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The Magical Christmas Cat [Paperback]

Lora Leigh , Erin McCarthy , Nalini Singh , Linda Winstead Jones
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Oct. 7 2008
Put a little meow in their stocking this year with these tales of Christmas and felines-from beloved bestselling authors!

New York Times bestselling author Lora Leigh and top-selling authors Nalini Singh, Erin McCarthy, and Linda Winstead Jones have a special gift for readers this year: heartwarming holiday stories featuring passionate romance, paranormal adventure, and a distinctly alluring feline touch. With four new stories-including one featuring Lora Leigh's genetically altered Feline Breeds-this is a collection packed with more surprises than Christmas morning, and more chills than the snowiest winter night...

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About the Author

Lora Leigh is known for her deliciously intense and satisfying erotic romance. Her characters come to her in her dreams, inspiring her with the possibilities of What If... Most days, Lora can be found in front of her computer weaving daydreams while sipping the ambrosia of the gods, also known as coffee. When not writing, thinking about writing, or plotting what to write, Lora, a Kentucky native, enjoys gardening, fishing, and hiking with her husband and children.
Erin McCarthy, the author of A Date with the Other Side, Bad Boys Online, Smart Mouth, Houston, We Have a Problem, and Mouth to Mouth.

Nalini Singh is passionate about writing. Though she’s traveled as far afield as the deserts of China and the temples of Japan, it is the journey of the imagination that fascinates her the most. She’s beyond delighted to be able to follow her dream as a writer.

Nalini lives and works in beautiful New Zealand. For contact details and to find out more about the Psy-Changeling series, please visit her website.

Since the publication of her first book in 1994, Linda Winstead Jones has published more than fifty-five novels and novellas. She's a five-time finalist for the Romance Writers of America's RITA Award and a winner of the 2004 RITA for paranormal romance. Her leisure activities include retail therapy (she never met a shoe she didn’t like), easy hiking, and, naturally, reading. An active member of the Romance Writers of America, she lives in North Alabama with her husband of more than thirty-six years.

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Remember , it is anthology April 24 2009
By Astrid
Are a fun of Ms. Leigh ? You will not be disappointed with her story from Breed series.The rest is O.K. , maybe Nalini Singh will be your favorite but one has to be a very good writer to create an excellent short story .
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  60 reviews
51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Four wonderful paranormal romances for Christmas! Sept. 15 2008
By Jennifer A. Ray - Published on
**Courtesy of Wild on Books**

Berkley Sensation really knows how to light up the Christmas season, with an anthology guaranteed to be on many a Christmas list this year! With four hot novellas by Lora Leigh, Nalini Singh, Erin McCarthy, and Linda Winstead Jones, THE MAGICAL CHRISTMAS CAT will thrill lovers of paranormal romance.

Each of the stories shares a common theme - they are all paranormal stories that center around a feline. Although three of them are part of series by those authors, each works well as a standalone story that will give new fans a tantalizing taste of those authors' work.

With four short stories that are big on romance, THE MAGICAL CHRISTMAS CAT is truly a gift for lovers of romantic fiction!


It is not unusual for a Changeling to recognize his mate the moment he sees her. When Zach meets his nephew's pretty teacher, Annie, he can't deny his reaction to her. Everything about her entices the man in him as well as the leopard.

But Annie is more than a little skittish, determined that any relationship will be short-term only. Zach must restrain himself in order to seduce her not only into his bed, but into his life forever.

I have loved every story in Nalini Singh's PSY/CHANGELING series so far, but I do believe that Zach and Annie's story is my new favorite! Everything about this tale totally worked for me.

Zach was true to his feline nature, with a personality that is a little bit sly, a lot playful, and a way about him that effortlessly wins the heart of both Annie and the reader. He faces every obstacle facing them with patient cunning, ultimately winning his heart's desire.

Annie is just a doll. Although she has a slight physical disability, she never lets it get the best of her, and always keeps a positive outlook. This quality, along with her natural empathy for others, makes her a wonderful teacher, but it also makes it easy to see why Zach is drawn to her.

