Time short this holiday season? Feeling too rushed for words? These novella anthologies are just the kind of holiday indulgence you won't need to make resolutions to undo later. Sometimes indulgence is a place rather than a season. One such place is Leo's, a Washington, D.C., supper club where the stories are as rich and spicy as the women who come for dinner and find the loves of their lives. Welcome to Leo's blends the superb writing of African-American storytellers Rochelle Alers, Donna Hill, Brenda Jackson and Francis Ray.

In Rochelle Alers' Second Chance, Leigh Walcott takes a tumble sprained ankle and all for Dr. Scott Alexander. Love and marriage should be just the prescription for the solitary workaholic event planner and the doctor immersed in his work. But the traumatic loss of her first husband and child makes Leigh afraid to risk that second chance. Wining and dining at Leo's are part of the treatment, but only Leigh can choose to love again.

For Jae Crawford, even that first love is still just a hope. In Donna Hill's Eye of the Beholder, Jae is a self-constrained gospel singer who's wary of the glittery Leo's. Clyde Burrell is immediately drawn to the demure singer celebrating her birthday at the club. Afraid she'd rebuff him if she knew he was the entertainment manager, he pretends he's an accountant instead. That little lie gets complicated to sustain. It'll take a lot of faith for Jae and Clyde to find their way beyond the obstacles and learn to trust one another. Welcome to Leo's could not be better titled—this is one warm, lovin', welcoming collection of novellas.

The holiday season and all its festivities shimmer amid the Scottish heaths and heathers of A Season in the Highlands, with sparkling stories by Jude Deveraux, Jill Barnett, Geralyn Dawson, Pam Binder and Patricia Cabot. No holiday season would be complete without that most glamorous of nights, New Year's Eve, and the self-examining time of New Year's Day. Secrets of a Perfect Night by Stephanie Laurens, Victoria Alexander and Rachel Gibson wraps up the holiday season with charm and just the right amount of champagne sizzle.


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