Red Hots: A Valentine Anthology
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Overall Rating: 3.5 (XXX)
Quick & Dirty Summary: Whether you love or hate Valentine’s Day you can spend some time reading 18 steamy stories by 18 different authors spanning a variety of genres.
Since there are 18 stories, I will write my thoughts after each summary in bold. The stories are not linked in any way other than the theme of Valentine’s Day. Of course, the thing to remember about anthologies and short stories is there is only so much an author can do with them. This makes the plot lines rather simple and the characters one-dimensional. Lastly, all of these stories have sex in them, so if that’s not your thing, then you should probably skip this one.
“Unexpected” — Annika Steele
As one relationship ends, Maya finds a gorgeous hunk willing to give her a place to stay when she ends up wrecked on a old country road. Is Valentine’s Day about endings or is this a new beginning? This is one of my favorite short stories of the bunch. It is sweet, sexy, and realistic in its pursuit of happily-ever-after. The “gorgeous hunk” is a single dad and is the perfect guy if you like them sweet.
“The Sea Chest” — Margot Wren
When a mysterious sea chest washes up to the foot of Caroline’s lighthouse, she writes it off as a fluke. But chests carry secrets, and this chest could give a happily-ever-after to a lonely keeper. This is one of the oddest stories and while I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, it definitely threw me for a loop. I’m not sure it really ended in a “happily-ever-after” as the summary describes, but it is a unique take on romance.
“Power Outage” — Caitlyn Lynch
An unexpected power outage on Valentine’s Day throws Raquel’s plans for a romantic evening with her husband into disarray. The arrival of a sexy electrician sparks an erotic game she won’t quickly forget. This story has an element of surprise and is really, really sexy. This is one of my favorites, as it has a really sweet ending.
“Real” — Ariel Bishop
Jess is expecting the traditional Valentine’s Day date with her boyfriend; candlelit dinner out on the town. She doesn’t get what she expected, but she does get exactly what she needed. I am lukewarm on this story.
“The Best Worst Valentine’s Day Ever” — Christina Rose Andrews
Getting dumped on Valentine’s Day sucks. Just ask Lexi. Enter Nate, her hunky neighbor, who has just what Lexi needs to make the holiday suck less. I have reservations about this story, not because of the writing, but because Lexi’s roommate is weird. Not answering texts when your roommate is sitting in front of your door locked out is mean.
“Moonlight and Roses” — Vanessa Sweet
Melody spends Valentine’s Day alone— by choice. But when a mysterious garden and its tempting guardian offer her more, what will she choose? Melody is a smart, sharp, career driven woman. She’s a different heroine than most of the other women in the novel. I enjoyed the creativity in this short story.
“Just Desserts” — Gwen Marshall
After getting in trouble with their girlfriend on Valentine’s Day, Connor and Sully are prepared to make sure she gets her just desserts. This is mostly just a story about having sex.
“Gift With Purchase” — Tally Bane
Gail had worn her good panties on a whim. It’s not like a certain detective would know they were for him. But one ‘Gift with Purchase’ might change that and make Gail glad that she’d chosen the lace. This is a cute story where the hero is a guy from Hawaii who relocated a few years ago to the mainland. Of course since I’m from Hawaii too I love that this little tidbit of information is included! It’s a friends turned to lovers theme, with a hint of magic.
“Roses and Tails” — Barbara Be
Even on a Space Station, the Humans bring their weird customs on board. Valentine’s Day is an alien concept for Jillnell, though she plays along as best as she can. But sex in Zero G poses unique challenges for aliens and humans. This is the only story I couldn’t finish and it’s because the alien thing is too much for me. It is well written so if that aspect doesn’t bother you then you’ll probably enjoy it.
“Sweet On You” — Ava Bari
After her heartbreak, all Molly wanted was to spend Valentine’s Day alone in a fancy hotel. A double-booking has her rooming with an attractive businessman, but maybe Jack is just what Molly needs. This is a fun read. Not sure the happily-ever-after is going to be the forever kind, since the story doesn’t hint at it, but the dialogue is pretty great.
“Under Me, Over Me, Inside Me” — Briar McKenna
With tension building and pressing against barriers of self-control and doubt, what happens when what we want wins against what we think we shouldn’t have? This has a hint of paranormal, but it’s so slight that it’s not a main part of the plot line. Instead, it’s mostly about an established couple welcoming a third member to their relationship.
“His Promise” — R.A. Stone
Melanie has been in love with Chris since college, but they’re not exactly a couple. When she discovers she’s pregnant with his child what is she to do on the most romantic night of the year? This one seems odd to me because Melanie believes they have one kind of relationship while Chris believes they have another. Normally this isn’t unusual, except they’ve been together for years and years.
“A Match Made In Olympus” — Livvy Ward
Join Kaitlin and Eros this Valentine’s Day as they ride out a storm and try to mend broken hearts while dealing with a meddling mother. Turns out not even Cupid can escape Aphrodite’s matchmaking! I enjoyed the mythological elements to this story. It’s cute.
“Burning Love” — Annalee Locke
Maggie just wanted to spend a quiet Valentine’s Day at home, commiserating over being single with her two favorite firemen. A work related emergency changes those plans, and gives the three of them a night they’ll never forget. Another ménage story where friends become lovers.
“A Perfect Storm” — Sera Taíno
An argument between Adam and his fiancée, Julia, leads to some soul searching as he realizes that life can change in the blink of an eye. He’s determined to show her just how important she is to him. I love this story because Adam isn’t afraid to admit when he’s wrong. That’s really all a girl can ask for on Valentine’s Day.
“Peaches” — Abbigail Clark
In the war-torn American south, Eulie Buchanan meets Jay Curtis, a man who offers her a choice sure to be the talk of the county. This is a really sweet story and is another one of my favorites. I like the added elements of history and race in this short story.
“First Date Gone Right” — Líadáin Douglas
When Sarah gets dumped right before her Valentine’s Date, two guys come to her rescue and give her a first date she won’t quickly forget! Hot Hot HOT!
“Over A Barrel” — V.T. Charbonneau
When Madison agreed to cater her cousin’s wedding she didn’t expect the groom’s gorgeous brother to be such an asshole. Locked in the wine cellar together, will she throttle him… or jump him? If you like the love-hate relationship side of romance, then this is the story for you. Personally I’m not a big fan, but it’s well written and interesting.
Is it worth buying? (Kindle $0.99)
Yes! It’s less than a dollar and there are 18 different stories to chose from. Even if you don’t care for one or two of them, you are bound to like enough to make the dollar worth spending. And if you have Kindle Unlimited, it’s free!