STROKE OF ENTICEMENT is a wonderfully fun romance that will please fans of Nalini Singh's PSY/CHANGELING series and entice new fans to want more.

Connected Stories:
Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changelings, Book 1)
Visions of Heat (Psy-Changelings, Book 2)
Caressed By Ice (Psy-Changelings, Book 3)
Mine to Possess (Psy-Changelings, Book 4)
Hostage to Pleasure (Psy-Changelings, Book 5)
An Enchanted Season
The Magical Christmas Cat

~CHRISTMAS BREE by Erin McCarthy~

Bree doesn't know quite what to think when her sister predicts that the man of her dreams will come knocking on her front door very soon. Despite her belief in the paranormal, it all just seems a little too unreal, especially the part where he'll be wearing a pink shirt and sport a yuppie look, in stark contrast to her own more Goth style.

Then her cat turns up that bit of magical mistletoe she and her sisters put a love spell on a year ago... No wonder she's been having erotic dreams lately!

So when Ian turns up on her doorstep looking every inch the lawyer he is, she can't quite turn him away... Their unlikely attraction seems to be pre-ordained at first, but does Ian really want her or is he simply seducing her on behalf of his mysterious client?

If you read AN ENCHANTED SEASON, then you've already met the Murphy sisters in Erin McCarthy's novella CHARLOTTE'S WEB. Ms. McCarthy continues matchmaking these women in her offering to THE MAGICAL CHRISTMAS CAT. CHRISTMAS BREE follows the brief courtship between Ian and Bree, two polar opposites.

Or at least, that is the way they appear on the outside... As they get to know each other, this unlikely pair finds they have more in common than they might ever have expected. As their feelings for each other grow, both Ian and Bree reevaluate what is important to them, and what they want to do with their futures.

In the end, we have a beautiful love story that demonstrates that it is who we are on the inside that really counts and if you look past what is on the surface, you may be pleasantly surprised by what you find underneath.

Connected Stories:
An Enchanted Season
The Magical Christmas Cat

~SWEET DREAMS by Linda Winstead Jones~

When Ruby receives the mysterious cat sculpture as a present from a secret admirer, she is a little unnerved. And that is before the weird things start happening - strange feline sounds in her home, the cat seemingly moving on its own, and those frighteningly real dreams...

When her sexy but preoccupied neighbor shows a sudden interest in her and the cat, she doesn't know quite what to think. Is Zane truly trying to help her or is he behind the growing threat she feels is near?

I've not read anything by Linda Winstead Jones until SWEET DREAMS, but I liked the story a lot. Her characters are likable, the plot was very good, and the story flowed well.

Ian was a great hero, with the sense of nobility romance readers expect from a romantic lead. Ruby was adorable, with a knack for loosening the oh-so-disciplined Ian up, tempting him with more than her baked goods...

My only disappointment with SWEET DREAMS is the heat level. Surrounded by three stories that had plenty of steam, I fully expected at least one really good love scene in this one, but it just didn't happen. While the romance was definitely there, and we enjoy one nice scene with a little foreplay, the lack of a more sensual bedroom scene made it seem a little out of place in this anthology.

Still, the story was very entertaining, and I will certainly be reading more of Ms. Jones' work in the future.

~CHRISTMAS HEAT by Lora Leigh~

When Haley McQuire is a witness to a plot against the Breed community, she finds herself in unexpected danger. Noble Chavin immediately appoints himself as her personal bodyguard, a situation that she doesn't mind in the least. She has had eyes for the handsome Jaguar Breed for some time, and being near him is certainly no hardship.

Noble has been more than patient, biding his time for the last year in order to give his sweet little librarian time to get used to him, to choose to be with him on her own before the Mating Heat takes control of both their libidos. When an attempt on her life is made, all bets are off. Noble will do whatever it takes to keep his mate safe, and to finally make her his.

But treachery lurks within the Breed Compound, and in order to protect Haley, they must ferret out the traitor in their midst.

