Saturday, November 7, 2015

A Wrong Bed Christmas: 2 Novellas in 1 by Kimberly VanMeter & Liz Talley

Ignited by Kimberly Van Meter
What do you do when a sexy, naked fireman gets into your bed? If you're Alexis Matheson, you freak out. But now she's snowed in with Layton Davis, and suddenly Alexis's best intentions to behave seem to have disappeared up the chimney. Because a hot 'n' naughty firefighter in her bed might be the best Christmas surprise ever…
Where There's Smoke by Liz Talley
Emma Rose Brent is sure she's dreaming when Erik Matheson, her bestie's überhot older brother—who she's been crushing on for years—mistakenly slips into her bed, all gloriously naked. But Emma must have been a very good girl this year, because she's been given the best gift of all: the chance to be really, really bad…
Title: A Wrong Bed Christmas (2 novella in 1)  | Miniseries: The Wrong Bed | Authors: Kimberly VanMeter & Liz Talley | Publisher: Blaze, an imprint of Harlequin | Genre: Contemporary Romance | Source: MLM Media Relations

Smoking hot firemen naked in your bed? Oh, yes, please! Seriously, how could I refuse this one?


Ignited by Kimberly Van Meter
Rating: 1. 5
I’m cringing even thinking about having read this one. I just didn’t work for me and I had to force myself to finish this one. And the only reason I did finish this one was because it was connected with the next novella.
The just of the novella is that Alexis wakes up to a hot, naked guy sleep groping her. The guy, Layton, turns out to be her brother’s best friend and fellow firefighter. She throws items at his head, calls him a pervert, injures her ankle, he agrees to stay with her while her brother accompanies her best friend to her parents, he *tries* to avoid her advances, then gives in and they wind up shagging like bunnies hopped up on ecstasy.
This one…*shudders* just wasn’t my cuppa tea. And honestly, the comment that Alexis made about Layton tasting like latex will roam around in my brain for weeks. Weeks, I say. I can handle a lot of odd/kinky things in my books, but some things are best left unsaid.
Alexis just didn’t work for me. She was very immature and a bit annoying with the way she was constantly coming on to Layton, who was trying—for a while—to do the decent thing and not shag his best friend’s sister. She’s been hurt by a past relationship so she wants to focus on college and not get into a relationship with anyone but she still wants to sleep with Layton.
I liked Layton. He’s had his share of woman and one-night stands but now he wants to focus on finding the right woman, the house with a white picket fence, and a yard full of kids. He’s ready to settle down so, while he finally gives in and sleeps with Alexis, he wants more.
I didn’t really see any chemistry between Layton and Alexis. It was basically all about the sex and not really a lot of room for character growth. I don’t think they really work well together, Alexis doesn’t really seem on the same path as Layton. He could have done so much better.
Where There's Smoke by Liz Talley
Rating: 4
I really loved Where There’s Smoke. It has the forced proximity trope plus it has the best friends brother trope and I loved that the two were combined. Honestly, I would have loved to have seen this as a full-length novel because it was so much fun spending time with Emma and Erik.
Here’s what’s going on. Emma has been attracted to Erik since she was a kid but she thinks he only sees her as his kid sister’s best friend so she hasn’t acted on it. Although all that changes when Erik, who is a little beaten up by a fire he help put out, climbs naked into his bed and finds Emma there. When he agrees to accompany her to her parents’ house, he can’t get her out of his head and when they crash and seek shelter in abandoned cabin, they will once again share a bed.
Oh, this was so yummy. It was sexy, fun, and flirty, and I so wanted to see Emma and Erik together.
I liked that they both had feeling for each other. While Emma had been mad about him since she was a kid, it took Erik a little longer to start seeing Emma as an adult. Both characters were mature and ready to start a lasting, meaningful relationship.
Because this was a novella with a very small timeframe, this was sort of an instant love type of romance, yet it worked because they both had feelings for each other for years. The chemistry was blinding from the start and continued to grow as the novella progressed. And I loved watching each of them realize their attraction was something more, something they needed to take serious.
There was a tad bit of conflict, which could have been avoided if they just would have talked to each other and Emma wouldn’t have withdrawn and shut down.
I really enjoyed this one. It was perfect read for a chilly night. Honestly, I think this one would have made for a really cute movie. My only problem with this one was, while it was well-rounded, I wanted more.
Overall, if you’re going to buy this book, buy it for Where There’s Smoke. It was truly a feel good Christmas romance that will leave you all warm and tingly. You may like Ignited, but, for me, Alexis was just too immature (she reminded me of an overly annoying NA heroine that needed to be slapped) and it just rubbed me the wrong way.

Excerpt from “Where There’s Smoke” by Liz Talley
The crackle of the lit fire drew her attention and instantly made the space cozy and—she licked her lips—intimate.
“Ah,” Erik said, stripping off his gloves and warming his hands in front of the blaze. “Good thing this wood is aged and dry. Instant warmth. Come on over and warm up.”
Emma hesitated for a moment, trying to regain a calm, less amorous demeanor. So they were alone in a cabin in the middle of nowhere with a bottle of wine, chocolate and a single double bed? Big deal. She could handle it. After all, she’d never allowed her attraction for him to show through.
She walked over and crouched beside him, sighing at the warmth. Exploring the cabin had kept her moving, but her fingers and feet were numb.
“Here,” he said, grabbing the nearest chair and dragging it close to the dancing flames. “Sit.”
Seconds later they each sat in matching chairs, thawing out.
“I can’t believe we’re stuck here,” she mused aloud, the warmth making her drowsy. She suppressed a yawn. “This is like a movie I once saw.”
Misery?” he joked.
Emma laughed. “Are you planning on drugging me, incapacitating me and making me write you a romance story?”
He wiggled his eyebrows. “That could be fun. But I could think of better things to do.”


I would like to thank Liz Talley for providing me with her recipe for Seduce Me Beef Stew. I can’t wait to try it!

In “Where There’s Smoke” a novella in the Wrong Bed Christmas book, my two characters Emma and Erik are stuck in an abandoned cabin with only a couple of granola bars, a box of expensive chocolates and a very nice bottle of wine. Not the worst to make a meal on, but if I were planning the perfect meal for being stranded with a sexy firefighter in the middle of Colorado, I’d go with something that would give me more energy for the night ahead ;) Here’s the perfect rustic yet filling dish would appeal to any red-blooded American man (who wasn’t a vegetarian):


Seduce Me Beef Stew*

1 lb of lean good quality stew meat

2 tbsp all-purpose flour

2 tsp oil

2 onions (sliced into thin rings)

2 cups sliced mushrooms

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp tomato paste

2 cups of beef broth

3 cups sliced carrots

2 medium potatoes, sliced

1 cup green beans

1 tbsp cornstarch

1 tbsp cold water


1.     Coat beef with flour, shaking off excess. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat oil. Add beef and cook about 5-7 minutes until slightly browned. Remove beef to a separate plate.

2.     Add onions and mushrooms to the pot; saute for 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and saute for a minute or so. Return beef to the pot and stir in tomato paste. Next add broth and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for an hour.

3.     Add carrots, potatoes and green beans. Cover partially and cook for 15-20 minutes.

4.     In a small bowl, mix water and cornstarch. Stir into stew and increase heat to a boil. Turn off and let cool slightly. Serve with cornbread or crusty French bread.


*Derived from Healthy Meals in Minutes


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