cover image That Mistletoe Moment

That Mistletoe Moment

Cat Johnson, Kate Angell, and Allyson Charles. Kensington, $15 trade paper (265p) ISBN 978-1-4967-0557-0

In this anthology of contemporary Christmas-oriented novellas, three women create fake boyfriends via the Build-a-Boyfriend App, with results ranging from charming to discomfiting. In Johnson’s charismatic “A Boyfriend by Christmas,” a chance meeting on Thanksgiving and a text sent to the wrong contact lead to alluring romantic possibilities. Angell’s pleasant “All I Want for Christmas Is...” features a woman vying to be a CEO’s personal shopper. She invents a boyfriend to stay competitive, but her tantalizing potential boss challenges her resolve. Finally, in Charles’s frustrating “Her Favorite Present,” Gabe, the cocreator of Build-a-Boyfriend, believes anyone using the app is “a pathetic waste of space” until he makes a bet involving covertly getting to know one of their clients. The stories, especially “All I Want,” feel rushed sometimes, but the brevity keeps characters from having to dwell in awkward situations. “A Boyfriend by Christmas” is invitingly sweet; by contrast, “Her Favorite Present” is brought down by Gabe’s deceit and snide disdain. Still, this collection will appeal to romance fans who enjoy stories of mix-ups and confident—or even arrogant—men. (Oct.)