Published by LLD Press on October 18th 2016
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Six of today's most popular regency romance authors come together to deliver a holiday anthology full of passion, promise, and scandalous dalliance. Have Yourself A Very Wicked Christmas!
In Heather Boyd’s The Christmas Affair, a lonely shopkeeper offers shelter to a beautiful, not so innocent miss to overcome the bitter memories of Christmases past, but could such a wicked connection ever lead to a happily-ever-after?
A dashing spy with marriage on his mind seeks to rekindle the spark by any means possible with the woman who claimed his heart in Love at First Dance by Barbara Monajem.
A scandalous widow rescues the man of her dreams - but his secrets could destroy their love in Nicola Davidson's Joy to the Earl.
A masquerade ball was no place to be reckless with your innocence, and yet one scorching look at the masked highwayman urges Miss Partridge to do just that in Mistletoe and the Marquess by Wendy Vella.
In Lord Misrule by Donna Cummings, a young widow chooses a handsome rogue to be her first lover, but his regrets from a past Christmas may end their affair before it even commences.
A blue-stocking becomes a courtesan to escape a murderer in The Glittering Prize, an intrigue-filled romance by Beverley Oakley about finding love where it’s least expected.
This is an all-new collection of stand-alone complete works.
~~Reviewed by AnnMarie~~
A Very Wicked Christmas is an anthology of 6 brand new stand alone stories by 6 fabulous authors.
The Christmas Affair is by Heather Boyd and is the first story in the anthology.
It’s the story of Amy Mellish who has fallen on hard times since her mother died a year ago. She is homeless and the only way she can make money enough to survive is to become a fallen woman. On one particular very cold winter night she takes refuge in a couple of crates in an alley behind a shop. She is found by the shop’s owner.
The man in question, Harper Cabot, is a handsome, charming widower. He’s not been able to move on since the loss of his wife, but he keeps the business running well. He’s lonely, but is settled with his lot. When he meets Amy he is surprised to find that he is instantly attracted to her. More than attraction though, he feels the need to look after her.
Can they forge a relationship, a shop owner and a fallen woman? Society says no, but do they listen to society?
This was a great feel good story with some very hot passionate scenes definitely not for those under 18.
An individual rating for this story would definitely be 5 Stars.
Love at First Dance by Barbara Monajem is the second book in the anthology.
Sir Colwyn North and Lady Jane Dew have met once before, 5 years ago. They danced one dance at a ball, and unknown to each other, they fell in love.
North is a spy, an incubus who uses his ‘powers’ to discover secrets the government needs to know. His reputation as a rake is a false one, but one that has been necessary over the years for him to complete his missions. Now though when he is finally in a position to ask our heroine to marry him, no respectable person will allow him into any ball or function where he would be able to get close to her. So, he seeks out his ‘Master’s’ help in gaining access to a house party where our heroine will be. The Master agrees, but only if he goes along with another spy who has a mission of her own.
So the story is all about if and how North woos our Amy, but there is also the nice subplot involving the other ‘spy’. What is she there for?
I really enjoyed the story, not least because our hero is a real charmer. Not so sure about the incubus/succubus idea, but that said, the story wouldn’t have been as sexually charged without it.
I’d give this story 4 stars.
Joy to the Earl by Nicola Davidson is the third book in the anthology.
This is the story of Jack Reynolds, a carpenter who since his mother died has lived a quiet, lonely life. He doesn’t see that changing any time soon because of his ‘cursed’ eyes, one blue, one green, and he also has a limp due to a hip problem that he was born with. He’s a well built man, over 6 feet tall, and let’s just say his shoe size, extra large, matches something else, something he considers yet another disfigurement. He’s 28 and a virgin, he couldn’t even get a ‘whore’ to take his coin to have sex with him. You can imagine his insecurities.
Rosalind Wilson is a widow, she makes her living from helping couples solve their sexual problems which could end up in divorce if not solved. Of course she’s had to allow wicked rumours to circulate about her reputation in order to seem divinely experienced in all things sexual when in fact she’s been with few men other than her husband. Still, thanks to the rumours she has earned herself the nickname, the Wicked Widow and she has a good trade.
Jack and Amy end up meeting in unexpected circumstances and it is absolutely lust at first site. Will it turn to love? The problem is, if it does, Jack has a secret, one that can tear them apart. The bigger problem is, he doesn’t even know it!!
A great story with a LOT of hot sex, let’s just say that the virgin becomes very experienced, very quickly.
