An Enchanted Season (Maggie Shayne, Erin McCarthy, Nalini Singh, and Jean Johnson)

An Enchanted Season is a short fiction anthology by authors Maggie Shayne, Erin McCarthy, Nalini Singh, and Jean Johnson. [Guess who I bought it for? :)] The four stories featured all revolve around Christmas and are firmly set in the (paranormal) romance genre.

I’ll go through them story by story.

Melting Frosty by Maggie Shayne

Matt hates Christmas because his father died in the holiday season, when Matt was a little boy. Holly loves Christmas, remembering her whole family, who died in a car accident in the holiday season, when Holly was a little girl. This Christmas, they meet. It’s a coincidence. Or is it?

Maggie Shayne doesn’t really break new territory here. Reading the first couple of pages, you know how this is going to end. This gives it the quality of a comfort blanket. You don’t really need it anymore, but it’s nice to have every once in a while anyway.
Her story is more magical realism than paranormal, but I’ll let this one slide. :)

Charlotte’s Web by Erin McCarthy

Charlotte is in love with her best friend, Will. Will loves her, too. But both are afraid to move on it, not knowing what the other feels. How good that it turns out that Charlotte’s sisters Bree and Abby really are witches and not only say they are! Together, they uncover Charlotte’s powers and love.

Again, the story won’t surprise the hell out of you. But the characters are good and it seems part of a bigger thing (but apparently, isn’t. At least I could find no hint to a series on Erin McCarthy’s homepage). I really liked the sisters. And Will. Though I didn’t completely fall in love with Erin McCarthy’s writing, I can see myself reading more by her.

Beat of Temptation by Nalini Singh

Ah, yes… we’re back in the world of Psy and Changelings. This time we get Tamsyn’s and Nate’s story. It’s a prequel to the other books in the series.
Tammy and Nate both know that they are meant to mate since Tammy’s fifteenth birthday. Now, she’s nineteen and Nate – afraid that he’ll make Tammy feel locked in and rid her of her youth – still keeps his distance. Which drives Tammy absolutely insane.

It was interesting to get the backstory of the pack . I mean, you know from the books what has happened, but here Nalini Singh explores the impact this had on the pack. And it was so sweet to see all the guys I know from the other books as teenagers. And Nate’s and Tammy’s story – the flowers! – struck every romantic chord in my heart. *sigh*
Perfect to cuddle up with, but unfortunately, much too short.

Gifts of the Magi by Jean Johnson

Three strangers, three local boys and the struggling owner of a bed-and-breakfast and his fiancée are stuck in the b-n-b. While a snowstorm rages outside, conflicts get solved inside. Probably.

I have to be honest, I didn’t finish this story. Apparently the three strangers are magi or angels or something and their holier-than-thou talking went terribly on my nerves.

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