Friday 20 December 2013

Review: Season of Seduction - Anthology

What's on your wish list?

After indulging in twelve naughty nights in Mexico, a woman experiences an erotic epiphany. An adventurous elf has her eye on one very sexy Santa. A married couple hopes to find a very special marine under the mistletoe. And a holiday mitzvah leads a woman to submit to a man in uniform on Christmas Day. No matter your fantasies, this collection of four shorts will add spice and sizzle to cold winter nights.

Edited by Angela James, this anthology includes:

Five Golden Rings by Jeffe Kennedy
Naughty Nicks by Christine d'Abo
Ménage on 34th Street by Elise Logan and Emily Ryan-Davis
Matzoh and Mistletoe by Jodie Griffin

Stories also available for purchase separately.

For more information about any of these authors click on their names below to visit their websites:
Jeffe Kennedy
Christine d'Abo
Elise Logan & Emily Ryan-Davis
Jodie Griffin

Every year I look forward to the Carina Press Christmas anthologies, I know I'm going to get a a sexy read with the Christmas feel good factor and that's exactly what Season of Seduction provides. I'm already a huge fan of Christine d'Abo but after reading their contributions to this anthology I'll definitely be checking out more from Jeffe Kennedy and Jodie Griffin in the future. If you're looking to add a little extra spice to your holidays then I'd definitely recommend this!

Five Golden Rings by Jeffe Kennedy

On the first day of Christmas, my lover gave to me...

Matilda Campbell's plans to spend Christmas solo in the sun take an erotic turn when she encounters the handsome and enigmatic Miguel D'Oro on the plane to Mexico. As the CEO of a major firm, Tilda's used to being the one in charge--but now she'll have to learn how to take orders instead.

In the spirit of the season, Miguel offers Tilda naughty gifts for each of the twelve days of Christmas. There's just one rule: she must accept them--and fulfill his commands--or face the sensual consequences. Intrigued and aroused, Tilda agrees to let Miguel take control of her pleasure.

What follows is a week unlike anything she's ever experienced. From choosing her sexy new wardrobe and naughty accessories, to pushing her boundaries with BDSM play, Miguel satisfies every forbidden craving. But as their time together runs out, she must decide if there's room in her real life for her holiday lover and her newly discovered kinky side.

Tilda's plans to spend the holidays alone on an exclusive resort in Mexico are turned upside down when she meets sexy, dominant lawyer Miguel on the plane. Miguel is visiting his family's resort to sort out a legal problem for them but when Tilda catches his eye he makes her an offer she can't refuse. If Tilda agrees to follow Miguel's orders he promises her pleasure like she's never even dreamed of before. Tilda is a successful business woman who is used to being in control but the idea of giving herself over to Miguel both intrigues her and turns her on and she's more than up for a little holiday fun.

Five Golden Rings was my favourite novella in the Season of Seduction anthology and I'm definitely looking forward to reading more from Jeffe Kennedy in the future. I love the fact that Tilda knew what she wanted and was willing to go out and get it, she doesn't hide from her sexuality and is happy to embrace her desires and jump into the world that Miguel introduces her to. I think one of my favourite things about this story was the fact that Tilda is a rich and successful woman in her own right, she doesn't need a man to take care of her and she submits to Miguel purely because she wants to not because he pushes her into it. She is new to the BDSM lifestyle but finds it incredibly freeing to let someone else take control for a change. After reading so many stories where you have a rich billionaire businessman and a naive and innocent young woman it is so refreshing to read about a woman who is the complete opposite!

Miguel is sexy as sin and I loved his creativity when it came to the gifts he presented Tilda with, they were such a fun take on the twelve days of Christmas song and I couldn't wait to see what new idea he came up with each day. He introduces Tilda to a completely new lifestyle and turns her world upside down but at the same time he completely underestimates her and I loved how she turned that around on him. My only complaint about Five Golden Rings is that I wanted more, not because anything was missing but because I was enjoying it so much I didn't want it to end!

Ménage on 34th Street by Elise Logan and Emily Ryan-Davis

Katrina and Liam Holland have the perfect marriage, a home in the trendiest part of Baltimore, and a scorching sex life. As another Christmas approaches, there's only one thing still on Kat's wish list: Hunter Croft. But she made peace long ago with his decision to choose the marines over their relationship. Until seeing him again arouses feelings she thought were in the past…

Hunter has spent a decade outrunning his attraction to both Kat and Liam. But now that he's stateside, his self-control crumbles when he comes face-to-face with the two people who star in all his favorite fantasies. Their reunion is both erotic and emotional—and has Hunter wondering if three's really a crowd, after all.

Liam can't imagine his life without Kat. But he can imagine a future where the three of them live and love under one roof. Liam and Kat have shared their bed with other men, but Hunter is the only one who could ever have a place in their hearts. And this holiday season, Liam intends to make their dream a reality.

Kat and Liam have a happy marriage but they both love to add a third partner into the mix occasionally. There is only one man that they would ever consider anything permanent with but Hunter couldn't deal with his feelings for them and left 10 years ago to join the Marines. Now that Hunter is back in the area Liam and Kat are determined to show him just how good the three of them could be together.

I have to admit that Ménage on 34th Street was my least favourite story in the anthology, I usually really enjoy ménage stories but this one missed the spot for me. I feel like the authors were trying to do too many things in a fairly short novella and this would have been much better as a full length novel. There was an author's note to say that there will be a further story about these characters but at the moment I'm not sure if I'm invested enough to want to carry on reading about them. There were things I enjoyed about the story - the sex was HOT! - but I never felt that the three of them would be able to make things work. Kat and Liam are obviously in love and very happy together but I didn't feel enough of a connection between them and Hunter. I believed that they had all been in love at one point but after 10 years with absolutely no contact I thought they needed to spend time getting to know each other again.