Definitely a 4 star rating for this one.
Mistletoe and the Marquess by Wendy Vella is the fourth book in the anthology.
This story is about Jemma Partridge. She is betrothed to a pig of a man who knows something about her father that will ruin him and the family name if he lets the secret be known. He will keep the secret only if Jemma marries him. Before the wedding Jemma decides she wants to have fun, perhaps even share a kiss or two with a man before she has to settle for life with her betrothed. The perfect occasion for that is a masquerade ball. She convinces her closest friend, more like a brother, to take her the ball, and she is ready for fun.
Harry is the Marquess of Harrington and he’s only at the ball because his brother has nagged him to go, to let his hair down a little. He notices Jemma across the room and as soon as their eyes meet there is an instant attraction. Something neither of them have felt before. They are drawn togetehr lime magnets and they end up having an anonymous (keeping the masks on) interlude in the library. Although Harry is desperate to know who she is, Jemma won’t tell him. She can’t tell him, she knows she has to wed and can’t see him again. But wow, what a fabulous time she had with him, and she just hopes that the memories of which will last her during her horrid marriage.
Harry isn’t happy to settle with never seeing her again, and puts his all into finding her. Will he find her, and what if he finds her after she is married?
This story has a little twist to it that makes it one of my favourites so far. A 5 star rating for sure.
Lord Misrule by Donna Cummings is the fifth book in the anthology.
This is the story of Juliana Courtenay. She has just come out of the proper period of a year of mourning for her husband. In fact she wasn’t mourning at all because her marriage wasn’t a happy one, and it definitely wasn’t a passionate one. As her days of mourning continued one of the things that kept her going was her plans to take a lover. She wants no commitment, no strings, just fabulous sex from a fabulous lover. The man she wants to take that role is Lord Blaise.
Nicholas Harding AKA Lord Blaise also has the nickname Lord Misrule because of his reputation of being a rogue who never plays by the rules. Juliana astounds him when she asks him to be her lover. She is a gorgeous woman, one that he thinks he could enjoy playing lover to, too much. He initially turns down her offer, but when she seems keen to choose another lover, one that would be terrible for her, he changes his mind and takes up her offer.
They both want to keep things light and spontaneous with their hearts not getting involved. Juliana because she wants to enjoy her freedom after being unhappily married. Blaise because he doesn’t think he deserves happiness after something that he feels responsible for in his past. Unfortunately they both start feeling the tugs of love. Can they move past the barriers that prevent them from being together or are they destined to just be lovers.
A fast paced story with a lot of sex in it, a little too much for my liking, but absolutely understandable given poor Julianna’s lack of it during her marriage and period of mourning.
I’d give this story a 4 star rating.
Glittering Prize by Beverley Oakley is the sixth and final book in this anthology.
It’s the story of Jemima Percy. She’s a young lady who has never wanted a ‘season’ in London, and is more than happy helping her father with his archaeological findings. Their biggest joy to date is that Jemima is very close to figuring out the whereabouts of a treasure of gold. She’s transcribed tablets and all she needs is to figure out the missing pieces which will come from being able to see the Rosetta Stone which is soon to be brought to London to be shown in a museum. Before she has chance to go to London, her father is murdered, and she has to go on the run to stop the same fate befalling her. She has a small tablet which has the hieroglyphs that she needs to decipher the treasures whereabouts. It’s something that somebody is determined to have for himself, even murdering for it.
Digby Ruthcot has recently taken on the role of Viscount after his older brother was murdered by none other than the people after Jemima. Before his demise he managed to send a missive to Digby asking him to meet Jemima and to help her. Not being a very responsible man, he didn’t make that meeting.
He does however run into her weeks later, not realising at first who she is. He is besotted with her, but even though she isn’t available to woo, he can’t help but try his best to make her his own. She fights any attraction she feels because she is determined to somehow find the treasure belonging to her father by right. She also knows that she isn’t fit to be a gentleman’s wife and is fed up of being just a man’s ‘possession’. She wants the gold and she wants an independent life. Can she have love and independence, does she manage to find the gold at all?
This story was my favourite right up until the very end when I was left hanging. I didn’t have all the answers I needed. I wonder if this was an introduction to a new series where the next book will give me the much needed answers.
My rating for this book is a 4.
I thoroughly enjoyed this whole anthology, a lovely collection of stories filled with love, passion, mystery and suspense. I definitely recommend it, and if you read it before Christmas it will definitely get you into the holiday spirit.
I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book.