Holiday Secrets by Jill Sorenson
After witnessing her husband’s murder eighteen months ago, Leah is in hiding and has no plans to celebrate Christmas. Though she tries to resist, her handsome new neighbor awakens long-buried feelings of attraction…and brings a killer to her door.
Kidnapped at Christmas by Jennifer Morey
Chloe is a struggling artist and thoroughly bored with her life—until a rugged FBI agent pulls her into a fast-paced adventure…and a sizzling love affair! The only damper on their mistletoe madness is a vengeful mobster who won’t stop until they are both silenced…forever.
*Blurb from Goodreads*
This has been the year of romantic suspense, and Jill Sorenson has become one of my go-to suspense authors this past year. When she offered me a copy of her Christmas novella, I couldn’t imagine turning it down. Suspense AND Christmas? It’s a double wammy!
In Holiday Secrets Leah is hiding away in witness protection from the man who killed her husband. She and her girls are living a quiet life, until the day their neighbor came over in a Santa suit bearing presents for the girls. Leah doesn’t know what to think about Brian and how great he is. When she thinks she spots the man she is running from, her Christmas season turns from a wonderful few days to the most terrifying.
I felt for poor Leah, she lived her life in constant fear, and at the beginning of the book seemed very deflated. She came across to me as timid and fearful of just about everything. But as Brian started cracking her shell, she became more and more open to trying the things that scared her most. I liked that she learned how to swim, that she was willing to take a chance at love again, and that she did everything in her power to save the day herself.
I really liked Brian though. He wasn’t what I would call an alpha, and instead of being the typical bad-ass hero in most suspense books, he was just the guy next door. I liked that he really seemed to care about Leah’s girls, and that they were his whole reason for going to Leah in the first place. I liked that he wasn’t the typical suspense hero, and he was one of the main reasons I enjoyed this story so much.
All in all it was a good short story. Brian and Leah did seem to come to their “I love you’s” a little quicker than normal, and while I didn’t fully believe it, they were a good couple together. I give Holiday Secrets a B-
In Kidnapped at Christmas, Chloe is down on her luck, her life is in shambles and she gets fired right before Christmas. Just when she thinks there is nothing left for her, she runs into Mason – an undercover FBI agent. Mason has Chloe pretend to be his girlfriend, and when Mason’s last operation goes bad, he brings Chloe home to his family for Christmas for her safety.
I didn’t like this story as much for some reason. Chloe came across as very insecure and down trodden and depressed. And throughout the story I never really felt as if she grew at all as a character. She stayed insecure with Mason’s family and never seemed to take life by the horns. I wanted more from her than we got.
I thought that Mason was just an okay hero, somewhat stereotypical for most romantic suspense novels. Sexy FBI agent, superstar undercover agent, tight knit family that had some kind of police or military training… There wasn’t anything that really had Mason standing out to me, and I lost interest pretty quickly in the story.
Overall I thought the second story was the weakest. The suspense was not as good as the Sorenson story, and the characters didn’t engage me. I give Kidnapped at Christmas a C-