|Carly Phillips, Janell Dennison, Jacquie D'Allessandro: Stroke of Midnight|
Onyx (Paperback), ISBN 0-451-41164-1
These three novellas make for the perfect holiday reading -- light and fluffy. Packed with steam and charm -- delving back into these tales turns out to be a snap, even if you get distracted by presents, shopping, cooking or whatever else the season brings.
In Carly Phillips' "Midnight Angel," mega movie star Dylan North returns to his hometown. His past ten years in Hollywood only underscored the feeling that he really screwed up when he abandoned his high school flame, Holly Evans, so abruptly. He returns to woo her back, but her heart still stings from the goodbye note he left in her mailbox all those years ago.
Janelle Dennison writes "Meet Me at Midnight," where two best friends daydream about taking their relationship further. When Alyssa Harte shares her New Year's resolution with Shane Witmer -- to find a romantic relationship -- Shane fears he may lose her completely. His love for her goes back years but, unwilling to damage the friendship, he says nothing.
Alyssa feels the same way, finding herself deeply attracted to Shane but afraid of losing her best friend. But Shane seems interested in someone else and asks Alyssa for help with a makeover. When a mystery man on the Internet begins sending Alyssa instant messages, she responds and agrees to meet him at a New Year's Eve party. A big surprise awaits her there.
Merrie Langston, in Jacquie D'Allessandro's "Mine at Midnight," takes her party planning job very seriously, except for the bookkeeping. Her financial planner, Tom Farrell, inevitably ends up exasperated at their meetings when she brings her receipts in Baggies or Tupperware containers. But when she shows up dressed as an elf, complete with jingling shoes, he finds his attention on anything but number crunching. After a last minute cancellation, Merrie manages to rope him into playing Santa at a party. He can't believe he agreed to it, because he always tries to ignore Christmas. But the delectable elf intrigues him, pulling him kicking and screaming -- and moaning -- into the holiday spirit.
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