Red Hot Holiday
is an adult anthology by K.A. Mitchell, Leah Braemel and Anne Calhoun. All three stories are a wonderful combination of sensuality, emotionalism and a warm holiday tale. I cannot believe how much I needed tissues while reading these fascinating stories that deal with three different aspects of relationships, whether between opposing genders or same sexes.
Wish List by K.A. Mitchell explores mistaken presumptions when Jonah Kendrick fears that his boyfriend Evan is about to propose and he hasn't explored the breadth of sexual kinks that he wanted to try but has been uncomfortable broaching to his lover--who would welcome the expansion of their love lives. They are shocked by the discovery that another long-term couple has imploded and this makes them both re-evaluate their love for each other and the boundaries of their relationship. A very spicy M/M read that combines hot loving as it moves into an exploration of BDSM, the angst of wondering if your love is returned and the changes that accompany the end of the year and the fresh start of a new year.
I Need You for Christmas by Leah Braemel is a lovely variation on the theme presented in O. Henry's Gift of the Magi and features a determined Mountie, Megan Sullivan, who comes home to give a very special Christmas present to her lover, Ryan Porter, a metal sculptor who lives in Ontario, far away from where she is posted in Nunavut, a remote area in the arctic. The sacrifices that Megan is prepared to make for her lover are unexpected to him as he has life-changing plans of his own. They are definitely on the same page sexually as is demonstrated by a very sensual bondage scene that reflects Ryan's artistic ability on several levels. A beautiful holiday story that combines heat and emotion as two strong lovers demonstrate the depth of their devotion to each other even as it gives a glimpse of the breadth of duties that face those brave members of law enforcement in the frozen north!
Breath on Embers
by Anne Calhoun is the very poignant story of a woman named Thea Moretti who has gone through great loss and has dealt with her grief by walling out the world. Ronan O'Rourke has had his own tragic losses in the recent past and, although he is temporarily content to help Thea find oblivion in their searing carnal encounters, he is ready to move their relationship to a deeper level. Their differing approaches reach a crisis during the stresses of the holiday season and their lives will undoubtedly change forever as an ultimatum is given and dealt with. Keep a tissue (or four) handy for this very touching story that alternates between extremely spicy trysts and very emotional cartharses. I thought the characters were very well developed and the story a remarkably touching read.
All three of these authors are new to me but I certainly am anxious to read more of their works, given by the impressive word portraits painted in these seasonal novellas. They have conjured up tales that reflect the holiday season yet address relationship conflicts that are timeless. I thought that all of the tales were touching but was most impressed (and teary-eyed) by the final tale.
I had the great fortune to win a copy of this title from Ms Braemel and am delighted to have found these new authors to follow.