5 Stars / Harlequin / Mills & Boon / Review

Have a Happy, Sexy Christmas! by Leslie Kelly

Welcome to a Leslie Kelly holiday season!

Included in this huge boxed set are FIVE novels/novellas–275,000 words of super- steamy, funny and tender Christmas romance!

Don’t Open Till Christmas
Can a sexy cop teach a holiday-hating social worker the true meaning of Christmas?
After Chicago detective Mark Santori shares a hot kiss with a sexy stranger in a dressing room, he can’t get the brunette out of his mind. So when he gets a call about some toys stolen from a shelter, and comes face-to-face with his mystery woman, his interest in the case definitely grows. Holiday-hating Noelle Bradenton is furious that a ring of costumed Santas hit the women’s shelter where she works. But when a super-hot detective shows up to investigate, she can’t help wondering if it’s a Christmas blessing in disguise.

It Happened One Christmas
Six years ago, they shared one amazing holiday…now they have a chance to do it again!
Dressed in a silly elf costume as she photographs kids at a big corporate Christmas party, Cassie Fleming is shocked to come face to face with Ross Marshall—the man she’d fallen head-over-heels for during one snowy Christmas season. But they are no longer broke students out to experience a magical holiday in the Big Apple. Now they’re living their adult lives in Chicago. There’s no reason to get emotional about this reunion…not even if the memories of the past are overwhelming them both.

Make Me Over
The prize on this reality show is one hot, sexy man!
Professor Drew Bennett never dreamed he’d become a part of a reality TV show. But the success of his newest book hinges on his participation. He just hadn’t pictured falling hard for one of the contestants…a woman who is his complete opposite. Mechanic Tori Lyons went on the dumb reality show to try to win money to save her no-good brother. She is in it for the cash, and nothing else. But the chance to win even more, by seducing the sexy professor, is a lure she can’t resist. But when the truth comes out, and he realizes he’s merely a prize, will a Christmas miracle allow them to find their own happily-ever-after?

Do You Want What I Want?
What do you do when the guy who hated your guts when you were kids is now the one you desperately want? Well…you might take one steamy night without letting him know who you really are!
Growing up together, Lulu Vandenberg and Charles Browning took friendly-enemies to a whole new level. Linked by family connections through holidays, baseball games, and general kid craziness, they learned that they are just oil and water…best interacting only from a distance. But now they’re all grown up. And when Lulu sees what a sexy adult Charles has become, she realizes the boy she once teased so relentlessly has grown into a man she hungers for. But will he ever see her as more than just the girl next door?

I’ll Be Home for Christmas
When you’re trapped in a blizzard with the one who got away, is there anything you won’t do to make things work this time?
Seven years ago, Rafe Santori fell in love with the woman of his dreams…but the military was calling and he knew he had no right to ask her to wait for him. And when fate had brought them together again, she was engaged to someone else. He has spent the last three years calling himself a fool for letting the woman he loved get away. But when they find themselves stranded in a snowstorm and decide to drive halfway across the country together to make it home for Christmas, he finds out Ellie never got married. She’s free…and Rafe is willing to do whatever it takes to make forever a reality for them.

This fun holiday boxed set of previously-published books is sure to tickle your funny bone and steam up your holiday season.

Title:Have a Happy, Sexy Christmas!
Author:Leslie Kelly
Category / Genre(s):Harlequin / Mills & Boon (Blaze & Desire)
Trope(s):Christmas Romance
Second Chance Romance
Enemies to Lovers
Military Romance
Point of View:Third Person, Past Tense, Dual Viewpoint (H & h)
Location:Various, US
Release Date:10th December, 2022
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A selection of Christmas treats – perfect for Blaze fans

5 stars

Leslie Kelly will always have a special place in my heart as my first ever author crush, the first author I bought the entire backlist of and as the queen of my beloved Harlequin / Mills & Boon Blaze line.

This set consists of 5 previously published Leslie Kelly books or novellas – all with a Christmas theme. These are:

  • Don’t Open Till Christmas
  • It Happened One Christmas
  • Make Me Over
  • Do You Want What I Want?
  • I’ll Be Home for Christmas

No matter that I’ve read many of these back in the day, it’s always nice to take a walk down memory lane, especially if that walk includes Leslie Kelly, Blaze books and Christmas romance.

