Review of Wish List by J.J. Cassidy

Standard

Rating: 4.5 stars

Wish List coverBerg Pedersen is newly out of the army and standing on the steps belonging to a man he has been seeing secretly for sometime.  Berg is shocked and disheartened when the man’s wife opens the door, he had no idea that the guy was married and had a child.  Beaten down, Berg has no where to go and its Christmas Eve.  Then a man asks him if he is ok and if he would like to come in out of the cold and get warm.

Officer DJ Delaney is off duty for the next two days.  He has a kitchen full of food and a tree waiting to be decorated.  DJ was supposed to be decorating the house with his boyfriend, but the boyfriend dumped him last week saying he just couldn’t date a cop anymore.  So now DJ is looking to spend the holidays alone.  Until he spies the cold, wet, soldier standing in the snow next to his neighbor’s house. DJ knows his neighbor is a closeted jerk so he can guess the rest and takes the man in to change his clothes and get warmed up.

As Berg gets warm and changes into dry clothes, DJ sees before him the very thing he has always wanted in a man, and the perfect Christmas gift for himself.  His only problem will be getting Berg to believe in a Christmas miracle that landed him in the very place he was always meant to be.

I don’t know what it is about this story and the characters, but I just loved it and them.  It has quite a few elements that  always make me crazy, like instant love and a plot I have read before but somehow with these men it doesn’t matter.  Berg Pedersen and DJ Delaney absolutely fell into my heart from their first appearance.  Former soldier Berg, standing there devastated in the snow, clothes and duffle bag getting soaked by the rain. It was such a compelling image, a man absolutely vulnerable and alone on Christmas Eve.  And then a stranger picks him up and makes him feel welcome and at home.  *sniff*  It will get to me every time.

But it is more than that.  I loved J.J. Cassidy’s characters.  DJ who knows what he wants and sees it in Berg even as he recognizes how illogical and unrealistic that might be.  Berg is especially vulnerable, something unexpected in a man who looks like him and has just left 15  years in the Army behind.  Berg is also a survivor of the foster system as a child and you combine foster child with gay, and I can see the neglect and pain that Cassidy has imbued Berg with spilling out the longer he stays with DJ.  In a short story,69 pages in length,  Cassidy gives us two men to love and root for.  I especially would love to see a followup story as I continue to think about both of them days after I finished their story.  Wish List would be on my wish list for anyone looking for that heartwarming holiday story.