"If you are looking for a different sort of Christmas story, then don't miss this one"
This collection of intriguing and individually unique
stories is bound to make for some good fireside reading at
this time of year.
In the first story of this collection, Out on a Limb by
Christie Ridgway, readers meet Stacy Banks, an unassuming
kindergarten teacher who never takes risks in her life.
This year, just in time for Christmas, she decides to
chance it and ask her sexy neighbor, Ryan, to attend a
Christmas party with her. Clothed only in a dress made of
wrapping paper, she heads down to the dock to catch him on
his boat and invite him to be her date. Never could she
have expected that this was about to become the most
adventurous... and dangerous... night of her life.
The action is flying high in this story, with adventure
after adventure for Stacy and Ryan. There are shoot-outs,
drug cartels, and crooked cops, all with plenty of romance
to round it out. Readers will like that they are kept
guessing for much of the story, trying to figure out who
the bad guys are and if Ryan is one of them. All Stacy
wants is to try something new and get a little adventure in
her life by asking Ryan out on a whim. When she gets much
more than anticipated, how she deals with it is amusing,
and makes the reader realize she's got spunk, even if she
suppresses it normally.
The second story, The Two Marys, by Katherine Hall Paige,
was probably this reviewer's favorite story in the series.
Readers meet plucky Faith Fairchild who is called in to
help a neighbor, Mary Bethany, who finds a newborn baby and
a huge stack of cash in her goats' barn. Now Faith has to
investigate to help Mary find the mother of the baby and
why she felt it necessary to give up her child.
This was a story that helps to remind people what this time
of year is all about. The parallels between this Christmas
story and the original Baby born in a manger are heart-
warming. Mary's life is her goats and that's all she's ever
wanted in life. When a baby is given over to her, she finds
out maybe there is more to life then her little farm and
Bed and Breakfast after all. The mother of the child is a
down on her luck; a young woman who wants only for her baby
to have a better life then she has. The ending to this
story is sad in some ways, a balancing of fate in others,
and happy as well. Readers will finish this tale with a
warm fuzzy feeling that love is the reason for the season.
The third story in this collection, The Twelve Frogs of
Christmas by Judi McCoy, is a funny one, and the one
paranormal story in the collection. Here readers meet
Claire St. Germaine and Dr. Hugh Burton. Claire is a young
woman making a go at her own jewelry design business who
has temporarily taken on an additional duty of rescuing men
sent to her as frogs she has to kiss to break the spell.
Hugh is a professor at a university, whose specialty
happens to be... yes you guessed it... frogs! When a rare
and nearly extinct species that Hugh happens to be
researching is sent to Claire, sparks fly and love blossoms.
This is a funny story bound to get some giggles out of the
most finicky of readers. Readers are kept in the dark for
most of the story as to who is sending the frogs to Claire
and why, though the answers to those questions are revealed
by the end. Hugh and Claire are unique individuals, and
both stubborn in their own ways. When they butt heads over
some amusing circumstances, readers feel the sparks flying
and just know they'll make an interesting pair.
The final story in this collection, The Thirteenth Santa,
by Joanne Pence, introduces readers to Inspector Rebecca
Mayfield with the SFPD, who is investigating a murder of a
man in a Santa suit found at a local shopping mall. Richie
Amalfi is on a mission to take 12 old men, decked out in
Santa suits, to a destination only he knows, when his van
with the Santas in it disappears. He goes to Rebecca for
help and when she thinks this may be linked to her murder
investigation, she tags along to help him track down the
wayward men and gets more then she bargained for.
This is a funny story, in a dry sort of way, and will
appeal to readers. Rebecca and Richie make an interesting
pair of detectives as they try to find answers to her
investigation and track down the missing Santas. When the
Mafia is mixed in, it gets even more interesting. This
reviewer enjoyed how the author took the players and made
many of them out as caricatures of mobsters and their
cronies. There was a sarcastic bend to many of the humorous
occurrences in the story that is sure to bring about a few
If readers are looking for a different sort of Christmas
season story, then this is one that isn't to be missed.
Kelley A. Hartsell, December 2004. All
Courtesy Love Romances
Posted January 17, 2005
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted November 26, 2006
An unexpected visitor is about to arrive with an unexpected gift ... Will it be something wonderful or woeful, rueful or romantic... or a little bit of everything?
In the expert hands of four unsurpassed storytellers, "the season of giving" takes on an air of mystery. Get ready for a stockingful of shocking -- a potent holiday punch spiked with surprises, a hearty dash of romance and a twist of murder!
The incomparable Christie Ridgway sends a shy, lonely teacher on a mundane pre-Yuletide errand that becomes the most daring, dangerous, and titillating adventure of her life.
Award-winning mystery master Katherine Hall Page's plucky sleuth Faith Fairchild discovers a Christmas miracle that comes wrapped in deception.
Judi McCoy's spirited career girl Claire St. Germaine receives a truly magical gift with very mysterious origins.
And Rebecca Mayfield, the delightful creation of Joanne Pence, discovers the hard way that Santa isn't always a saint.