Cindy Warren is the manager of a small, somewhat eccentric hotel. The hotel's owners are sending a corperate hatchet man to her hotel to evaluate its worth, and Cindy and her staff are frantic to make everything perfect for the upcoming evaluation, which is to be performed by Stanton, a man known for his ruthlessness.
Unbeknownst to Cindy, Stanton arrives at her hotel a week early, planning to make his preliminary examination of the hotel undercover. He checks in as Eric Quinn, and proceeds to do his job. Eric has always made it a point to be completely professional in his evaluations, and is blindsided by his irresistable attraction to Cindy. He tries to fight his feelings, but eventually gives into them, mistakenly thinking that Cindy has uncovered his true identity.
After spending the night with Eric, Cindy recieves a phone call informing her of who Eric really is. She is outraged, and becomes emotionally distant with him. He hates it, but realizes that there's nothing he can do to change her feelings toward him and that he needs to do his job fairly. As Cindy and Eric work together, they both come to the realization that they are in love. Cindy is disgusted with herself for loving an immoral man whom she despises, and Eric is desperate to find a way to get her back, but fears that his feelings will not be reciprocated
This report prepared by Jess
, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Carly Phillips, and Kathryn Smith
St. Martin's, Nov 2001, 6.50, 320 pp.
“Santa Baby” by Patricia Ryan. After informing his client Celeste Worth that her husband has a lover, she hires him to steal said woman away from her spouse. Thus private sleuth Jack O'Leary begins a different case than the usual cheating scenario. Jack is to entice Katherine Peale to leave Worth alone, but his web of lies becomes entangled with love.
“Love Bytes” by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Samantha Parker loves her team leader Adrian Cole, but to her he only notices her as an employee. Adrian struggles between his desires to jump Sam's bones and the company policy forbidding dating between management and staff.
“Naughty Under the Mistletoe” by Carly Phillips. Office protocol has kept attorney Toni Larson from seducing Stephen Corbin until this year's office Christmas Party because she will relocate after the holiday. When she deeply kisses her target under the mistletoe, she realizes she obfuscated with Max the non-compliant twin of Stephen who burns her soul.
“A Christmas Charade” by Kathryn Smith. In 1815 Viscount Garrett Maxwell expects to die from his incarceration in France until widow, Eliza Vail rescues him. On the ship crossing the Channel, Eliza and Garrett give in to their needs and make love. They plan to meet again, but she fails to arrive. Eight months later at his sister's home, Garrett finds the woman who has haunted his soul, but can he persuade her they belong together.
The three contemporaries and the Regency are all well-written entertaining Yuletide novellas that make for nice holiday reading.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner