House sitting her childhood home seemed like a good idea until the microwave blew up and the lights went out.
Okay, so the microwave didn’t exactly blow up—it was more of a pop—and it wasn’t all of the lights, but Chloe Burke wouldn’t be trusting her laptop to her parents’ kitchen outlets anytime soon. It was still light outside, but on an early December day in Maine darkness fell fast and early, so she grabbed a flashlight before venturing down into the basement.
Where she found some ancient, round, screw-in things instead of a neat row of circuit breakers. Since her skill set ran to designing websites rather than poking her fingers into faulty electrical systems, it was time to call a professional.
The phonebook was in the same kitchen drawer phonebooks had been kept in for as long as Chloe could remember, and a handwritten sheet of frequently used numbers was still tucked inside the cover. The paper wasn’t yellow and didn’t fall apart in her hand, so hopefully the info was from the current decade at least. And because her parents were more than comfortable in the ’80s, they still had an old-fashioned, corded phone that didn’t need juice to work. That was good since her cellphone’s battery was almost dead.
The name of the company she remembered her parents using had been crossed out and a new name—Quinn Electric—and a number were squeezed in next to electrician. The name was familiar, but she couldn’t quite place it. A friend of her dad, maybe.
Despite the fact it was probably past regular business hours, the phone was answered on the second ring. “Quinn Electric.”
An incredibly sexy voice, so probably not one of her dad’s VFW buddies. “Hi. I know it’s late, but I think I have an electrical problem. I turned the microwave on and the lights went out.”
“That’s definitely an electrical problem.”
Under the initial sexy impact, his voice was warm and had a touch of humor that had her twirling the cord around her finger like a teenage girl. “The furnace is still running, so I guess it’s not an emergency, but—”
“Where’s your house?”
“It’s actually my parents’ house.” She gave him the address and crossed her fingers. Maybe it wasn’t really an emergency, but she wasn’t a big fan of the dark, either.
He chuckled, a delicious sound that seemed to vibrate through the phone line and into her body. “This must be Chloe. Did John and Anna at least get on their ship before you broke their house?”
The curse of the small town. “Yes, they’re safely at sea. And I checked the electrical box, by the way. Or I tried to, but I didn’t find circuit breakers, which I at least know what to do with.”
“I’ve been trying to talk your old man into ditching those old fuses and upgrading his service for a while, but he’s, uh…”
“I was going to say frugal.”
“I’m not, so can we set up a time for you to fix the fuse or whatever it is you have to do to get my lights back on?”
“I just finished up at the Fosters, so I’ll be there in ten minutes.”
“Oh. Can’t beat that kind of service.”
“NAUGHTY AND NICE is like a box of holiday chocolates—a medley somewhat haphazardly split into “nice” and “naughty” stories. “Nice” ones are more milk chocolate: basic, satisfying love stories. “Naughty” ones are infused with sweet liqueur and plenty of scorching bedroom scenes. Of all the novellas, the best story is HOLIDAY SPARKS—it has a pleasant focus on two people getting to know one another and falling in love. This believable holiday tale will have you praying for a power outage. Other stories shine, too, but not as brightly. “Nice” story ALL SHE WANTS FOR CHRISTMAS suffers from covering too much territory. Conversely, “Naughty” novella UNWRAPPED focuses so much on newlywed Leah’s mental hang-ups that, aside from the many erotic scenes, not much happens by way of plot. The naughtiest of them all is erotic holiday tale BELIEVE. The dominant/submissive pairing of couple Jude and Rori is fever hot but emotionally tasteful. It can be a challenge for erotica tinged with taboos to be classy, but this story nails it.” —RT Book Reviews