Lora Leigh does it again! Her addictive BREEDS saga grows ever more popular with each release in this series, and CHRISTMAS HEAT is sure to win a whole new set of fans for her. This novella includes characters we've met and liked in other stories, but works well as a standalone for those who haven't yet read the previous tales.

Like her story in HOT SPELL, THE BREED NEXT DOOR, this new short story reminds readers of just everything that the BREEDS have missed in their hard lives. In this case, we see the Christmas experience through Noble's eyes as he learns what the season really means from Haley.

Noble is the epitome of the Breed hero - a man who loves with every fiber of his being, is savagely protective, and undeniably sexy. I have to admit I find Noble just as irresistible as Haley does.

Haley is a breath of fresh air in Noble's world. She brings a normalcy and wonder to his life that he never knew existed. She is constantly thinking of others, wanting simply to make people happy and comfortable.

CHRISTMAS HEAT is a perfect combination of sweet love and lusty romance. I've already read it twice, and know I'll be reading this one again and again through the years.

Connected Stories:
For a full list of the stories in the Breeds saga, please check my Listmania list at Amazon for Lora Leigh's Breeds books. There are too many books in the series to list here.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Magical Christmas Cat- A Joyfully Recommended Title Oct. 7 2008
By MNix - Published on
"Stroke of Enticement" by Nalini Singh

Having watched her mother's heart being broken continuously by her emotionally distant father, Annie Kildaire has convinced herself that long-term romantic relationships are not for her. All that changes when Zach Quinn walks into her classroom and promptly turns her world upside down. The sexy leopard changeling seems determined to wreak havoc on her senses, and Annie isn't so sure that's a bad thing.

The minute he sees his nephew's human teacher, Zach knows Annie is destined to be his mate. Both leopard and man are drawn to her beauty, strength, and intelligence. All he wants to do is claim Annie as his own. But Zach knows that to win over his cautious mate he'll have to entice her to trust him, and he'll use every sensual trick up his sleeve to do so.

Just when you think the Nalini Singh can't get any better, she serves up another amazing tale. "Stroke of Enticement" is a captivating story that grabbed me from the very first page and didn't let go.

Zach is the kind of hero I love to read and dream about - devastatingly handsome, charming, intelligent, protective, and slightly mischievous. He's possessive of Annie, not in a controlling way, but in such a way that made me sigh and wonder where I could find a hero like him. As for Annie, I utterly adored her. A childhood accident has left her with a slight physical handicap, but she never lets it stop her. She's strong in both body and mind. As she falls in love with Zach, I found she was strong of heart as well. Separately, they were endearing, but as a couple they wholly complimented one another. Their romance was the perfect combination of passion, tenderness, excitement, and fun.

"Stroke of Enticement" is part of Ms. Singh's Psy-Changeling series, but can be read as a stand-alone. Fans of the series will delight in this sensational addition to an already incredible series, and newcomers to the Psy-Changeling world will surely be racing to the nearest bookstore to gather up the rest of the series.

"Christmas Bree" by Erin McCarthy

The second of three magical sisters, Bree Murphy believes in many things paranormal. But when her younger sister predicts that a businessman in a pink shirt will ring her doorbell Bree declares it impossible - she does not go for the corporate type. Yet sure enough, lawyer Ian Carrington shows up on her doorstep almost immediately.

Ian met Bree about a year ago, and for nearly as long, both of them have been having the same erotic dream over and over. Neither wants to be attracted to the other. But when Bree's cat turns up with a piece of mistletoe the Murphy sisters enchanted a year ago, fate seems determined to see these two unlikely lovers get together. Can a Chicago lawyer and a small-town witch make it last? Or will uncertainty and a lack of trust ruin their relationship before it has a chance to truly start?

"Christmas Bree" is the classic case of opposites attracting, only to find out they're not so different after all. While this element may be tried and true, Erin McCarthy's story is fresh, fun, and sexy.

