Rating: 4.75 stars
After the tumultuous events of the past year, Eli Hollister and Ash Gallagher have settled into their lives, taking their relationship one step further by moving in together at the Hermitage. Ash is still not satisfied, Ash wants a deeper commitment from Eli. Ash realizes that more than anything he wants to marry his strong-minded, independent lover, but Ash is uncertain about Eli’s views on marriage, especially marriage to him.
It’s their second Christmas together and this time Eli and Ash are headed to Tennessee to spend the holidays with Eli’s family, a visit fraught with anticipated family squabbles, too many people and not nearly enough space for Eli to keep his sanity and Ash work up the courage to propose. Either way it looks to be a memorable Christmas for both men deeply in love but will everything be resolved in time for New Year?
All I Want Is You is a wonderful followup to one of my favorite stories, All Bets Are Off (Mountain Boys #1), published last year by Dreamspinner Press. That novel charted the romance of professor Eli Hollister and former Marine Ash Gallagher from a rocky beginning when Ash turned up in one of Eli’s classes to a couple in love and committed to making their relationship work.
Marguerite Labbe’s characters have always been so realistic that it is so easy to identify with them, become attached to their happiness. We can relate to them because their emotions,expectations and problems mirror those of the people around us. From lovely settings to authentic relationship issues, the author delivers a remarkable portrait of two men working their way towards a Happily Ever After that is both realistsic and romantic. We get to watch as Eli and Ash get to know each other. We listen as they relate their backstories to one another, and exhibit the push/pull on each other that all new relationships exhibit. And when they full commit to each other as a couple, the reader is right there with them, as fully involved in their story and relationship as they are. So imagine how happy I was to hear that Marguerite Labbe was writing a Christmas story for Eli and Ash. And what a Christmas present to her readers it turned out to be.
We listen into Ash’s inner discourse ( I love Labbe’s dialog) on his decision to ask Eli to marry him and then slightly panic when he hesitates to go forward. Eli too has his hurdles to over come this holidays and it is a huge one. But the issues raised here about family are ones that have to be addressed and dealt with before another relationship can proceed, and this element will ring out as authentic because so many of us have been there too.
This is so much more than your typical Christmas story where the holidays themselves are central to the story but rather another step forward in Eli and Ash’s relationship. I hope and feel confidant that Marguerite Labbe will be bringing the boys back for further updates, perhaps even a wedding? What happy speculations stretch out before us, either way I can’t wait. But the real present here is that this wonderful story is free. Download your copy here and settle in to enjoy another warmhearted lovely tale about these captivating Mountain Boys.
Length: 71 pages
Lovely cover art by Fae Sutherland.