A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Thursday, December 24, 2015

What Happens Under the Mistletoe by Sabrina Jeffries, Karen Hawkins, Candace Camp and Meredith Duran- A Book Review

New York Times bestselling authors Sabrina Jeffries, Karen Hawkins, and Candace Camp, and USA TODAY bestselling author Meredith Duran come together for a sizzling historical romance holiday anthology.

Stunned by the heat of an unexpected kiss on a cold winter’s eve, two strangers from vastly different worlds turn hotheaded principles into burning passion in Sabrina Jeffries’s delightful yuletide story, "The Heiress and the Hothead".

In the snowy Scottish countryside, Karen Hawkins’s rakish duke has an unforgettable holiday encounter in "Twelve Kisses" when the alluring lady he surprises under the mistletoe is not who he expected, but a long-lost love with a score to settle.

In "By Any Other Name", Edinburgh is aglitter for Christmastime as Candace Camp sends a curious gentleman in hot pursuit of an intriguing lady in disguise—one who refuses to reveal her true identity, though she fears he has already stolen her heart with his kiss.

In "Sweet Ruin", will the festive spirit of the season sweep Meredith Duran’s feisty heroine beneath the mistletoe—and back into the arms of the dashing rogue whose carelessness soiled her reputation and sent her into exile in London?

In this all-new story collection sparkling with sexy charm and heartwarming wit, four beloved bestselling authors reveal the mix-ups and make-ups, the missed chances and golden opportunities that come but once a year.

What Happens Under the MistletoeWhat Happens Under the Mistletoe by Sabrina Jeffries
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What Happens Under the Mistletoe by Sabrina Jeffries, Karen Hawkins, Candace Camp, and Meredith Duran is a 2015 Pocket Star Publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher as an XOXpert, the official street team of XOXO After Dark.

Every year a slew of holiday anthologies hit the market ranging from syrupy heartwarming tales to silly and funny capers, all centered around the most anticipated holiday of the season. But, few of these compilations have a star studded group of seasoned authors gathered in one place, like this one does.

If you are a fan of regency period historical romance, then you will recognize these authors and you know you can count on them, which, for me is a huge selling point, mainly because I know there will be no weak entries, and each story is one of high quality and authenticity.

“Sweet Emblem of returning peace
The heart’s full gush, and love’s release;
Spirts in human fondness flow
And greet the pearly Mistletoe.”


Sabrina Jeffries kicks the party off with a unique tale involving the dangers of mill workers and the horrible practice of hiring underage staff and subjecting them to long hours, little pay, and dangerous work conditions.

Amanda is from America, an heiress, running a successful mill, but has traveled to England to see why their businesses are more profitable. She encounters Stephen, a man on a mission, to report on the unsafe environment of mills. He lumps Amanda in with the worst of the lot, sparking a challenge between them, and a little chemistry too. Can Amanda prove she’s not all the other mill owners? Can she calm Stephen’s hot temper and join forces with him to make positive changes? Maybe- with a little help from the Christmas spirit, a sly kiss under the mistletoe and a little soul searching.

I liked this story because it featured an American, a dedicated business woman, and a little action and adventure, plus it had a depth to it, something that many regency stories seem to lack these days.

The second, and the lengthiest story is “Twelve Kisses to Midnight by Karen Hawkins and the third story is “By Any Other Name” by Candace Camp. Both stories are solid offerings, with Ms. Hawkins being the most prominent story included in the anthology.

Closing the book is Meredith Duran’s “Sweetest Regret”. This story has a touch of intrigue, which is always fun, but the story title suggested some regret is involved, and indeed a young couple in love were driven apart, losing two years together as a result. However, this delightful second chance love story, ends with the couple finally making up for all that lost time. There is some cute banter in this one and I really loved the ending.

Overall, this Christmas anthology is one of the best I’ve read this year. You really can’t go wrong with the group of talented authors gathered in one place.

4 stars






Sabrina Jeffries is the NYT bestselling author of 39 novels and 10 works of short fiction (some written under the pseudonyms Deborah Martin and Deborah Nicholas). Whatever time not spent writing in a coffee-fueled haze of dreams and madness is spent traveling with her husband and adult autistic son or indulging in one of her passions—jigsaw puzzles, chocolate, and music. With over 7 million books in print in 20 different languages, the North Carolina author never regrets tossing aside a budding career in academics for the sheer joy of writing fun fiction, and hopes that one day a book of hers will end up saving the world.

She always dreams big.


New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Karen Hawkins is known for her wonderfully humorous and emotion-tugging historical and contemporary romances. The author of over 30 novels, Karen writes for a living between shopping for shoes, playing around on Facebook and Pinterest, looking for fun items for Hawkins Manor, and napping, although usually not at the same time. Sometimes, for fun, she takes Instagram pictures of her two rescue dogs, Sadie and Teke, and posts them online.

Yeah, she's a wild one.

Karen lives in balmy Orlando, Florida, with her husband, aka Hot Cop, and her two dogs. Her children are both out of college and have become productive, non-violent members of society. Karen writes six to eight hours a day when not obsessively reading research books on Regency-era Scotland, snacking on chocolate, or looking out the windows of her house and thinking about gardening. Her hobbies include sculpting, oil painting, playing badminton, and -- ok, ok, she doesn't have any hobbies, but if she did, she's sure they'd be something refined and fascinating.

If you want to follow Karen on any of the various social media outlets that allow her to engage in 'productive procrastination,' you can find her at:

If you'd like to keep up with Karen's crazed and hectic schedule, win free books, find out about her coming releases, or just want to engage in some easy on-line snooping, sign up for Karen's amazing newsletter!


Candace Camp is the New York Times bestselling author of over sixty books.

Her first novel, *Bonds of Love*, was published by Jove Publishing in 1978, under the pseudonym Lisa Gregory. Two pseudonyms (Kristin James and Sharon Stephens)and many books later, Candace writes under her own name Candace Camp and still loves creating stories.

Candace lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and is the mother of Young Adult author Anastasia Hopcus.


MEREDITH DURAN grew up enamored of British history. At thirteen years old, she made a list of life goals that included writing romance novels, trying sushi, and going to London to see Holbein’s portrait of Anne Boleyn. Now she is happy to report that all three goals have become her favorite things to do. When not studying, doing fieldwork in India, or working on her next novel, Meredith can be found in the library, browsing through travelogues written by intrepid Englishwomen of the nineteenth century

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