Cleopatra's Dagger
by MacKenzie Reed and Rae Monet, paranormal (2007, reissue)
Liquid Silver Books, $5.25, ISBN 978-1-59578-409-4

Cleopatra's Dagger is a collection of two stories that were previously released in the now out-of-print anthology Jingle My Bell.

MacKenzie Reed kicks things off with Christmas Story. Treasure hunter Caryn Sinclair has to go hunt for the dagger known as Cleopatra's Dagger just three weeks before Christmas. Needless to say, she is not too keen to do so, even more so when Rex St James, an ex-boyfriend, is going to be on the same team as her. These two are going to have a lot on their hands, what with looking for the purportedly magical dagger, evading bad guys that always show up in this kind of stories, and falling in love all over again.

This one is a fast-paced and most enjoyable story. Rex is a little too prone to "Oh no! Look at me. I'm awashed with angst!" drama but Caryn is a fun heroine who doesn't hesitate to slap him - literally, sometimes - out of his nonsense.

Rae Monet's Cleopatra's Legacy is a futuristic story that also features Cleopatra's Dagger which is once again the object of a treasure hunting expedition. Earth is now the shopping haven for folks all over the solar system, galaxy, whatever so Jordan Fare thinks that Christmas season is the perfect time for her to sneak to Earth and, among the bustle all around the place, nab the Dagger from the museum that displays it. Hot on the tail of our space pirate is Rick Masters, an undercover officer of the Intergalactic Police who is after her for personal reasons. You see, they had a hot one night stand a while back that blew his mind, only for him to learn the morning after that she had stolen his undercover chip while he snored away. It's payback time, and this time Jordan's going to be at the receiving end of trouble, heh, heh, heh.

Like the previous story, this one is also most enjoyable from start to finish. Jordan and Rick enjoy each other as much as they enjoy the chase and it shows here. Fast-paced and with just the right balance of action and sexy moments, this one is really too much fun.

The two stories in Cleopatra's Dagger are short but they nonetheless manage to strike a good balance between action and steamier moments. The characters aren't deep - hey, we are talking about short stories here - but their stories are an absolute blast. This is a pretty good collection if you are looking for some fun action-paced romance stories, I believe.

Rating: 87

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