and misunderstandings happen, but love and great sex help to mend the hurts. The overall theme of family is quite strong also. And what a family with all those hot brothers! I recommend this to someone looking for some sexy fun.
Bette313 More than 1 year ago
Three wonderful holiday stories that will provide hours of entertainment this holiday season. Definitely a recommended read! Hot Toy by Jennifer Crusie - 4 stars - This is a hilarious parity on the lengths we will go to get that "hot" toy of the season for our loved little ones. So funny you will find yourself laughing so hard you'll need a tissue or two. While I've never found myself in the middle of a spy game for that special toy, it did bring back some great memories of the frustrations of finding the it gift of the season. If your looking for a little levity and release from the rush of the season, this story will do it. Christmas with the Billionaire Rancher by Mandy Baxter - 5 stars - The last thing Nate Christensen wants are the millions his father left him in his will. No wait, the last thing he wants is some woman wanting to get her hands on all that money. That is until he meets Chloe Benson. She seems to be the one woman he can't get out of his mind! Does she only want him for his money though?? Considering her fledgling charity that seems like a possibility. This was an excellent story! The chemistry between Nate and Chloe was sizzling hot! Christmas at Seashell Cottage by Donna Alward - 5 stars - This is a fantastically heartwarming story that will get you into the holiday spirit! All alone at Christmas Charlie hopes for more but she ends up getting way more than she bargained for when a baby and a HOT SEAL land in her lap! Great story with characters that will have you cheering and the small town of Jewell Cove comes alive with holiday cheer.
stanhope3234 More than 1 year ago
Christmas with the Billionaire Rancher Mandy Baxter 3* I enjoyed the hero and heroine. Nate was the typical wounded soul and Chloe a strong confident woman with a backbone of steel. It was great to read a simple romance. It kept my full attention and I can't wait to read the next books in the series. Hot Toy Jennifer Crusie 5* I loved this story. It was full Christmas cheer, dark humor and a ton of sarcasm, just my type of story. Trudy need the new Mac Gruff spitting acid doll for her nephew, to bad she didn't know that before Christmas Eve. Going to the last store she could find she searches the shelves and also runs into the man she thought was the one, Nolan. To bad he didn't call again after their fourth date. Nolan follows her around he store cleaning up after her with her telling him to go away. Desperate to make her nephews Christmas morning she ends up in the middle of a criminal ring. You will laugh out loud. This is one of the best short Christmas stories I've read in a long time. Christmas at Seashell Cottage Donna Alward 3.25* I loved the ending of this story. Two lost souls finding their way to the one their meant to be with, after finding a baby in the manger. Jewell Cove a cozy little town in Maine Charlene "Charlie" Yang to local doctor and David Ricker dock worker are both strong characters but stubbornly guarded. Charlie the list and plan maker while Dave more lived buy the seat of his pants neither of them giving themselves a chance at love. My problem with the short story was that it dragged in the middle. It was to drawn out, it could of been half as long a been so much more enjoyable.
caroldh4 More than 1 year ago
RATING 4.5 STARS It Must Be Christmas: Three Holiday Stories is an anthology of stories by Jennifer Crusie, Donna Alward and Mandy Baxter. These are three very different stories, ranging from hilarious and crazy to sweet to sexy that are sure to put you in the holiday mood. I received this book in exchange for an honest review from St. Martin’s Press. Hot Toy by Jennifer Crusie It’s Christmas Eve and Trudy Maxwell is in the toy store in a last ditch effort to get her five year old nephew the Major MacGuffin doll he wants for Christmas. It HAS to be the brand new Major MacGuffin doll that spits toxic waste. It’s here that Trudy runs in to Nolan Mitchell, a man that she went on three dates with and really liked. She thought it might be the start of something good but then he never called. Now he’s here and won’t leave her alone. This starts a night of crazy mayhem and a Christmas that Trudy will never forget. She finds herself thrust right in to the middle of a spy thriller, complete with double agents, hidden information, and yes, even guns. You are kept guessing who is the bad guy and who is the good guy. Are any of them really who they say they are? I loved this one. It kept me smiling and on the edge of my seat. Christmas at Seashell Cottage by Donna Alward Dr. Charlie Yang has moved to Jewell Cove, Maine to try to find happiness. Growing up she was forced to live a certain way. Now she just wants to belong. It’s almost Christmas and Charlie finds herself face to face with the man she has been ogling for several weeks now from afar. A shocking surprise brings Charlie and Dave, together but each has serious issues stemming from past experiences. This was a sweet Christmas story about two people looking for something missing from their lives but each of them has trouble opening their heart for fear of being hurt. As they deal with the situation they found themselves thrust into, they try to find a way to also be together. It’s been a slow process but in her time of need, Charlie finally realizes that she’s not as alone as she thought in Jewel Cove when the townspeople reach out to help her. "Sometimes the best things happened when you least expected them." Christmas With the Billionaire Rancher by Mandy Baxter Nate Christensen and his three brothers’ father had money, lots and lots of money and power. But he believed his sons needed to make their own way. So he gave them nothing to help them along as they grew up. He was a powerful man and ran his Petroleum empire right up until he dropped dead of a heart attack. Now his sons are told that he has left his entire fortune to them. What he wouldn’t share with them in life, he gave to them in death. Nate, though, has nothing but anger and resentment towards his father. He is now an ex-Navy Seal and didn’t even let his father know he was back from having served. Now that his father is gone, he wants nothing to do with the money that scarred him throughout his life. Chloe Benson needs money and lots of it. She runs a foundation that provides sports and equipment to underprivileged kids. If it weren’t for her, these kids would be on the streets. But her funding has run out. If she doesn’t find a new source of support by Christmas Eve, her doors will close. She had every intention of asking Nate for a chunk of the inheritance he just received. But one word, one touch from him, and all thoughts of her intentions were out the door. All she could think of was h
Lashea677 More than 1 year ago
It Must be Christmas is emotional smorgasbord of fun. Humour and drama with an air mystery makes for a warm winter read. Hot Toys by Jennifer Crusie - Ms. Crusie turns a holiday shopping trip into an action packed, fantasy adventure in Hot Toys. Hilarious, thrill ride. Christmas with the Billionaire Rancher by Mandy Baxter - Chloe and Nate found each other at the right time in their lives. When neither was looking they up and fell in love. Mandy Baxter takes her readers on a journey that is combustible. Her characters have personalities that range from volatile to moody yet can still entice the reader into a world of sensual pleasure. Christmas with the Billionaire Rancher deals with the important subject of PTSD in a way that is enlightening and encouraging. Christmas at Seashell Cove by Donna Alward - Get ready to fall in love. Dr. Yang is about to come face to face with her future. Will she recognize it? Donna Alward knows the right buttons to push to bring on the waterworks and keep me coming back.