Whether home is a small town in Texas or a Regency townhouse in London, going back home again means powerful love stories made more so by the season of love.

In Johanna Lindsey's Home for the Holidays, Vincent Everett plans to avenge his brother Albert's death by destroying the family of the man responsible. The cold-hearted Lord Everett's plan begins by evicting Larissa Ascot and her ailing 10-year-old brother Thomas from their home, only to move them into his own home during the holidays. He tells himself it is further revenge against the family he plans to seduce Larissa. But Vincent himself becomes the seduced by Larissa and by the Christmas celebrations he joins for the first time.

Rejected as a child by his parents and determined to avenge his brother, Vincent struggles with the stirrings of genuine love he's never before allowed himself to feel. He indulges Larissa's belief that they are to marry, yet insists to himself that it's all part of his revenge game.

Lindsey's tender love story is as beguiling as the seduction of the season and the heartstrings wrapping themselves around Larissa and Vincent.

The entire town of Promise, Texas, gets into the act when the rock-solid marriage of Cal Patterson and Dr. Jane starts to crumble in Debbie Macomber's Return to Promise. Jane's father is seriously ill, and she takes Paul and Mary Anne, her young children, to her parents' California home, leaving Cal behind on the Texas ranch. With Jane away, Nicole Nelson starts her own campaign to steal Cal for herself. In a small town, there are no secrets, and when Jane learns Cal has spent time with Nicole, her trust in him is shaken. Even after Jane returns to Promise, the cracks in the marriage grow wider.

The death of her father and the dependence of her mother tug at Jane's heart. The remoteness of her husband and the impending Christmas holiday with her family in shreds threaten to break her heart. Macomber's uplifting story of a couple learning to overcome stubborn pride in order to rebuild the marriage they both value is a sure-fire Christmas winner.

Christmas comes in spicy little treats in the anthology All I Want for Christmas, which includes novellas by Lori Foster, Dee Holmes, Kinley MacGregor and Eileen Wilks.

Eric Bragg has harbored a hidden love for the boss' daughter, Maggie Carmichael, for years, waiting for her to grow up in Lori Foster's "Christmas Bonus. Her father's death puts her in the boss' chair, and Eric's courtship plans in the tank. Then Maggie announces that Eric must escort her to the company Christmas party and help organize it. He decides the time has come to stop waiting and start acting. Eric sets all Maggie's bells a'ringing in this sparkling, passionate romp one of four delightful Christmas treats in this collection.

Sandy Huseby writes and reviews from her homes in Fargo, North Dakota, and northern Minnesota.


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