Jillian Chantal is the nom de plume of a lawyer moonlighting as a writer of romantic fiction. Most often she can be found either at her keyboard banging out words, working on a legal issue or just surfing the web and calling it research. Her other guilty pleasure is her one-sided love affair with the actor Alan Rickman. She owns all his movies and would probably give away her cat for a chance to meet him. She’d keep her children, though. It would be a sacrifice, but she would be brave.
Jillian lives on the Florida Gulf Coast where she bemoans the humidity most of the year but she’s otherwise charming and engaging (at least in her own mind).
She has PRO status in the RWA and is an active member of the Gulf Coast Chapter of the Romance Writer’s of America.
Blurb:Attorney Anna Kincaid doesn’t celebrate Christmas. It’s been a time of loss and sadness for her for too many years.
Matteo Sanchez, a criminal prosecutor, has been searching for the right woman for more years than he cares to recall.
In a local deli, Matteo, seated at the next table overhears a conversation Anna has with her friends that she wants a one night stand for Christmas. The next day, he introduces himself to her at the local bar association Christmas party. After an evening of passion, Anna discovers that Matteo knew about her wish before meeting her. Believing him to be a stalker and a cad, she throws him out of her house. Christmas may prove to be her enemy yet again.
Her phone on the top of the table also kept vibrating with messages from Gina about the stupid bar party that night. Gina had a date and so did Renee and they wanted her to come and be with them. She had no doubt that they would hunt her down if she didn’t agree to go. Damn them. It was so not what she wanted to do. She wanted these depositions to end so she could go home, put on a cozy robe and have cocoa.
It didn’t seem that was going to happen and sure enough, when the day was over and she stepped out of her office to head home, Renee and Gina were standing there.
“Come on. We’re getting ready at Renee’s.” Gina took Anna by the arm.
“I told you I didn’t want to go. What’s so hard to understand about that?”
“We understand. We’re just not letting you do it. You need to get over being Scrooge and get into the party spirit,” Gina said.“I don’t like Christmas.” Anna wanted to stomp her feet.
“Look, you like Halloween, right?” Renee asked.
“Yeah. I do. So what?”
Gina pulled Anna down the street. “So, let’s pretend it’s a Halloween party and someone has decorated their haunted house as a Christmas house. Can you do that?”
Anna laughed then. “You’re crazy.” She looked over her shoulder. “Both of you.”
“At least you’re laughing now. Come one. We got you a great dress to wear.” Renee jogged to catch up as they headed to the parking deck.
After changing at Renee’s house, Anna and her friends drove to the hotel where the bar association had its party every year. She shivered in the cold when they turned the car over to the valet.
Renee and Gina hurried Anna inside where they met their dates right inside the double doors. Anna glanced around at the number of Christmas trees scattered throughout the lobby. Way too much red and green for her. She giggled a bit at the dress her friends had made her put on. It was a black silk with an orange shawl-back collar. It was prim from the front with a high neckline but from the back, the orange shawl showed her muscled lateral muscles. It was pretty daring for her.
When she slipped the dress on, her friends reminded her of her wish for a one-night stand and their bet. Anna knew there would be no one at the bar party she’d care to run off with for the night but she wore the dress to humor them and to pretend it was a Halloween outfit. They really had tried hard to get her in the spirit of things— the spirit of a holiday that didn’t bother her, that is.
(Book provided by author for review:-)
Jillian Chantal’s story, All I Want For Christmas, may be short, but it’s packed with pace, pathos, passion, plus a quirky sense of humour. And, of course, some seriously hot characters.
In the first sentence Ms. Chantal reveals her heroine, Anna’s take on Christmas. She hates it, and expects to go on hating it for ever more. But strange things happen in the run-up to the holiday. And Anna, completely out of character, makes a comment in response to a half-hearted dare that shocks her and has her two best friends taking her up on it.
And in the next chapter we meet the author’s hero, Matteo Sanchez. Who knew that lawyers could look so good? And Ms. Chantal’s hero is quick witted, he needs to be as a prosecutor, under pressure from his Mama to bring a girl home for Christmas. Sitting at the table next to Anna and her friends he hears her throw-away comment, hopes she acts on it, and when she doesn’t, decides not to miss the opportunity.
Ms. Chantal create vibrant settings, believable backchat and ribbing between the friends, and had this reader enjoying the escalation of passion between Anna and Matteo. It is fast, furious, and creates a fabulous twist near the end of the story that had this reader laughing in amusement and appreciation.
This reader has had the pleasure of following Ms. Chantal’s writing and enjoys the smooth fluency of it, the way she creates a scene and just when you wonder what she’s up to, she takes you down a totally unexpected and fun path.
Her characters are totally believable, and in a short story it is not easy to present fully formed and deep characters, but Ms. Chantal’s characters are a delight. Her secondary players annoy and tease in equal measure and fulfil their role in moving the story forward with expertise.
Yes, unquestionable, this is a Christmas story, but don’t let that put you off reading it at any time of the year.
At 49 pages this sensual romance is a one-sitting read that will keep you turning the pages until you discover just how Anna and Matteo clear a path through all their problems, and the hoops Ms. Chantal put them through.
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