Holiday Wishes consists of three short stories by Harlequin/NEXT authors Kate Austin, Stevi Mittman and Mary Schramski. All three stories take place during the holiday season, although the similarities between the stories end there. Austin’s “If I Make It Through December” is a romance; Mittman’s “Who Needs June In December, Anyway?” is a light mystery, while Schramski’s “The Perfect Christmas” is women’s fiction.
In “If I Make It Through December,” Heather James is a straitlaced accountant who has her nose to the grindstone when it comes to work. One can honestly say that work is Heather’s life. Things drastically change, though, when she inherits an Italian restaurant from a distant relative that she has never met. While Heather intends to sell the restaurant, she gets to know Sam Cappellitti, the chef, who becomes a romantic interest in the story and tries to convince Heather not to sell the restaurant. This story is a basic romance and there are not a lot of surprises, but romance fans will enjoy this story.
“Who Needs June In December, Anyway?” is a fun light mystery that features Schramski’s characters from prior mysteries with a touch of romance. Interior designer Teddi Bayer’s mother, “Grandma June,” turns up missing during Hanukkah, much to the dismay of Teddi’s father and children. Teddi informally enlists the help of sexy Detective Drew Scoones to uncover Grandma June whereabouts. Grandmas June is a tenacious woman, and she really could be anywhere; it isn’t clear whether she has been kidnapped or left voluntarily. This story has a nice blend of humor, a tiny touch of romance, and is an interesting short mystery.
Of the three stories, “The Perfect Christmas” is the story with the most holiday spirit. Gwen Anderson grew up a lonely only child. Her father was dead, her mother an extremely busy emergency room physician; Gwen’s mother was always at work, even on Christmas. Gwen once wished for a traditional Christmas with her mother, but she has long since buried that dream. A grown woman now at forty now, Gwen is working hard herself to make partner in the law firm she works for. When Gwen’s mother, now retired, insists on Gwen “coming home” for Christmas, Gwen is surprised but relents – and the two share a Christmas like no other.
Holiday Wishes is a fun read with a nice variety of stories - one to satisfy romance readers, one for mystery fans, and one of women’s fiction.