I’m a really big fan of anthologies, because I love finding new–or at least new to me–authors. In this case, two of the three authors were new to me, but all three were very well-known. Roxanne St. Claire, Jill Shalvis, and Maureen Child all contributed to this funny contemporary that centered around Irish heros.
The first book, written by St. Claire, introduced us to a former baseball player determined to take over the family bar. While I’m not a huge fan of the Irish stereotype of either being some sort of public servant (i.e., a police officer or fire fighter) or a pub owner, this book managed to bring a funny context to this storyline. Deuce Monroe returns to his hometown to find that the family bar is now an internet cafe. To his horror, his best friend’s little sister, Kendra Locke, is now the manager. His dad, although he’s moved on after losing his wife and is finally successful with this business model change, is very conflicted about having Deuce come home and take over the business. He decides to let Deuce take over the night business (by turning the place back into a bar), and during the day keeping the place as it was. Trouble is that Kendra and Deuce have a past that might impact their ability to work together, especially sharing a business like Monroe’s.
The second book, written by Shalvis, was a funny little number. Dr. Nicole Mann is perpetually single due to her hectic work schedule. She ends up meeting the building’s renovation architect, Ty O’Grady, whose lovely Irish brogue she cannot turn away from.
The third book, written by Maureen Child, was a short story about four brothers who have a family bet going. Connor Reilly, who isn’t worried about his ability to win the bet, ends up telling his best friend, Emma Jacobsen, all about it. Emma, not one to back down from a challenge herself, decides to seduce Connor to get a little revenge for thinking she’s just one of the guys–especially when that’s not what she wants from him. You know where this story is going without me giving more details. Revenge stories are some of my favorites because you knew both are going to get their comeuppance eventually.
Despite some of the stereotypes I mentioned in the first book, this anthology was a great mix of fun, revenge, craziness, and laughter. One of the things I like best about reading romance is watching the characters come full circle by the end of the story. Although these were shorter stories than normal, they managed to pack in all the good stuff in a short amount of time. Great stuff and I will definitely be checking out these new-to-me authors, as well.