Ian is both charming and seductive - a hero I could readily fall for. Bree, in turn, is the kind of character you'd want to be friends with in real life. She's open with her family, but slightly wary when it comes to falling in love with Ian. She makes mistakes because of that guardedness, but those serve to humanize her even further. No discussion of "Christmas Bree" would be complete without mentioning Bree's cat, Akasha. Though few in number so as to not be overwhelming, Akasha's antics had me laughing and grinning throughout the tale.

"Christmas Bree" is part of Ms. McCarthy's Ohio's Most Haunted Town series. Having not read the other books in the series, I can definitely say that while characters from previous stories appear, "Christmas Bree" stands on its own. However, after reading this delightful tale, I will definitely be rushing to read the rest of the books in this series.

"Sweet Dreams" by Linda Winstead Jones

At a neighborhood Christmas party, Ruby receives a jade cat figurine as a present from a "secret admirer." That night, strange dreams begin to haunt Ruby. Dreams of terror and betrayal, those are just the beginning of the frightening events beginning to torment her. Unsure of whom to trust, Ruby isn't sure what to make of her sexy neighbor Zane who is showing interest in both her and the figurine. Is Zane's attraction for her genuine? Or is he in league with the menacing figure of her dreams, which threatens to destroy her?

"Sweet Dreams" certainly has the recipe for a good story. Ruby is a fun and likeable heroine who I was rooting for to find happiness. Zane had the qualities that are the hallmark of a good hero - intelligence, strength, looks, with a bit of bluntness, which makes him human rather than the cardboard perfect hero.

The plot centering on the threat to Ruby was well developed and entertaining. The only thing I wish for in this story is more focus on the romance aspect. However, it felt as if the love story was rushed, and the wrap-up at the end of the novella did not feel genuine because of that. Yet overall, I enjoyed "Sweet Dreams" and look forward to reading more of Linda Winstead Jones's work.

"Christmas Heat" by Lora Leigh

After librarian Haley McQuire overhears some vital information regarding a plot that endangers the Breed Community, she soon finds her life is on the line. With danger surrounding her, the last thing Haley wants is for anyone she cares about to be in jeopardy because of her. And that includes sexy Jaguar Breed Noble Chavin.

From the first moment he saw her, Noble knew that Haley was his mate, the one woman on this earth destined to be his alone. But he also knows that with finding his mate comes the mating heat - an emotional and sexual connection that neither will be able to overcome. For over a year Noble has been waiting, letting Haley get to know him before he makes his move. But when Haley's life is threatened, all bets are off. She's his and despite her fears for his safety, he'll do anything, everything, to protect and love his mate.

Christmastime just got a whole lot hotter with Lora Leigh's newest addition to her fantastic Breed series. In "Christmas Heat" we get to meet Haley, a smart, capable, likeable heroine with a big heart and a compassionate nature. It's easy to see why Noble is drawn to her; she has a kindness about her that comes off the page that endeared her to me. Fans of the Breed series will likely remember Noble from Dawn's Awakening. In "Christmas Heat" we see more than just the gorgeous enforcer. Noble is not only a sexy, protective, alpha male. He's intelligent, patient, understanding, and there's a dash of vulnerability in his non-comprehension of what the Christmas season is all about. The beauty of the tale is not only watching Noble and Haley fall in love, but getting to see a Breed experience, for the first time, the joy life has to offer in the love and traditions of the holidays.

For newcomers to Ms. Leigh's Breed series, "Christmas Heat" can stand on its own. However, the story does contain several major plot spoilers for the previous book in the series, Mercury's War. As a fan of the series, I must say one of the pleasures of "Christmas Heat" was getting to "visit" with some of my favorite characters. The road from harsh creation to happily ever after is never smooth for any of the Breed, but "Christmas Heat" exemplifies exactly why this series is so addictive. It's the journey that grips the heart in unimaginable ways and leaves you with a smile on your face.

The Magical Christmas Cat is the perfect anthology to heat up the holiday season. It is rare to find an anthology where you genuinely enjoy all of the novellas. Yet Nalini Singh, Erin McCarthy, Linda Winstead Jones, and Lora Leigh have all contributed sexy, and entertaining reads. Perfect to curl up with on a cold winter afternoon. With four luscious tales that are sure to please, The Magical Christmas Cat will both fire the blood and warm the heart.

reviewed for Joyfully Reviewed
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In Which I Review a Decent Book with a Very. Silly. Title. Aug. 6 2009
By Kylin N. - Published on
The Magical Christmas Cat? Really?

