Mixed bag for me. This is an anthology with four Christmas themed stories.
I loved [b:Mistletoe at Midnight|9707947|Mistletoe at Midnight|L.B. Gregg|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1289859871s/9707947.jpg|14596195] by [a:L.B. Gregg|2833117|L.B. Gregg|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1290109052p2/2833117.jpg]! It was well written and fun to read. The story was perfect for a short since the two MCs, Owen and Caleb, knew each other as 18 year-olds and then were separated for 15 years. Mistletoe takes place when they "run in to each other" for the first time since Caleb disappeared from Owen's life. I knew Owen's brother was up to something and his shenanigans are fully revealed in the end. Lovely story, just enough family drama to keep it unpredictable. 5 stars
I didn't like [b:Nine Lights Over Edinburgh|9807964|Nine Lights Over Edinburgh|Harper Fox|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1328364952s/9807964.jpg|14698297] by [a:Harper Fox|4059028|Harper Fox|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1308927760p2/4059028.jpg] as well as the previous story. The plot was good, but the characters didn't grab my attention. I hate to admit it, but I skip read most of this story. I just didn't care. I think some of the descriptions of scenes were too much for me. I guess I'm more into the action (car chases or bullets flying) than the detailed description of the air and street that had nothing to do with the action. It made the breaks between something happening too choppy for me. Also, the insta-love doesn't work. The two MCs, James and Toby, are good guys, with James as a typical flawed character. Overall a 2 star read for me.
I really liked [b:I Heard Him Exclaim|9740445|I Heard Him Exclaim|Z.A. Maxfield|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1328363876s/9740445.jpg|14629553] by [a:Z.A. Maxfield|2738500|Z.A. Maxfield|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1314555801p2/2738500.jpg] even though it involved insta-love. The story was funny and sweet. Very well written. The MCs, Chandler and Steve, meet just before Christmas when Chandler's car breaks down. Chandler is dealing with a lot of crap and Steve is adjusting to his new self. The back story is worked in well, I understood what the characters meant and felt. Poppy is Chandler's niece, and he has had custody of her since her parents died at Thanksgiving. Even Poppy's character is well rounded. There are many relatives of Steve's who make appearances throughout the story, as well. I really liked these guys and was rooting for them the entire way. If I could get past the insta-love, this would be 5 stars. Instead, it's a solid 4 star read.
I loved [b:Icecapade|9755703|Icecapade|Josh Lanyon|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1290547272s/9755703.jpg|14644987] by [a:Josh Lanyon|359194|Josh Lanyon|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1289326144p2/359194.jpg], which doesn't surprise me since I like just about everything he's written. This story is similar to the first in that we have two MCs who have known each other for years. Noel was a very good thief and Robert is an FBI agent who was trying to put Noel in jail. The characters are likable as well as interesting. They have chemistry (and a past sexual encounter). There are a few secondary characters with bit parts, but the story really is just about Noel and Robert reuniting 10 years after their one night together. I really felt like I was there, listening to Robert torture Noel with hints of teasing that he hid just as quickly as he could. Wonderful read, story well suited to an anthology short. Definite 5 stars!