Don’t Open Till Christmas

First published in 2005 – Blaze
Leslie Kelly has once again written a sensual, fun and highly entertaining hot romance that doesn’t disappoint. Mark Santori is a delicious dark hero who is by turns smart, funny and brooding but always sexy. Noelle is also smart and fun but cautious and more importantly she’s real and someone you actually like and understand.

The story is spicy, interesting and oh so satisfying with plenty of chemistry and sexual tension throughout the book. It is a Christmas story and I did feel that nice festive glow but without all the cheesy stuff that you normally associate with a Christmas romance.

It Happened One Christmas

First published in 2011 – Blaze
The writing was good (as always), the characters were both likeable and relatable and the plot wasn’t terrible. It’s just that the story seemed to lack any sparkle. The story is told both in the present day and in flashbacks to six years ago when Cassie and Ross first got together. I found this made the story a little slow going and I found myself continually wanting to get back to the modern day chapters so I could see how the pair were getting along now and not back then.

Cassie was also fairly peeved at Ross due to their breakup, which led to a lot of the conflict for whether or not they would be able to make things work. However, when it got to the reason that the pair split up in the first place I couldn’t believe it. Sure, it was a legitimate reason for breaking up but certainly not for being mad at someone – I just didn’t get it. Still a good book for a quick read on a cold night.

Make Me Over

First published in 2003 – Desire
This story takes its inspiration from Pygmalion / My Fair Lady but in this case our professor, Drew, has more than one student that he’s attempting to make over. The premise is fun, even if I generally take a swerve at reality show romances, and the characters – especially the side characters – are as barmy as you would expect as a result.

Everything was just okay for me with this story. I was a bit confused by Tori, though. She was at times not very bright but at others, using fancy language and admonishing Drew for assuming she was stupid. I felt that I should be offended by the way she was presented. I wasn’t – but I can see that some people – especially those who speak the way Tori did – would give serious side-eye to her character. Still a fun and light-hearted story with a happily ever after.

Do You Want What I Want?

First published in 2014 as Oh Naughty Night – Blaze
Oh my stars I adored this story. This brought me right back to the good old days of Blaze romances and reminded me just why I fell in love with Leslie Kelly and the line in general. Charles and Lulu are childhood nemeses but nothing so terrible that you can’t see how they could easily have been teasing each other because they liked the other.

The sexiness of this story is off the charts with so much sexual tension and, when they finally get together, all their naughty shenanigans. It wasn’t until the very end that I noticed that Charles Browning’s name was similar to an American favourite cartoon’s. There were apparently many nods to that story but I didn’t pick up on any. Still, a sexy and fun story and one that makes me hanker even more for the return of Blaze.

I’ll Be Home for Christmas

First published in A Soldier’s Christmas in 2011 – Blaze
Another classic Leslie Kelly story – this time a short novella from one of the Blaze Christmas anthologies of old. A second-chance, military romance with a forced proximity, road trip element thrown in for good measure. And Christmas of course.

Although I’d read this story before, it’s a classic story and one that I very much enjoyed revisiting. The writing is superb and I loved the yearning, the tension and the love that tops everything off with a neat ol’ bow at the end.

Not all the stories were the full 5 stars from me – but I’m still giving this book 5 stars for the following reasons: It’s Leslie Kelly; It’s giving me serious Blaze vibes and anything that brings this awesome line back into people’s minds is a winner in my mind; And Christmas. This book is packed with content and it’s definitely one I’d recommend. You’re sure to find a favourite amongst the pages.

5 stars

* I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

New York Times Bestselling author, Leslie Kelly writes sexy romances and dark romantic thrillers. A four-time RWA RITA Award nominee, eleven-time Romantic Times Award nominee and 2006 RT Award winner, Leslie has become known for her delightful characters, sparkling dialogue, and outrageous humor in her romances, and for the dark grittiness of her thrillers. Since the publication of her first book in 1999, Leslie has gone on to pen more than forty sassy, sexy romances for Harlequin Temptation, Blaze, and HQN.

In 2009, Leslie began tapping into her love for dark suspense by penning several books under the pseudonym Leslie Parrish. The Black CATs and Extrasensory Agents series quickly put Leslie on the must-read list of romantic-suspense fans.

Leslie lives in New Mexico with her husband Bruce–her real-life romance hero–and two spoiled-rotten dogs.

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