Published by Harlequin on October 20th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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The Wrong Bed—But the Right Guy!
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…
This book was two separate but connected stories, Ignited, written by Kimberly Van Meter, and Where There’s Smoke, written by Liz Talley. It was a really quick read; I got through it in about 90 minutes. I thought each of these stories was cute, although I didn’t realize from the back cover copy that both of them were going to involve the “we can’t date because of your sibling trope.” I was very happy to see Layton, our hero from Ignited, tell Alexis that she was an adult and her brother would have to get used to the idea. Not enough people say that in books involving this trope.
Alexis and Emma stayed the night at Alexis’s brother Erik’s place, planning to leave in the morning. However, a series of unfortunate events meant they ended up staying an extra night. Thinking Erik was working, Alexis didn’t bother to tell him they were staying. Erik ends up offering his fellow firefighter and good friend Layton his spare room to crash in after they fight a big fire because it’s late and snowing and it’s closer than Layton’s place. Both of the guys, exhausted and barely functional by the time they shower and get undressed fall into their respective beds, not knowing those beds are already taken. Alexis, in her haste to get away from the potential rapist/murderer who has jumped into her bed, sprains her ankle pretty badly, making her unable to travel with Emma for the rest of the weekend. Layton volunteers to stay with Alexis, while Erik goes with Emma to her parents.
Alexis and Layton were up first. There wasn’t a lot to their actual story; they’re stuck in Erik’s house while Alexis’s ankle heals. How it was healing with all the activity, I don’t know, but by the end of the story, it’s just about back to normal. Erik and Emma had a little more story in their story; they were trying to get to Emma’s parents and slid off the road. They were in a terrible spot and couldn’t get cell reception, so they ended up taking refuge in a nearby abandoned cabin. I liked this one a little more; like I said, there was a little more story to this one.
I thought both of these novellas were fine, but due to their short length, there wasn’t a lot of room for character development. Erik and Emma have a history together, though they haven’t seen each other in a while. I did notice, however, that Erik didn’t really worry too much about what Alexis would think of him dating her best friend, not nearly as much has Alexis worried herself over dating Erik’s best friend. Emma was a little worried about it, but more in a “I hope this works out so it doesn’t ruin my friendship” sort of way, less in a “Oh, no! I can’t do it! Alexis will be so mad at me!” sort of way. I can understand that concern.
The other thing that bothered me about these novellas is related to that. Both couples had some level of anxiety about dating the sibling of the best friend. Or the best friend of the sibling. Or both, I guess. Alexis and Layton were well and truly freaked out about it, Emma and Erik were concerned it could ruin Alexis and Emma’s friendship. But none of those concerns were resolved. Both stories ended without the couples discussing any of this and coming to some sort of understanding. As much as I don’t love that trope, if it’s that big a plot point, it should be resolved.
Overall, I thought this was a quick, harmless read. Christmas didn’t play too big a part in it, other than Alexis trying to hang lights and Emma trying to get to a party.