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The Christmas Pact & Scrooged by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

The Christmas Pact & Scrooged by Vi Keeland and Penelope WardThe Christmas Pact by Vi Keeland, Penelope Ward
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

From New York Times Bestselling authors Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward comes a standalone holiday novella.

Eggnog. Check. Roaring fire. Check. Hot romance book. Check!

Riley Kennedy’s emails keep getting crossed with her male colleague, Kennedy Riley. The infuriating man forwards them along with his annoying commentary and unsolicited advice. At least she never has to see him in person, since they work in different locations…until they come face to face at the office holiday party.

As luck would have it, Kennedy turns out to be outrageously handsome…though still a jerk. Yet somehow he’s able to charm her out on the dance floor—and convince her to participate in his crazy scheme: he’ll go home with Riley for a Christmas party and pretend to be her boyfriend, if Riley agrees to be his date to a wedding. It sounds easy enough. Little by little, however, the act they’re putting on starts to feel like so much more than a Christmas pact—and Riley’s about to learn there’s more to Kennedy than she ever imagined.

Review:

The Christmas Pact was a fabulous, quick story that was oh so adorable.  With wonderful chemistry, adorable situations and characters that were so much more then meets the eyes, I fell in love with this novella.  If you’re looking for a heartwarming story that also has fake dating in the pages, you definitely need this book in your life!

“My apologies. Let’s start over. I’m Kennedy Riley. Pleasure to meet  you. Um, what’s your name again?”
Smartass.
I glanced over his shoulder  and pretended to wave at someone. “Oh gosh, I see someone I actually  like over there who I need to speak to. I’d say it was lovely meeting  you, but I’m a terrible liar. So instead, I’ll just say Merry Freaking Christmas.”

With similar names, and their work emails keep getting mixed up, there was no way Riley Kennedy could get away from Kennedy Riley.  Especially when Kennedy would forward Riley her emails, while also letting her know all of his thoughts on her life.  Even if they were infuriating to her.  So when their paths crossed in person at a Christmas work party, sparks flew!  And it led them pretending to be each others significant others over the holidays, around each others families.  What started out in jest ended up turning into so much more.

Kennedy looked into my eyes and I couldn’t look away. It was like he was  seeing me for the first time, like he’d finally found the missing piece  of my puzzle and things suddenly made sense.

While I thought Riley needed to live a little and Kennedy needed to pause sometimes, they both exceeded my expectations.  Their back stories, as we got to know them, made them leap off of the pages.  And while I liked them both individually, together they were so much fun.  I loved their antics and make believe around Riley’s family.  I laughed out loud and loved the chemistry between them!  But by the time they got to Kennedy’s family, it felt like there was so much more between them.  Because what happens when fake dating doesn’t start to feel fake anymore?  I’ll say that I got tears in my eyes and loved these characters.  The Christmas Pact ended with a fabulous happily ever after and left a smile on my face.  I’ll definitely be picking up more books from these two authors!

The Christmas Pact & Scrooged by Vi Keeland and Penelope WardScrooged by Penelope Ward, Vi Keeland
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

New York Times Bestselling Authors, Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward bring you three sexy short stories to heat up your holidays!

Sexy Scrooge

The last thing I needed was to share an Uber with Scrooge—a cocky lawyer on a snowy Christmas Eve. It was bad enough I was on my way to court for the gift of eviction.Although maybe today wouldn’t turn out so bad after all.The Sexy Scrooge and I started to connect as we trudged our way through a storm. Our ride was about to end. But would I ever see him again?

The Merry Mistake

Note to self: Ask Santa for glasses this year. When I accidentally mistook a gorgeous man resting outside my building for a homeless person in need of lunch, we got into it. I’d only been trying to do a good deed around the holidays, but he called me righteous. I called him something far worse. If only I didn’t have to see him again. But fate had other plans.

Kissmas in New York

It was just supposed to be a simple kiss with a stranger. I'd done it to prove a point—that I hadn't lost my sense of adventure. But you know what they say about the best laid plans. Maybe I'd get something in my stocking after all this holiday season...

Reviews:

Sexy Scrooge: 5/5 Stars

Sexy Scrooge was absolutely adorable and lots of fun!  I couldn’t stop smiling and it was a cute story about finding luck and having a little faith.  I easily could have read more!  But as super quick Christmas stories go, this is one of the best!

