Gaming Hell Christmas: Volume Two
GAMING HELL CHRISTMAS – VOLUME 2: Mysteries abound at London’s most fashionable Hell.
The Thief Who Stole Christmas – Amanda McCabe
A man who has never broken the rules, and a woman who just might break his heart! But Christmas is always a time for second chances…
As one of Miss Greensley’s Girls, a member of the exclusive club la Sous Rose, and famous author Lady L, Victoria Lanford moves easily through Society ballrooms. Few people know how her unhappy childhood and anxiety led her to pickpocketing (yet, she did return the jewels)! When she comes face-to-face with old flame Rhys Neville, Earl of Hammond, she knows the kind-hearted, straight-laced, devilishly handsome lord is not for her—especially once the past comes back to haunt them. Why, then, can’t she stop thinking about their kisses?
The Kerse Who Saved Christmas – Kathy L Wheeler
Kerse: He, of the no nonsense approach, is stymied by She, a woman considered long past prime marriageability who needs a keeper more than he requires a wife. Yet the dreamy-eyed, impractical, and much too optimistic Philomena still manages to steal his heart despite her unrealistic beliefs and trust in fortune tellers.
Amanda wrote her first romance at the age of sixteen–a vast historical epic starring all her friends as the characters, written secretly during algebra class (and her parents wondered why math was not her strongest subject…)
She’s never since used algebra, but her books have been nominated for many awards, including the RITA Award, the Romantic Times BOOKReviews Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Booksellers Best, the National Readers Choice Award, and the Holt Medallion. She lives in Santa Fe with a Poodle, a cat, a wonderful husband, and a very and far too many books and royal memorabilia collections.
When not writing or reading, she loves taking dance classes, collecting cheesy travel souvenirs, and watching the Food Network–even though she doesn’t cook.
Amanda also writes as Laurel McKee for Grand Central Publishing, the Elizabethan Mystery Series as Amanda Carmack, and the Manor Cat Mystery Series as Eliza Casey.
“Miss McCabe’s talent for lively characters and witty dialogue is always a winning combination.” ~ Romantic Times Reviews
Visit her website to learn more
Kathy L Wheeler loves the NFL, the NBA, musical theater (don’t ask how her how many times she’s seen Phantom of the Opera (12); or Wicked (7), travel, (Europe, Grand Cayman, Mexico, All over the US), reading (practically a book a night), writing (25 published books and counting) and karaoke (well… what can I say). She assists other authors in critiquing, formatting, and creating covers for their publishing dreams.
She writes contemporary and historical stories where the heroines save themselves and the heroes who honor their courage with suspense and humor.
She migrated from Texas, to Oklahoma to the Pacific Northwest with her musically talented, lawyer husband, her adorable dog Angel (who lives up to her name…mostly).
Connect with Kathy:
Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: Gaming Hell Christmas, #2
Release Date: December 1, 2022
This anthology is the second volume of the “Gaming Hell Christmas” collection, which follows the “Greensley Girls”, a group of friends that all met while attending Miss Greensley’s School of Comportment for Young Ladies of Quality. This volume picks up where the last one left off and sees two more “Greensley Girls” find their HEA.
The Thief that Stole Christmas by Amanda McCabe, 4 stars – Miss Victoria “Tori” Lanford was orphaned as a young girl and was sent to live with her uncle’s family. Her two cousins, Delphine and Melanie made her life miserable and lonely, but thankfully she had one true friend, Rhys Neville, the boy who lived in the estate bordering her uncle’s. Rhys comforted her after her cousins tormented her and was understanding when Tori confessed to taking items from them so they would blame each other before returning them. Soon after, Tori is sent away to school, she makes several friends but she never forgets Rhys. Now years later, Tori is living in London and is the secret author of wildly famous Gothic romances by “Lady L.” She has settled into her life as a spinster and is sure she will never marry, but while attending a musicale, she sees him – Rhys, and learns that he is close to proposing to her vile cousin Delphine. She tries not to care, but when they are reunited, it is like they were never parted. Secrets, a steamy tryst, a twice stolen ruby and a little help from her friends will see this novella end with a satisfying HEA.
The Kerse Who Saved Christmas by Kathy L. Wheeler, 3.5/4 stars – Bookish Lady Philomena “Phil” Staunton and her more adventurous identical twin sister, Lady Thomasina “Thom” are making plans to attend a secret school reunion tea party to be held at the infamous gaming hell, La Sous Rose. As much as Phil is excited to see her friends, she dreads having to shop for a new gown, she would much rather meet with her “seer” and then visit Hatchard’s – so she agrees to let Thom pick out her gown and makes her way to the book shop. Davin Barlowe, Viscount Kerse is leaving the tobacco shop when he spies Phil, he can’t understand why he is so fascinated with her, but as he starts towards her, he sees her reticule being snatched by a thief and intercepts the boy. He returns the purse and they chat, he is surprised by her remarks and it is then that he realizes that she needs a keeper and that he wants the job. But Kerse has a secret that could lead to ruin and Phil repeatedly declares that she has no wish to marry, making any chance for HEA almost impossible! But when he saves her life and ruins her in the same act, it appears that marriage is the only remedy, however, getting his would-be bride to agree will be the real challenge.
I liked both of these well-written novellas, which are supposedly written on a parallel timeline, but sadly the events in the two novellas don’t coincide with each other – I don’t know if this is a pre-publication error, that will be corrected or just a general oversight – but either way, it made the second novella seem off-kilter and out of sync. I also was surprised by how naïve Phil was in the second novella, she is described as “bookish” but she is anything but and in reality, she comes across as incredibly ignorant and gullible – nothing like she was portrayed in the first novella, which unfortunately lowered my opinion of the second novella. Overall, it was a quick, fun read that didn’t really feel overly “Christmasy” and that set up the next Greenley Girls destined for HEA quite nicely.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.*