Tag Archives: Holiday

His Heart’s Desire by JP Barnaby

His Heart's DesireHis Heart’s Desire by J.P. Barnaby

Released 2 December 2015

Published by J.P. Barnaby

Sales link: Amazon

Blurb:

If Santa Claus could have one wish, what would it be?

Each century, Father Time selects a new Santa Claus. In return for his service, the lucky St Nick receives his heart’s greatest desire. Unfortunately, Matthew Carpenter is down to his last night as Santa and has no idea what his heart desires.

Short story previously released as part of the ‘Twas a Dark and Delicious Christmas, Manlove Edition anthology.

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Our thoughts:

Matthew is fulfilling his duties as Santa for the last time. Someone in his family has taken the role on for generations. Matthew accepted the conditions of the job 100 years ago. Now, his contract is up and Father Time is going to grant his one wish. The one thing his heart desires most.

For Matthew, that desire is not wealth, it’s to simply be loved, give love and not be alone. Father Time is quite wise and already knows what Matthew wants, so he brings his old childhood friend, Luca.

The mix of present, past and fantasy elements was interesting. Luca was almost suspended in time and brought to Matthew 100 years later, and only aged the same as Matthew would be once he reverted back to the age prior to taking on the Santa task. The two have always liked each other but in their past time and place it would have been impossible to be together. Now they have that choice but where will they go what will they do?

A very different story from JP Barnaby. I found it whimsical. What Luca and Matthew choose to do is kinda sweet and unexpected. The cover really doesn’t convey anything this book is about and maybe that’s an intended surprise.

Snowed In by Teodora Kostova

Snowed InSnowed In by Teodora Kostova

Released 30 November 2015

Published by Teodora Kostova

Sales link: Amazon

Blurb:

Be careful what you wish for…

Nate has been in love with Quinn, his brother’s best friend, for as long as he can remember. But when he finally gets the chance to show Quinn how he feels, his heart gets broken in the most unexpected way.

Second chances come when you least expect them…

Quinn doesn’t believe in miracles, especially not Christmas ones. When he decides to win Nate back he knows it won’t be easy. The last thing he expects is a health scare, a road trip and a vicious snow storm to work in his favor.

In the end, a cabin in the woods turns out to be not only the shelter they desperately need, but also Quinn’s very own Christmas miracle.

Sometimes, to forgive, you need to get snowed in…

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Our thoughts:

Snowed In was everything I love in a holiday short. Snow. Tree decorating. A cabin. Some sassy times and a whole lot of hot, sexy times.

Nate had his heart broken after one night with the man of his dreams, Quinn. Quinn was Nate’s brother’s best friend and Nate really put himself out there to tell Quinn how he felt. He gave him his heart, they had one night and then Quinn left.

Fast forward two years and Quinn is back to set things right with Nate. He had a good reason for leaving, now he just has to hope Nate will understand and forgive him. Although the whole separation could have been avoided, I admired Quinn for what he did to help a friend. The impact could have been devastating and long-lasting. He was sacrificing his future, his love.

Nate was pretty angry and we go through a good portion of this short with him giving Quinn some much deserved grief. Once he knows the whole story, it’s impossible for Nate to remain angry. He must let it go and move forward because Quinn still has his heart. If he can’t forgive, he’ll never be happy and with his true love.

Kostova not only brings the sweet moments, cooking dinner, tree decorating, dancing, playing in the snow and much needed conversations to clear the air. She also brings to the story some seriously sexy times for Quinn and Nate. They’re very sensual and their connection is intense. They’re never rushed to get off but take their time to touch, taunt and drive each other crazy with need.

Snowed In was a perfect holiday story!

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!

The Winter Spirit by Indra Vaughn

The Winter SpiritThe Winter Spirit by Indra Vaughn

Released November 16, 2015

Published by Indra Ink

Cover Art by WickedSmart Designs

Sales link: Amazon, All Romance eBooks

Blurb:

Nathaniel O’Donnelly likes his life quiet, his guests happy, and his ghosts well-behaved.

Although a boyfriend wouldn’t go amiss. Someone to share his beautiful B&B with, even if it is in the middle of nowhere and he’s long past the wrong side of thirty. Problem is, Nathaniel’s living with a ghost who thinks he’s cupid, and whose arrows fly a little too straight.

Gabriel Wickfield had the unfortunate luck of dying before his time, and now he’s stuck trying to make romance happen to earn his right to move along. Not that he’s bored in the meantime—Nathaniel is just too easy to tease. And also a little bit scrumptious…

With the curse reaching its expiration date, Gabriel needs to make a final match this Christmas. Without it, nothing but darkness awaits.

Love can conquer all, but can it beat death?

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Our Thoughts:

I love reading winter or holiday stories this time of year. This year there has been an interesting variety, as far as genres, to choose from. The Winter Spirit novella was a beautiful story from start to finish.

In The Winter Spirit, Nathaniel, the proprietor of the Lake House Bed and Breakfast in Michigan has an interesting visitor. Gabriel is a ghost that has appeared through mirrors in the B&B since Nathaniel took over the place after his uncle passed away. At first Gabriel comes across as a prankster. Locking Nate and Elisa, Nate’s only employee, in closets and rooms. Sometimes Gabriel will rattle items or turn off lights. A prankster. In reality, Gabriel is a matchmaker. He tries to match couples visiting the B&B and he’s tried tirelessly to find love for Elisa and Nate.