It just goes to show that with a little luck, fairy tales can come true, despite Ebenezer Scrooge.

The Merry Mistake: 4/5 Stars

The Merry Mistake was a cute story about mistakes and good deeds!  This one had a heartwarming aspect with an ailing father.  And I loved how even though there was a little hate going on between the couple, there was no denying that they definitely wanted each other!  While Piper was a little obnoxious and assumes in the beginning and Mason could be kind of a jerk, we got to see exactly who they were and it made so much sense.  I ended up really liking the both of them and hoping for them to end up together!

She leaned in. “Can I tell you a secret?”
“Yeah.”
Her breath brushed against my cheek as she said, “I still sort of think you’re an asshole.”
Shaking my head, I laughed. “You’re nothing if not honest, Piper.” I lifted my brow. “And you might be right.”

Kissmass in New York: 3/5 Stars

Kissmass in New York was the possibilities of taking risks and changing your life.  While this was my least favorite of the three stories, it still had a lot of heart.  I just wasn’t as okay with everything ending with a HFN since so much was still left up in the air.

Within seconds, it became demanding as something inexplicable ignited between us. Soon, our tongues were colliding. We might have just met, but this just felt right—like I was made to do this.

If you’re looking for something that’s quick and will give you some romance cheer around the holidays, then definitely give these quick little stories a try!  They all end in happily for nows and I’m glad I picked up this book!

BOOK REVIEW: The Bachelor on the Shelf (Reindeer Falls #6) by Jana Aston

BOOK REVIEW: The Bachelor on the Shelf (Reindeer Falls #6) by Jana AstonThe Bachelor on the Shelf (Reindeer Falls #6)
by Jana Aston
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

My name is Carter Sheppard and I actually like Christmas and my Christmas-themed hometown of Reindeer Falls. In fact, when I learn I have to return home in order to collect an inheritance—my uncle’s dog—it puts life into perspective for me.

Sure, playing professional baseball is great. But it won’t last forever and every player needs a long-term game plan.

And I just found mine. Wrapped up in the feisty, bespectacled package of the town librarian.

Unfortunately, she thinks I’m a player in all aspects of the word, but I’ve got a plan to win her over. Starting with a fake engagement…

Warning: Christmas in Reindeer Falls is more naughty than nice. These stories are over-the-top festive with merrily-ever-afters guaranteed. Novella length for quick holiday binge reading. Enjoy!

Review:

The Bachelor on the Shelf was a sexy, heartwarming Christmas tale!  This was my favorite book about the Sheppard brothers!  With the fake dating trope and Christmas magic in the air, this novella was such a huge win!

It can’t be possible for him to be a good guy. He has groupies, for fuck’s sake. Shepphoes. He’s just trying to fix his ‘naked ass on the internet’ scandal.
Right?

Carter Sheppard was a professional baseball player and was back in town.  One of his brothers’ inherited their late Uncle’s house, the other inherited his land, and then Carter inherited his dog Rudy lol.  Rudy had been spending time at the next door neighbor’s house, Lexi.  She had fallen in love with Rudy and didn’t want to give him back.  So when Carter proposed a fake engagement, to help his public image, and in return Lexi got to keep the dog, she couldn’t say no!

All of his sexy smiles and his lustful glances looking me up and down are just his usual tools of the trade. I’m a librarian, he’s a ballplayer. I know this story, and it won’t end up well for me.

Lexi was best friends with Maggie and Sutton from the previous two books, and Lexi was my favorite by far!  She was Reindeer Falls head librarian and loved books passionately.  I loved that she was down to earth, sweet and had the biggest heart ever!  This story was told from her point of view and I loved her thoughts.  Some of them were quite hilarious and cracked me up at times.  But when it came to Carter, she knew she had to be careful.  Yes Carter was gorgeous, but the man had a player’s heart and would only break Lexi’s heart.

“You know, we are engaged,” he says, voice low. “So, if you wanted to kiss me hello, you’d be welcome to.”

 Carter had lived the ultimate bachelor’s life.  Fans flocked to him and he could have any pick of women.  He was talented, seductive, beautiful and definitely sure of himself.  But I loved how Carter was so much more than meets the eye.  And as he slowly started to show all of his sides to Lexi, I fell for him ever harder.  Carter was the ultimate book boyfriend!

