Winter Wishes – Anthology

Publisher: Carina Press

Publish Date: 12/6/2010

Tangled Tinsel
By Vivian Arend

She’s the cat’s meow, and he’s ready to pounce!

Five miles of leather-clad leg is all it takes to lure Kyle Branegan out from his carefully hidden lifestyle as part of the Cougar Corp, a secret branch of the Shifter Enforcer League. He’s hoping for a night of fun and frolic, cat-style, no strings attached. With a sultry swing of her hips, Eloise Scott tangles him up in her ball of tricks, and just when he thinks he’s about to get lucky, she cuffs him-naked-to her bed.

An undercover cop in the human police force, El’s been given a top-secret mission to keep the big cat under her paw until he’s needed to testify in court in the New Year. Her decision to take him home for a quiet Christmas in her sleepy hometown turns out to be far more interesting than she expected. Her parents are suddenly rich, her old boyfriend is sniffing around and all six-feet-plus of sexy cougar male is sleeping in her bed.

And that’s before they announce their fake engagement…

Whew, this was a sexy, fast paced novella that caught my attention and held it steady through its short ride. This was the longest novella in Winter Wishes so I felt the most connected to these characters. I loved the fierceness of El and the way she totally took control and had it within her power to kick ass and take names. Kyle was totally laid back until he felt El was threatened and then he sprang first and thought later. His loyalty was cute and really, who doesn’t want their man to stand up and have their back? Even if they may not need it. I did feel that Kyle, being in law enforcement, could have been tougher. We only see glimpses of his full potential. I felt that he could have been much more alpha.

I liked the twist that the general public is fully aware of the existence of shifters and actually embraces them. It was a breath of fresh air to see the shifters mingling in their animal forms with everyone else.

Tangled Tinsel keeps in line with shifter romances by providing the reader with lots of hard muscled men and sexy story line. Vivian does a great job of painting the picture and based on this I will definitely be picking up a full length novel from Vivian.

No Angel
By Vivi Andrews

When Sasha’s boyfriend, Jay, is sucked through a fiery vortex to Hell, an angel reveals that Sasha’s been chosen as the Champion of Virtue in the battle for his immortal soul. As a perennial offender on Santa’s naughty list, Sasha can’t believe she’s anyone’s idea of a girl fighting on the side of the angels. But if she doesn’t save Jay, he’ll be stuck in Hell forever!

Jay-aka Jevroth-isn’t surprised to find himself back in Hell. His visa to visit the mortal plane expired three months ago, but to steal more time with Sasha he’s been ignoring his mother’s demands that he come home to spend time with his new stepfather: Lucifer.

Sasha has until dawn on the twenty-fifth of December to fight the Legions of Hell and rescue Jay, or be trapped there for eternity herself. But now she must decide if the lying son-of-a-demon is even worth saving…

No Angel’s only bad point was that it wasn’t long enough for me. I did enjoy it and I liked the way the story was told…but I didn’t ever fully connect with the characters.

I loved Sasha and Jay together though. Jay went from being a mild-mannered “Clarke Kent” to a sexy “keep away from my woman” demon. I love me a sexy demon. YUMMY. Throw in some sexier than life Angels (Which Vivi did) and you have my attention.

Sasha has spent her entire life living in the shadow of her families Hollywood status. As a result of constantly being used she has built emotional walls around her heart. When her boyfriend Jay gets sucked into hell she charges in after him without a second thought. Finding out he used her like everyone else is a blow to her self-esteem.

I loved her progression from guarded to trusting. Yes, it was a fast progression, but in a novella it would have to be. Jay’s ability to win her back  and break through her walls was sweet. Having love professed to you during a sunrise over looking Hollywood has to be one of the most romantic scenes ever set.

My favorite line: “I will shoot you if you say you complete me”

Cute, solid novella. Very light in the “steamy” factor for those of you that don’t like drawn out, descriptive love scenes.

Freeze Line
By Moira Rogers

She can’t survive in his world; he can’t stay sane in hers

A twenty-first century ice age dulls the magic that emanates from the earth. Shane Sullivan is a lone wolf above the freeze line. He has no desire to join the packs that range closer to the border, where feral instincts can turn a man into a monster. Not until the winter solstice, when he stumbles across a dying witch who needs his help to get back to her people-and her magic-in the south.

Nadia is a powerful woman in her own world, but she’s been drained by her escape from captivity in a northern lab. She knows it’s foolhardy to trust a werewolf, but he’s her only chance to survive the vast white wilderness. The farther south they travel, the harder it is for Shane to keep the beast within under control, and as their mutual attraction intensifies, Nadia’s no longer sure she wants him to.

Freeze Line is the shortest of Winter Wishes novellas. I definitely felt like I had missed something by not reading anything from Moira before. It felt like the world in the novella must be from another line of books. Moira does a good job of catching everyone up in a short amount of time.

Shane is a werewolf mourning the loss of his girlfriend. He has isolated himself in the far north where the ground never thaws and he doesn’t have to succumb to the phases of the moon or the magic of the earth. When he comes upon a half dead witch in the middle of a deserted road he begrudgingly takes her home.

Nadia is a powerful witch who was sold to scientists by her tribe. Left in the middle of the cold barren wilderness with none of her powers is a death sentence. When Shane comes along she gladly, if a little warily, goes with him.

As the two try to make it to the southern lands where the earth is warm and power flows freely, they become attached. Shane will have to overcome his tortured memories and come to terms with his inner wolf if he and Nadia stand a chance at having a connection worth fighting for.
The story was short, but the emotion was there. The twists on the typical werewolf or witch story lines were very original. Tieing the earth into their paranormal powers was something I hadn’t read before. The heat factor in Freeze Line was very minimal. The story had a Mad max-ish feel…you know, without crazy Mel Gibson and leather chaps.

Winter Wishes was a great anthology that I would recommend to anyone looking to try different authors. Each novella was fast paced and well wrote. If you’re looking for a holiday read with some paranormal heart…Winter Wishes is for you.

I give Winter Wishes 3.75 stars!

*SIDE NOTE* Moira will be here for an interview and GIVEAWAY Monday!


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