by Yolanda Sfetsos, paranormal (2007)
Cobblestone Press, $4.99, ISBN 978-1-60088-202-9
Christmas is the time for hero Noel Harris to sigh heavily over the passing of his wife five years ago. Before you ask, no, I don't know if the hero's middle names are Bethlehem Adeste Fideles. He sighs about the wife dying of cancer, he sighs about her not being here to celebrate Christmas, and he stares at the nipples of the heroine when she pops out of what seems like nowhere in front of his eyes once he's set up the Christmas tree. Well, about the last part, I suppose that makes him human.
Natala of the Sulus Clan claims that she's an otherworldly person (actually, she's an imp) who's been trapped for a long time by a demon called Carabia and somehow she is released through some accidental manipulation of the string of lights Noel intended for the Christmas tree. She also plans to get back at Carabia and Noel is going to help her whether he knows it or not, heh.
Now, Christmas Lights is one of those corny "love is the key that destroys evil" stories that continuously pop up like fungi when it comes to paranormal romance, where all you need to save the world and all that is to find a boyfriend. However, the execution is pretty interesting in how Ms Sfetsos makes use of Santa Claus in the canon of her story.
However, with this being a short story, the interesting ideas never have the chance to be developed into anything more than half-baked ideas here. Also, I like the fact that the author doesn't belittle Noel's memory of his late wife or turn the poor dead woman into some troll so that Natala is Noel's one and only soulmate.
Still, Christmas Lights never seem to move past being a vaguely unsatisfying story full of interesting but underdeveloped ideas. Perhaps a full-length work by this author is in order.
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