His lips meet mine like the first snowflake fluttering down in a storm. Light, unexpected. And then like an unexpected blizzard, we go from zero to a hundred in a heartbeat.

Lexi and Carter together were a ton of fun and steamy too.  With fake dates to help his image and to sell their fake engagement, each moment led to them touching.  And those times spent together created feelings that shouldn’t exist.  Right?!  Because they were only playing a part.  What Lexi felt for Carter surely couldn’t be real.  For a novella, this pulled off the fake dating trope perfectly and I was completely hooked!

He’s looking at me the way people in the library look when they’ve found their favorite book. And as the horses tug us along the tree-lined path, Carter’s hand reaches for mine.
And I take it.
Which is definitely crazy.
Even crazier, I don’t think this date will be ending with just a kiss.

If you’re looking for a quick, Christmas fix, I can’t recommend The Bachelor on the Shelf enough!  Technically you could easily read this as a standalone, but I am glad I had read the previous books in this series.  Even if Lexi’s besties were over the top.  And for those that love happily ever afters, there was an epilogue that was set a year later and I loved it!  We got to see what Lexi and Carter, Sutton and Jake and also Maggie and Ryan were up to!  I closed this book happy and smiling.  I loved being back in Reindeer Falls!

BOOK REVIEW: One Night with a Nutcracker (Reindeer Falls #5) by Jana Aston

BOOK REVIEW: One Night with a Nutcracker (Reindeer Falls #5) by Jana AstonOne Night with a Nutcracker (Reindeer Falls #5)
by Jana Aston
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

My name is Jake Sheppard and I’m ambivalent about Christmas and the Christmas-themed town I grew up in. But when I find out my late uncle left me an old barn and acres of land, the decision to return home to build my dream golf course is an easy one.

Imagine my surprise when I arrive and find out I have a squatter.

An incredibly sexy squatter, with wavy blonde hair, green eyes, a free spirit… and a herd of goats.

Sutton hates my guts. Apparently evicting a non-paying non-tenant and her goats weeks before Christmas is grounds for war.

Except Sutton’s version of war includes flinging her clothing at me and, as it turns out, I might be in way over my head with this girl…

Warning: Christmas in Reindeer Falls is more naughty than nice. These stories are over-the-top festive with merrily-ever-afters guaranteed. Novella length for quick holiday binge reading. Enjoy!

Review:

With eccentric characters, lovable goats and Christmas in the air, One Night with a Nutcracker was a little crazy and a lot festive!  If you’re looking for a quick Christmas story that is sexy and also has some quirky characters, then you definitely need this book in your life!

Jake Sheppard might be my mortal enemy, but he’s also the hottest example of male perfection I’ve seen in Reindeer Falls in years. And right now, he’s naked in my shower.

Sutton was squatting on someone else’s land with a barn, that she deemed abandoned, and ran her goat business.  Oh my Santa, now I get why Maggie from Elves with Benefits and Sutton were friends.  They were both nutty as a fruitcake lol!  But low and behold the now owner of the land stopped by, Jake Sheppard.  And when he informed Sutton what his plans were for the property, and that she had a week to vacate, it set off their enemy to lovers romance with a bang!

How is it plausible or even legal for him to kiss like that?
It’s ridiculous.
Yet here I am. Living in a snow globe of sexy times with Jake freaking Sheppard.

Sutton definitely had a hippy vibe, loved her goats as though they were her children and was sometimes a spacey friend, even though she loved her friends deeply.   I wasn’t the hugest fan of Sutton.  But by the end of the book, it was like Sutton was sprinkled with Santa’s magic, because I ended up liking her.  And then there was Jake, who I loved!  Jake was sexy and easily captured my attention.  He stood out in the best of ways.  Jake was definitely my favorite in this book!

Is he just enjoying all the Christmas vacation sex? Or does he actually care?
It’s going to take a Christmas miracle for me to figure it out.

Jake and Sutton had the most wonderful chemistry with a strong enemy’s vibe.  But the more time they spent around one another, it didn’t matter how much they didn’t want to like the other, they couldn’t not touch.  Or kiss.  Or do more.  The passion between them was oh so hot and I ended their story ready to dive into the next book!  One Night with a Nutcracker was an entertaining enemy to lovers Christmas story that was filled with craziness and a whole lot of fun!

