by The Romance Cafe

Rating:
5/5

Kissing and Other Scandalous Pastimes by Thyra Dane, T. L. Clark, Lara Temple, Riana Everly, Rachel Ann Smith, Alexie Bolton, Catherine Stein, Chele MacCabe, S. L. Hollister, and Miranda Jameson of The Romance Cafe

I adore The Romance Cafe’s anthologies, and when I heard they were making an exclusively historical one, I was over the moon. All proceeds go to breast cancer research and it’s a great opportunity for established and new authors to get a story out there for people to enjoy.

These are all short stories based in winter/Christmas time. It’s so nice during the busy holidays to have a short story to finish before bed. This is a great mix of steam, characters, and plots. I’m sure you’ll find a favorite in at least one of these ten stories.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

THE CHALLENGE – A VIKING ROMANCE BY THYRA DANE

Sigh. Vikings. Yes please.

Borghild meets her childhood nemisis again, except this time he’s the jarl and demanding marriage. Eivind is arrogant, ready to be a leader, yet hasn’t stopped to ask what Borghild wants in this situation. Borghild is sassy and funny, she can take care of herself and is a perfect match for Eivind. Eivand is all man, yet is so tender toward Borghild. She challenges him to a holmgang.

I adored this story. Laughed out loud at their antics, loved the viking culture, loved their banter. The bath scene was gloriously funny and sexy. The ramps had me giggling.

This one was steamy!

A HAVERTON CHRISTMAS BY T. L. CLARK

Lady Caroline has tried to appease her parents, but failed miserably acquiring a husband during the season. This sweet regency was a nice escape into the Christmas season where she finally experiences love with Lord Borrington.

This is a first person historical, which gave it a totally different feel for me as I usually read third person. I loved the details given to the traditions and lifestyle of the time. I felt I was there decorating and celebrating Boxing Day. Very sweet story.

Low steam.

WREXHAM’S WINTER SCANDAL BY LARA TEMPLE

I find myself loving Lara Temple’s writing. I am totally sucked in. Love the descriptions and dialogue, she’s funny, witty, and her characters come to life for me.

Thea and Lucas have a history, but that’s ten years past and done with. He’s been at war, but has unexpectedly come into the title to become Lord Wrexham. She’s been living with her cousin and unpleasant Aunt while trying to raise and protect her family. Being thrown together after a decade has its surprises for both of them.

Low steam.

SWEETS FOR MY SWEET BY RIANA EVERLY

Daniel and Estie are just meant to be together. However, with cultural and class differences dividing their families, they struggle to see how it can work.

I rarely have come across a historical romance so immersed in another culture/religion. It was so refreshing to read about families that are Jewish and celebrate chanukah. The details of the food and traditions were fun to experience.

Low steam.

A TEST OF LOVE BY RACHEL ANN SMITH

Dorinda has been in love with Benedict and all of his peculiar habits forever. But Benedict needs a little pushing to realize what’s right in front of him. This story has fun characters and a bit of action. I’m thinking the hero has a form of OCD? Totally unique character, haven’t read that before.

Low steam.

DECEIT AND DESIRE BY ALEXIE BOLTON

Tamara is tired of her suspicions about her sick father’s abuse being ignored. She reaches out to von Hontzen. Finally a doctor that takes her seriously. They are pulled together by attraction and held together by danger and intrigue. Plenty of action and suspense in this one.

MISHAPS & MISTLETOE BY CATHERINE STEIN

This story takes place in steampunk Victorian England, where potions can be used to enhance your mood, give you energy, make you more alluring…the sky is the limit if you have the money to pay. Mabel is over dancing with only her siblings husbands. For once she wants to forget her horrible nickname and truly enjoy a ball. When a too many loving friends and family try to help her, she is carried away by a herd of stampeding men. She escapes right into the arms of Drew, an ‘Egyptologist’ and long time friend.

I’d like to note that I adore that Stein’s chapters have names and aren’t just numbers. I love when authors do that.

This story was amazing. Stein’s characters fly off the page with spunk and personality. This story was fun, funny, fast paced, sexy, it was PERFECT. I loved it. I adored how Drew professes his love.

This one was steamy!

MARRIED BY CHELE MACCABE

This was a quick, fun, sexy story about Birdie, an upstairs maid at Biltmore Estate and her love for Jason, who runs the general store in town. The thing I loved about this was it explored all the giddiness, fun, excitement, and nervousness of getting married. It seems in so many of the novels I read, it’s an afterthought at the end of the book, or it’s an arranged marriage where they don’t know each other or hate each other at the beginning of the book. I loved feeling Birdie’s excitement in this story.

This one was steamy!

IF ONLY IN MY DREAMS BY S. L. HOLLISTER

Lydia and Jeremy have a love that’s meant to last. Taking place during WWII, I adored this story. I don’t think I’ve ever read a romance set during this time and Hollister does an amazing job storytelling their relationship and the war interfering. It’s given to you in bits and pieces that totally pull you in. Lydia is a strong woman, I admire her so much for joining the war as a nurse. Jeremy is her perfect match, especially for supporting her in her dreams. Lovely story.

This one was steamy!

AN UNSUITABLE MATCH BY MIRANDA JAMESON

Felicity, or Fliss, has come to India to find what happened to her lost love, Jai. Surprisingly, she finds him not only hale and hearty, but annoyed by her desertion. Both of them are confused, hurt, and angry until they are able to see each other again and talk. Soon they find who was behind trying to pull them apart.

I’m always a sucker for stories that take place in India. They just feel so exotic and different and totally pull me in. I loved this story so much. The different cultures and customs coming together in love. Also takes place after WWII, a new time for me to read about. Jameson does amazing with an emotional pull in the story.

This one was steamy!

My favorites of the anthology were The Challenge by Thyra Dane, Mishaps and Mistletoe by Catherine Stein, and An Unsuitable Match by Miranda Jameson. Funny, sexy….but great job everyone. A nice mix of everything.

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