Phillipa Ashley offers a charmer of a Christmas story in Dating Mr. December. Six months earlier, Emma Tremayne lost her job and her cheating ex. She flees to the wilds of England’s Lake District to nurse her wounds and live out life as a virtual nun. Now employed by the local tourist board, Emma conceives a plan to raise money for the mountain rescue unit: She wants the team to pose for a naked—but tasteful—calendar. Her biggest opposition comes from hunky Will Tennant, who doesn’t like the idea. But it’s hard for Will to refute the financials Emma provides, and then there is the persuasiveness of Emma herself. Will has a reputation, though—supposedly he left his fiancée at the altar—and that’s enough to put the recently jilted Emma on edge. Still, they wind up in each other’s arms. Can they go the distance—or even make it until Christmas? Will is as cautious as the woman he loves, but he’ll have to admit to that—and more—before he can have her.

Will two wary hearts come together before Christmas? That’s the question in Jennifer Haymore’s historical, A Season of Seduction. After four years of widowhood, Lady Rebecca decides to take a lover. Once Rebecca had trusted her heart and eloped with a man who later betrayed her. Now she only looks to warm her lonely life with a man’s body. Her choice, Jack Fulton, is rugged, handsome and seems equally uninterested in anything more than a physical relationship. The truth, however, is that Jack does have an interest in something of Becky’s beyond sexual charms: her wealth. A blackmailer’s demands mean he must marry into money by mid-December in order to keep his secrets safe. His cold-blooded intentions are challenged as Becky proves to be an elusive bride—and yet an exciting bedmate. If she discovers his motives, surely she’ll despise him—and Jack is discovering that’s not the emotion he wants to evoke in this beautiful woman. Haymore has crafted a sensual story of reluctant passion.

The story stocking is full of fun in Lisa Plumley’s Holiday Affair. Charming children, delightful Christmas traditions and a hero and heroine to root for make this a seasonal delight. Suburban divorcée Karina Barrett hopes to make a perfect holiday for her three children when she gets a chance to evaluate the famed Christmas House B&B in Kismet, Michigan. There she meets globetrotting adventure guide Reid Sullivan and his two daughters. A delirious night of passion with Reid feels like a big mistake the next day when she learns he’s running the B&B over the holidays. A fling with the man-in-charge is a complication she should avoid, but the attraction runs hot, even though Reid insists he’s eager to return to his wandering ways as soon as his temp duties are over. Still, his daughters are waxing poetic about life in the States, and he’s tickled by Karina’s brood—and captivated by the woman herself. Complicating matters are strange mishaps at the B&B that bring the two even closer. While this feels like love, can they really make a go of something that seems like a Christmas miracle? Holiday Affair is as warm and sweet as hot chocolate on a snowy day.

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