Was that the best the marketing department could come up with?

I can just see people from the publisher sitting around a table saying, "Well, let's see. The stories have all got magic and take place during Christmas. Oh, and all four of the stories involve a cat in some way. Whatever shall we call it?"

A hand smacks onto the table. "I'VE GOT IT."


On to the review.

This book is made up of four different stories by well-known authors in the paranormal romance genre: Lora Leigh, Nalini Singh, Erin McCarthy, and Linda Winstead-Jones.

If I was being completely impartial, this book really only deserved two and a half or three stars. The story by Linda Winstead-Jones ("Sweet Dreams") was decent, but not really suited to novella form. There was too much world-building smushed in, while the plot itself felt thin. It would have been much better suited to a novel, where the author could have plumped up the storyline and included the details about the warriors and the past souls that she clearly wanted to include. "Sweet Dreams" was mediocre at best.

Erin McCarthy's story, "Christmas Bree" was twee and saccharine and had me looking over hill and under dale to find the plot. After much searching, this is what I've determined: (WARNING: ZOMG, VAGUE SPOILERS. Also, indiscriminate usage of the word "hump.") Man shows up at door. Woman and man hump a lot. Through clumsy machinations of callous billionaire, woman and man buy a house together and live happily ever after. The entertainment factor in this novella was so low, I actually fell asleep TWICE while trying to finish it.

Wait!! Don't think I'm bitter and snarky! There were two stories I LURVED!!

Nalini's Singh's "Stroke of Enticement" is actually why I purchased "The Magical Christmas Cat" in the first place. I have adored every single book of hers that I've read, so when I saw that she had a novella that tied into her Psy/Changeling series I had to buy it! Zach and Annie are sweet, and their story was exactly what I was looking for when I bought this collection. Zach is hot and alpha. Annie is tender and bashful, but with a core of steel. Overall, it was a lovely addition to her ongoing series.

Lora Leigh's "Christmas Heat" was the big surprise for me. I'd never actually read any of her work before, so I didn't have any expectation going into it.

I was absolutely blown away. The smut was steamy, and although certain aspects of it were clinical (descriptions of the anatomical differences between humans and Breed) it didn't detract one iota. The author was absolutely effortless in giving the unitiated reader a healthy background into the world of the Breed without inundating us with information. The world-building details blended in seamlessly with a taut and interesting plot. I immediately ran out and purchased four more of her books.

So, to sum up - the quality of novellas varied greatly. However, in my opinion, the book was worth purchasing just to get at Nalini Singh's and Lora Leigh's contributions. That's why I ranked it 4 out of 5 stars.

...However, I am still struggling with a desire to kick the marketer who named this book in the metaphorical nuts. (True story!)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three sizzle, One simmers Nov. 8 2009
By D. Salvagin La Deetda Reads - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book intrigued me because it had two authors I knew and two who I was hoping would be a welcome discovery. I was not disappointed. All four are first rate paranormal romance stories, three with sizzling sex and one with simmering romance. Not all anthologies deliver but this one comes through purring.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best Read Oct. 2 2009
By John Romero - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I loved 3 out of the 4 stories. They are innovative, compelling, intriquing, and spellbinding. This is a must read for all of Christine Feehan's fans. Stroke of Enticement by Nalini Singh, was an interesting way to view the future of earth. Psychics vs Humans, hmm? Sweet Dreams by Linda Winstead Jones, talk about a scary ghost story! Boy,I couldn't put the book down till I was done, and I don't like scary stories, but this one was well written. Last but not least Christmas Heat by Lora Leigh also just as riveting. Similar to Nalini Singh's story, but with definite differences. This story moves quickly filled with lots of passion, and Heat! I now have 3 new writers to shop for, great job guys.
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