Nathaniel and Gabriel start to have a deeper connection and a different relationship as time nears the 100th anniversary of Gabriel’s death. Gabriel becomes less ethereal and more solid, real. Now there’s nothing to keep the feelings back. Nathaniel and Gabriel give into their carnal needs and give with all their heart. But, Gabriel is still dead. He’s still a ghost and what happens after he returns to his ethereal state again?

The Winter Spirit is a pleasantly captivating story of unlikely love. It stretches your thoughts and preconceived notions on death and spirits. It’s also a sweet love story that is told with calm and light. The moments between Gabriel and Nathaniel are tasteful, discreet and extremely sensual. A nice blend of past traditions and present inhibitions, these two define a slow, deep love.

Another pleasantly perfect holiday story!

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!!

BLOG TOUR: Champagne Kisses by Lynda Aicher

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Today we’re thrilled to welcome Lynda Aicher to 3 Chicks After Dark as part of the blog tour for Champagne Kisses. You can check out Kristy’s fantastic review of this holiday romance here. Welcome, Lynda!

HOLIDAY WEDDINGS

In Champagne Kisses, Evan Cleary is an event planner charged with pulling together a rather large Christmas Eve wedding in a few short weeks. A crazy endeavor at any time of the year, but even more so during the mad crush of the holiday season.

This got me thinking about holiday weddings in general. I’ve attended one such wedding in the frozen north of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The wedding was held on the weekend between Christmas and New Year’s, so not exactly on the holiday but during the season. I asked why they’d chosen the timing, thinking it was something romantic like they loved the season or it was when they’d met or got engaged. Nope. It was simply convenient. They lived in Arizona and having their wedding at that time minimized their trips home plus it was when most of their extended family was in the area. I must admit my romantic heart took a little dive at that point.

A wedding is often an overwhelming event no matter how small you try to keep it. I personally couldn’t imagine planning a wedding during an already chaotic and busy time of year. Also, people are so overbooked during the holiday season, I think I’d feel guilty asking anyone to fit a wedding into their schedule. But that’s just me.

I can also see the romance of a holiday wedding. Of riding on the seasonal cheer with red velvet bridesmaid’s dresses and twinkling lights. Of something different than the standard summer wedding décor. White snowfalls (if you live in the north) and Christmas carols and spiked eggnog. And with my luck, a blizzard would trap everyone at home—or at the reception. Now that would make for a fun snowed-in Christmas story…

What are your thoughts on a holiday wedding? Yay or nay?

ABOUT CHAMPAGNE KISSES

Champagne KissesThe Christmas Eve wedding Evan Cleary pulled together in four weeks is crashing down around him and taking his fledgling event planning business with it. With an empty altar and over a hundred guests arriving soon, he turns to the resistant, gorgeous brother of the runaway groom for help.

When Richard Patterson’s flamboyant brother storms out hours before he’s scheduled to marry his equally dramatic partner, Richard is left dealing with the fallout. The last thing he wants is more drama, yet he can’t deny his attraction to the effeminate event planner trying to salvage the wedding.

Evan thinks his crush on Richard is a lost cause, but one steaming kiss later, he learns different. What starts as a night of hot sex turns into a connection neither expected. But Evan knows their relationship is hopeless unless the ultra-conservative Richard can embrace every part of him—both in private and in public.

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ABOUT LYNDA AICHER

I love to read. It’s a simple fact about me that has been true since I discovered the worlds of Judy Blume at the age of ten. This love of reading transferred to young romance (the early version of Young Adult when the stories weren’t plagued by vampires, werewolves, and death) which hooked me on the romance genre and the fulfillment that comes with a happy-ever-after ending.

Twenty-five years later, I’m still an avid reader of all types of romance. The diversity of writing in the market ensures that there is always something new to read. I’m still a sucker for the happy-ever-after because there are more than enough not-so-happy endings in the real world that I don’t need to read about them. I read a book for enjoyment and I want to feel good when the story ends.

I have the luxury of being a full-time writer, that is, a full-time writer around my duties as mom, wife, cleaner, cook, chauffeur, master scheduler, banker, cheerleader, volunteer, and tutor. Writing has to be a priority, or it would never happen.

I live in the Pacific Northwest which provides many months of rain-filled incentive to stay indoors and write. However, I’m a Midwesterner at heart. A perfect day has the snow falling outside, a fire warming the room, a football game on the television, a roast cooking in the oven, my family hanging out around me and a good book to read.

I’m thrilled to be nominated for a 2015 Romance Writers of America RITA® award (that’s the Oscars of the romance world) for my Male/Male book Bonds of Denial. This is the first time any M/M books have been nominated and I’m humbled to be a part of such a great event.

CONNECT WITH LYNDA:

WEBSITE / FACEBOOK / TWITTER

 

GIVEAWAY

To celebrate the release of Champagne Kisses, Lynda Aicher is giving away a $50 gift card to Amazon! Your first comment at each stop on this tour enters you in the drawing. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 19, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries.  Follow the tour for more opportunities to enter the giveaway, and don’t forget to leave your email or method of contact so Riptide can reach you if you win!