And look, I don’t speak goat, but I’m pretty sure we’re about to live HAAAAAAppily ever after.
And maybe Christmas wasn’t my favorite holiday before.
But with the snow coming down around us and the bells on Sharon’s collar jingling, I have to admit, anything is possible.

 Spoiler alert….book 6 is definitely my favorite out of the Sheppard brothers’ stories 4-6.

BOOK REVIEW: Elves with Benefits (Reindeer Falls #4) by Jana Aston

BOOK REVIEW: Elves with Benefits (Reindeer Falls #4) by Jana AstonElves with Benefits (Reindeer Falls #4)
by Jana Aston
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

My name is Ryan Sheppard and I don’t care about Christmas. I’m only returning to my over-the-top Christmas-themed hometown to sell the house I inherited from my late uncle so I can get back to the city and the promotion I’m chasing at work.

Unfortunately, there’s a flaw in my plan.

Because according to the town Christmas cop, there’s a moratorium on selling houses during December. She says it’s bad for the aesthetic. She’s also slapping an alarming number of tickets on my front door. For being in violation of holiday décor. And I swear on Rudolph himself, one is for ‘unsportsmanlike Christmassing.’

To top it all off, this Christmas cop looks like a red-headed elf.

A sexy red-headed elf…

Warning: Christmas in Reindeer Falls is more naughty than nice. These stories are over-the-top festive with merrily-ever-afters guaranteed. Novella length for quick holiday binge reading. Enjoy!

Review:

Elves with Benefits was over the top fun and had tons of holiday cheer!  With lots of Christmasy vibes, friendship, sexy moments and scenes that were laugh out loud funny, this book was definitely binge worthy.  I read this novella in one sitting!

He scans the ticket labeled ‘decoration violation.’ “This cannot be real. There’s a cartoon elf on these tickets.”
I grin, glad he noticed. I made the tickets myself.

The story was told in Maggie’s voice and oh my goodness was that women unique.  Her job for starters was the town’s holiday enforcement officer.  She actually wrote people tickets for not having their house or business decorated with all the Christmas cheer.  And she took her job very seriously.   Maggie was obsessed with reading Christmas books with her bestie’s all year long.  And she loved Christmas with her whole heart and soul.  She was a little crazy, a little intense but she somehow won me over by the end of this book.

He puts a hand into his pocket to fumble for his wallet. Unfortunately, this draws my attention to the sweatpants again. And I definitely don’t think that’s a candy cane I’m seeing.

The moment Ryan stepped on the pages, I fell for this story.  And started laughing too.  You see, Ryan inherited a house from his late uncle, and he just wanted to sell it and leave.  His life was in the city, where he was up for a huge promotion.  He didn’t have time for his childhood Christmas hometown.  Yet Maggie refused to not let Ryan decorate his house.  The more time she spent around Ryan, the more she felt that pull towards him.  And it seemed like Ryan couldn’t ignore Maggie either, even if I didn’t always see what Ryan saw in Maggie lol.

I laugh, and it’s a real laugh. A hopeful laugh. Because the Scrooge of Reindeer Falls himself is inviting me into his house on Candy Cane Lane to make me hot cocoa and watch a Christmas movie.

Maggie was the ultimate Christmas cheer elf and Ryan was definitely the Grinch.  They were polar opposites who had the most fabulous banter!  It was a mix of sexy and hilarious and was sooo addictive!  I loved the push and pull between them.  And their steamy moments were *fans face*!  While you don’t need to read any of the previous books in this series, the first and third book in this series are still my top favorites.  Elves With Benefits was a quick, fun, quirky Christmasy read that was definitely entertaining!

“Just remember to wrap those packages before shoving them down the chimney.”

BOOK REVIEW: Iron (The Queen & The Assassin #1) by Lisette Marshall

BOOK REVIEW: Iron (The Queen & The Assassin #1) by Lisette MarshallIron (The Queen & The Assassin #1)
by Lisette Marshall
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The Queen

Two years ago she poisoned her violent husband. Now Tamar, Queen of Redwood, rules her kingdom on her own, with an iron fist and a closely guarded heart. Surrounded by scheming nobles, she can never afford to lose control of her court – or of herself. But when an infuriatingly handsome assassin breaks into her room one night, her careful web of authority shatters at once.

