In J.D. Robb's "Midnight in Death," Lieutenant Eve Dallas must postpone her first Christmas with her new husband, Roarke, to hunt for an escaped serial killer -- but she and Roarke still manage to find ways to celebrate...Susan Plunkett's "Christmas Promises" brings a woman and her ex-fiance together after four long years as they search for a missing child -- and make up for broken promises of Christmases past...In Dee Holmes' "The Unexpected Gift," Sabrina McKay and her five-year-old son are coping with the first Christmas since her divorce when her son finds a "body" in the yard -- and unexpectedly they rediscover the true spirit of the holidays...In Claire Cross's "A Berry Merry Christmas," a mysterious nanny has a special message to deliver to a young orphan and her uncle who long to feel the joy of Christmas in their hearts once again...
Wow...another one that I finished ages ago. I think I can remember what I thought of it! For the most part it was one of the better anthologies that I have read.
The four stories are actually pretty different in tone and in some ways you could probably argue that they don't fit together all that well, but perhaps that is why they do go together.
With Midnight In Death you get what you expect - death, darkness, humour, sexiness, all mixed in with Eve feeling uncomfortable about Christmas. A man that Eve helped put behind bars three years ago escapes, Eve is on the case to try and figure out where he could have got to. David Palmer is murdering everyone who helped put him away, and Eve is on his list. She needs to try and keep the others on the list safe, including one of her closest friends, and without getting injured, or worse, herself. Lucky Roarke is around to assist as much as he can...even when it really annoys Eve.
Christmas Promises by Susan Plunkett is another suspense type story, with Jake Rimsa reunited with his ex fiancee Marne York, just before Christmas. The high society girl that Jake left behind is gone, and in her place is a tough women and children's advocates - fighting for the rights of battered women and children in one of the toughest areas of the city, and Jake's old stomping ground. When one of her client's is nearly killed by her husband, his next target is Marne, and the suspense is built up as you try and figure out which of the police assigned to the case is on the good side, and who isn't. How have the events of four years ago changed Marne, and why didn't she share the secrets with Jake all that time ago, and do they have a future. This was a really well developed story, and it was therefore surprising to find that there was really very little else written by this author in recent times. It does seem like there was a new hardcover out last year co written with another author, so I might add that to my list.
The other two stories, starting with Claire Cross' A Berry, Merry Christmas, feel more like straight romance than romantic suspense, but in the case of this story, this works fine. It is a rather delightful, fanciful story of a Christmas Elf named Holly Berry. She just doesn't quite fit in at the North Pole, so Santa sends her on special assignment. A little orphan girl named Natalie has been living with her Uncle Drew since the night when she was nearly killed, and her parents did die, in a fire that started because of faulty Christmas lights. Drew is doing everything he can to protect her from the memories, including not celebrating Christmas, but Holly soon starts to shake things up a bit after she is hired as Natalie's nanny. Natalie has secretly sent a letter to Santa asking for a wife for Uncle Drew, and Holly is there to make sure that that happens. when she meets the lucky lady though, Holly realises that she is attracted to Drew and despite her every effort, she can't help but fall in love with him. A really nice, fun read, full of Christmas magic.
The other story in the book was An Unexpected Gift by Dee Holmes, and for me, it was the weakest of the book. It is the first Christmas after her divorce for Sabrina, and she is planning to spend it quietly with her son. Everything is going according to plan until her son finds a body in the front yard. Turns out it is her high school sweetheart, Zach, and whilst he isn't dead, he is passed out. And from there, we basically have instant attraction, nearly instant love. Whilst the story is nice enough, it is all very sudden, and the plot isn't helped at all by the reappearance of her ex husband wanting Sabrina back. In the end, there is a lot of discussion about the meaning of Christmas and a HEA, but for the most part this story was missing something that was definitely present in the other stories.
Three good stories out of four is pretty good in an anthology, so I am happy, especially seeing as I only got it because it had the In Death story in it!