Silent Night, Sinful Night is a collection of erotic short stories by some of Aphrodisia's best known authors, and has a little bit of something for everyone. While all are considered historical, each is set in a different period and location. One is set in Regency England, another in Georgian West Indies, and the third is set in Victorian United States...all of them will spice up any cold winter night.
In Sharon Page's Wicked for Christmas the heroine Amelia, is the Governess to a privileged family of the Ton. She falls in love with the family heir and when he vows to marry her against his family's wishes she succumbs to his passionate seduction only to find herself ruined and abandoned in the morning.
Alone, she is left to face the condemnation of her employer and is reduced to a mere servant, as well as the loss and seeming betrayal of the man she loved. Several years elapse and just when Amelia is on the verge of moving on with her life and trying to trust in love again, Dante returns. While his love for Amelia has not wavered he can no longer offer her the love he once did...only the protection of his name. Because on the night he disappeared he was changed into a vampire.
Dante has yearned for his one true love ever since becoming a vampire, even incurring the wrath of his maker to return to her. But now Dante must convince Amelia to marry him once again, even though they cannot be together forever. His determination to win her over results in twelve days of seduction cleverly inspired by the twelve days of Christmas. And while Dante might not be able to be in the light, he makes up for it in his creative erotic nocturnal temptations.
I enjoyed almost every aspects of Ms. Page's story....all except for the parts that dealt with Dante being a vampire which I thought were somewhat laughable in their throw back to Bram Stoker's Dracula. Granted this is a paranormal historical romance, but every reference to vampires in long black capes, or shifting into bats...was just too....Bram Stoker Dracula archaic.
Wicked for Christmas would have been everything that I love about erotic historical romance if Dante would have been kidnapped by just an ordinary person instead of a vampire (though evil in his own way), escaped, then pursued by his abductor...basically removing every element of "vampireness" in the story. In truth, the paranormal aspect actually made me step outside of the story I was enjoying, because I found some of it to be ridiculous. It changed what would have been my favorite of the stories, a 5 star read, into a story that I loved only partially resulting in a 3.5 star read instead. In the end I think I will avoid Ms. Page's stories that contain paranormal elements based on my experience with this story, BUT I enjoyed her writing style, the sensuousness of the story, as well as the historical setting so much that I will most definitely be checking out her Historical Romances like The Club or any of her other Erotic Historical Romances in the very near future. 3.50 stars /3.75 sensuality)
In Naught or Nice? by Melissa MacNeal the heroine Tess is facing her first Christmas alone after the deaths of her husband and daughter, in addition to being pressured by an unwanted suitor to remarry. On a whim she decides to flee and while at the train station she finds an ad in the paper for employment and decides that it is exactly what she needs. So she boards a train for the West to escape her memories and to avoid a man she despises.
This story was my least favorite of the three. I just couldn't get past Tess's need to believe that her employer is Santa, or someone like him. Santa. I don't know why I had a hard time believing that she would believe, considering that I usually try to suspend reality in ANY fiction book that I read, but I just couldn't get past that. I wish the story would have focused more on Tess's loss and learning to live again and finding a new love, as well as a new purpose with the wealth she inherited. Instead the story focuses on a wealthy childish man who is a mix of Willa Wonka and Santa, who lives in a fantasy world of his own creation (helped along with his opium & sexual addiction).
Perhaps I might have enjoyed Naughty or Nice? if the man needing redemption would have been the hero, but he wasn't he was just a secondary character that took up too much page time in my opinion. As a result I felt that the story was very superficial much like the candy that Tess's "Santa" manufactures. All sugar...no not really sugar, more like saccharin...with very little substance. It leaves you craving so much more after you are finished. Naughty or Nice? by Melissa MacNeal gets 2.75 stars /3.50 sensuality
Stolen Chances by Chloe Harris is by far the best story out of the three in this anthology, and in my opinion should have been the headliner...the star, even though the author is not as well known as the other two.
Winston Matthews is the son of an important and corrupt government official whom he basically despises, but because of his love for his mother he returns home for the holidays where he encounters a beautiful woman at a ball with lust in her eyes...except the lust is not for him, but for the jewels that she is planning to steal....at least at the beginning.
Winston begins his seduction of the beautiful woman in order to thwart her attempts to illegally appropriate his guests' valuable possessions only to find himself enthralled by the lady behind the deception. Thus begins their steamy (very steamy) holiday affair where both of them learn a bit about the other, while still protecting their own secrets.
I really loved Stolen Chances, in fact I wish it would have been a full length novel because I loved the setting of the story, I loved the dilemmas that both the heroine and hero found themselves in, as well as watching them learn to trust and believe in each other...which is against both of their skeptical natures and jaded hearts.
I did feel that their intimacy upon meeting each other was rather quick, but when you take into account that they are both attempting to use the other for their own means it becomes more believable. I also wished that there would have been the opportunity to explore both of their histories more than what was possible in the story. I wanted to know more details about Rosie's life, and I also wanted more about Winston's estranged relationship with is father. Both played pivotal roles in who the characters were when they meet each other and colored there actions and reactions to one another.
It's not that the story was lacking those connections to their pasts, they just weren't as in depth as I would have liked because I enjoyed the hero and heroine so much. Stolen Chances is the shining star of this holiday themed erotic romance anthology. With its exotic locale, characters that you are dying to learn more about, not to mention the spicy and steamy love scenes which were positively sinful, this story is the one to buy Silent Night, Sinful Night for. I'm looking forward to reading more by Chloe Harris. Stolen Chances by Chloe Harris gets 4.25 stars/4.00 sensuality.
Wicked for Christmas by Sharon Page 3.50 stars /3.75 sensuality
Stolen Chances by Chloe Harris 4.25 stars / 4.00 sensuality
Naughty or Nice? by Melissa MacNeal 2.75 stars /3.50 sensuality
Overall: 3.50 stars
Sensuality level: 3.75