The Assassin

Raised in the treacherous Taavi Empire, Runo knows every rule of survival. Don’t love, don’t get attached. Kill, and live. His newest target may wear a crown, but thanks to a traitor offering him an easy way into her rooms, even the Iron Queen of Redwood will have to make peace with her mortality soon. Except that Tamar turns out to be everything but the easy prey Runo assumed…

A Dangerous Alliance

But as they play their deadly game of survival, a far greater danger looms. With a nameless traitor now out for both their lives, the queen and the assassin have no choice but to close an uncertain alliance. And as shadows of the past draw them deeper and deeper into a tangle of deceit, sizzling hate turns into something much more dangerous…

Iron is the first book of The Queen & The Assassin, a steamy fantasy romance trilogy taking place in the dangerous, passionate world of the Five Kingdoms. Perfect for readers of enemies to lovers fantasy and adult fairy tale romances, it tells a story of deadly intrigue, dark secrets and sizzling forbidden love.

Review:

Iron was a dark and luscious story that fantasy lovers will devour!  With castles, a queen, an assassin and so much up in the air, this enemies to lovers story will keep readers hooked!  I definitely need to go back and binge all of Lisette Marshall’s backlist!

Don’t get attached. It was the first rule of his world.

Runo, a paid assassin, received orders from his Empress to kill Queen Tamar.  Yet from the moment Runo showed up to murder Tamar, things didn’t go as planned.  It all ended up going a little bit sideways, especially since neither of them could deny the intense chemistry between them.  The desire.  The fact that they felt something, which is rare in both of their lives.  Yet at the end of the day, they were from two different worlds.  But fate doesn’t always follow the simplest of paths.

Something stirred in her, and she feared it wasn’t hate alone.

Queen Tamar put up a good facade.  Those around her listened to her and followed her orders.  All because people feared her, since she ruled with an iron fist.  She was driven and cold on the outside, but entirely different on the inside.  My heart hurt for how lonely she was.  She truly didn’t have a friend in the world.  She was a good and fair ruler and we got to see how her past shaped her into who she was today.  The moment Runo waltzed into her life, it allowed us to see a completely different side of Tamar.  And I ended up really liking and respecting her!

He smiled. He couldn’t help it. A warped triumph was rising in him, a sensation like that last, expectant turn before winning a game. A dangerous feeling to allow, sitting in a cell and staring down a queen not particularly known for her mildness.

It should be no surprise that I fell hard for Runo.  He was a paid assassin.  A murderer.  He was to have no heart and do what he was told.  But from the moment he met Queen Tamar, she made him pause.  We got to see his humanity and all of the other sides of Runo that he kept buried.  He was so resourceful and clever, and I loved that his arrogance knew no bounds.  But he too lived a lonely life.  And the more time he spent around Tamar, the more he wanted to not follow his orders.  For the first time ever.

‘As a general piece of advice, don’t expect assassins to care about your wellbeing.’
‘I didn’t—’
‘Sure you didn’t.’

Any moment that Tamar and Runo were together, the sexual tension was intense.  I loved that they both weren’t what the other expected and that they also got under each other’s skin.  Tamar should hate Runo for what he was to do.  Runo should feel nothing towards Tamar and do his job.  And them ever being together was forbidden.  But what unfolded instead was a web of clues, deceit, trust and the start of something so much more. The stakes become higher as each page passed, since a traitor was after both of their lives.  They were forced to team up and I loved how this story unraveled and played out!

In his arms she felt like everything he ever held dear in his life.

Iron was an extremely seductive tale filled with twists and turns.  Sexual tension dripped from the pages and consumed me.  And while I did start out this story confused and lost, once Runo and Tamar met I was hooked!  There was so much passion and heat between them.  Ohhh I have to say I should have put the clues together, but I devoured this book way too fast and ended up being shocked with how something played out.  Eeps.  Now I’m trying to patiently wait for the next book in this series.  While it stopped at a spot that calms my heart, there was way too much up in the air to know what will happen next.  I can’t wait!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

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