cover image On the Naughty List

On the Naughty List

Lori Foster, Carly Phillips, Sugar Jamison, and Beth Ciotta. St. Martin’s Paperbacks, $7.99 mass market (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-07129-3

This quartet of contemporary Christmas novellas mixes sugar and spice for an appealing holiday treat. In Foster’s “Christmas Bonus,” coworkers Maggie and Eric are pining for each other but don’t realize it—until Eric finds a page from the erotic novel Maggie’s been writing. In Phillips’s “Naughty Under the Mistletoe,” a no-nonsense lawyer impulsively decides to kiss her boss at the holiday Christmas party, but ends up in the arms of his identical twin. Ciotta nods to A Christmas Carol with “Some Kind of Wonderful,” about a grieving Marine sniper and the childhood friend who helps him remember all of the good things worth living for. In Jamison’s “Have Yourself a Curvy Little Christmas,” brash single mother Dina Gregory is determined to make her infant son’s birth father take some responsibility for his son—and falls in love with his brother instead. There’s no coal in this stocking; each story satisfyingly tugs at the heartstrings. (Oct.)