cover image Unwrapped

Unwrapped

Erin McCarthy, Donna Kauffman, and Kate Angell. Kensington/Brava, $14 trade pape

This anthology of Christmas-themed romances from three noted authors of the genre offers an abundance of sexual tension, but little plot. As devised by McCarthy (Mouth to Mouth), Kauffman (Off Kilter), and Angell (Sliding Home), each set of couples meets under unusual circumstances, consummates their attraction with great haste, and grapples with their commitment issues. In McCarthy's "Blue Christmas"%E2%80%94the strongest of the three selections%E2%80%94Blue Farrow gets into a car accident with a handsome stranger, Christian, with whom she spends a steamy night in a motel while waiting out a blizzard. In Kauffman's "Santa in a Kilt," set on Kinloch, a Scottish island known for the wedded bliss of its residents, divorce attorney Shay Callaghan falls for the island's only divorc%C3%A9e, Kira MacLeod. In Angell's "Snow Angel," wealthy retail heir Aidan Dutton meets Allie Smith, a commitment-averse ski instructor, with whom he shares a night of passion. Though Allie disappears the morning after, the couple reunites three years later by virtue of a freak blizzard. In all three stories, sex trumps character development and setting, and the Christmas theme turns out to be little more than an afterthought. (Oct.)