I spent a lot of the story feeling like Kat and Liam were trying to force Hunter into something he wasn't comfortable with. You could tell he was interested in them both but he's spent so long denying the fact he is bisexual I don't think he'd be able to accept things happening quite so fast. I also felt that Kat and Liam didn't take his concerns about his military career seriously enough, every time he tried to raise the issue they just pushed it to one side and tried to use sex to try and make him forget about it. When I pick up a novella, especially a Christmas one, I'm expecting a hot, sexy story. When it comes to ménage stories I'm not usually expecting a happy ever after but I do want a believable happy for now and I don't feel like I got that here. There seemed to be way too much talking which I started to find boring, especially since the more they talked the less I felt like they would work as a permanent threesome! The story also missed out on the Christmas feel good factor which was a real disappointment.

Naughty Nicks by Christine d'Abo

Kim has been the coordinator at Naughty Nicks, home of the sexiest Santa strippers, every Christmas for three years—and for just as long, she's lusted after her boss. She enjoys their flirty banter and heated looks, but she's getting tired of Blake being nice when she's feeling naughty. This year, there's only one kind of Christmas bonus she wants.

With each passing holiday season, Blake's attraction to Kim has grown. But after a bitter divorce, he's not sure he's ready to jump into a new relationship, especially with an employee. One passionate kiss under the mistletoe and he realizes he's had enough of looking and not touching. Fortunately, he knows the perfect way to seduce Kim—a private striptease to prove she's the only elf for his Naughty Nick.

Every Christmas for the last three years Kim has helped Blake run Naughty Nicks, a seasonal company that provides the sexiest Santa strippers for Christmas parties. Apart from a one night stand when they first met Blake has always kept Kim at a distance but her attraction to him has continued to grow and she is determined to take things a step further this year. Blake has wanted Kim from the moment they met but a nasty divorce has left him wary of relationships, Kim is special though and he finally feels ready to take a risk.

I was already a fan of Christine d'Abo so I had high hopes for Naughty Nicks and I wasn't disappointed, it had everything I look for in a Christmas story - great characters, a cute romance and sexy stripping Santas! Kim and Blake have brilliant chemistry but Blake has several reasons to be wary of pursuing a romance with her, he worries about their age difference and the fact that he's her boss but the biggest block of all is the number his ex-wife did on him when she left him. He has so much fun with Kim but is scared of losing her as a friend if they try and fail at a relationship. It was so easy to tell how perfect these two were for each other and I really enjoyed Kim's attempts at seducing Blake. He was trying so hard to resist her but in the end it all became too much and he had to have her. I loved Blake's big gesture towards the end (no I'm not talking engagement rings but something much more fun!) and I completely believe that these two will get their happy ever after.

I really hope that this might turn into a series because I loved the concept of Naughty Nicks and we were introduced to a few of their strippers who I'd love to see get their own happy endings. If you've not read anything by Christine d'Abo before I'd also highly recommend her Long Shots series which is set in a BDSM club and is incredibly hot, she's become an auto-buy author for me and I'm still working my way through her back list.

Matzoh and Mistletoe by Jodie Griffin

Every December twenty-fifth, Rebeccah Rickman volunteers through her synagogue so that others can celebrate Christmas. Her usual mitzvah, or good deed, is assisting police officer Jeremy Kohler. But this year is different: this year, Becca is free to act on the attraction that has long simmered between her and the sexy cop.

Jeremy couldn’t have asked for a better gift than discovering the woman he’s fantasized about for five long years is single. But when he learns about the violence that broke up Becca’s marriage, he’s hesitant to pursue her. He fears his desires will scare her away—but can’t deny his own need for control in the bedroom. Or his longing to instruct her in the fine art of submission…

Becca is shocked to learn that Jeremy is a sexual dominant. And despite her past, she’s also aroused. But before she can explore what that means, she’s going to have to put her trust in Jeremy—and her own fledgling desires.

For the last five years Becca has volunteered with the police department every Christmas and Easter and over that time she has become good friends with Jeremy. There has always been a spark between them but until recently Becca was married and unable to take things further. Jeremy has had feelings for Becca for a long time and now that he knows she is single he is hoping to show her how good they could be together. However, when he realises her husband abused her he worries that she will be put off by the fact that he is a Dom. He is sure he has seen signs of her submissive side but doesn't want to push her too hard and scare her away forever.

I'm going to come straight out with it and tell you Jeremy is HOT, I completely fell for his character and I'm sure a lot of other people will too. I will admit to feeling that the relationship development moves a little too quickly in this novella but I enjoyed the story so much I was happy to forgive that. I think one of the things I liked most about Matzoh and Mistletoe is that it goes to great lengths to show the differences between a D/s relationship and an abusive one. It is one thing to give control to someone voluntarily and another thing entirely for someone to take your control away by force. Jeremy is very patient with Becca when he explains the difference and I appreciated that about him, I also loved the way he was so gentle with her and talked through her fears because of the things her ex had done.

Becca has always had desires that her husband wasn't willing to fulfil, he made her feel dirty and wrong because she wanted to experiment in the bedroom so she has learnt to push her needs to one side. Jeremy encourages her to express herself, he wants her to feel free to tell him her deepest, darkest fantasies and assures her that nothing she comes up with will shock him. It was nice to see Becca start to come out of her shell and realise that there is nothing wrong with her because of her kinks. I also really loved how she realised that there is a big difference between being weak and being submissive. This was my first story by Jodie Griffin but I really enjoyed it and will definitely be reading more by her in the future.

Source: Received from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

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