Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Xander Leahman wasn’t happy with the corporate life so when his best friend called and asked his help to find a manager for her craft store, he jumped at the chance for a change in scenery and time with his bestie. But Xander wasn’t prepared for the attraction he felt when he saw the grumpy but gorgeous owner of the restaurant next door to Craft Time. On impulse, Xander found himself agreeing to take the job and relocate on the chance that his heart knew what it was doing.
For Dermot Alasdair the twinkling lights and jolly holiday decorations bring nothing but pain. While others are celebrating and enjoying the company of friends, family, and lovers, Dermot remains alone, isolated by secret and memories he has never divulged to a single soul. By now, Dermot has almost convinced himself that all he needs is his restaurant and solitude to be content, if not happy. Then the arrival of Xander Leahman at the neighboring craft store throws his carefully laid out life into chaos.
Xander’s a happy, exuberant person who loves Christmas and can’t understand why the man he is so attracted to lacks the Christmas spirit. Now more than ever Xander is determined that he will find a way to open Dermot’s heart to Christmas and to a forever love….with Xander, of course!
The holidays are almost upon us and what better way to bring Christmas cheer into home and heart than with holiday stories of celebration and romance. Havan Fellows and Lee Brazil collaborated in this lively holiday tale of a man whose past robbed him of more than just the Christmas spirit and the fellow who’s determined to bring it back, along with a major dose of romance and love.
The authors certainly relay the historic charm and community of Parkersburg, the town where the story takes place. We are plopped into the “grinch like” mind set of one Dermot Alasdair making his way through the cobble streets of town to his restaurant. Immediately its clear that the holidays and the Christmas decorations are his personal Kryptonite. And when he is not mentally complaining about the inconvenience of bell ringers and such, he is focused on the financial health of his restaurant, always a precarious thing in the food business. The last thing Dermot expects is the intrusion into his life of Xander Leahman, a change will he only reluctantly welcome.
Fellows and Brazil make it plain that Dermot is a character that has more pain in his heart than anyone in his situation should, and that, clearly, there are dark reasons behind his bah humbug behavior. He is buttoned up, clinched in, and as tight as they come to pull in all the old chestnuts, all of which brings out our sympathy and compassion for this sad man.
Xander is more Santa’s helper than corporate desk jockey. His typical ebullient frame of mind is perfect for Craft Time and his presence is just what his best friend needs. Xander’s arrival touches off a set of small emotional explosions in all around him, but mostly in Dermot and surprisingly in Xander himself.
I thought the story moved along smartly, in fact, it’s narrative pace was almost too fast. Xander fell a little too hard too quickly as did Dermot. And the hot relationship, or hot and cold relationship that springs up could have done with some simmering time instead of heating up to a boil from the start. But that aside, their relationship is hot, sexy, and sometimes quite funny, which is needed to offset the pain and poignancy to come.
I throughly enjoyed Christmas In His Heart by Lee Brazil and Havan Fellows. It’s a wonderful way to crank up that holiday cheer! So deck the halls, light up the Kindles, and put some music on. Love is in the air and Christmas is winding its way into our hearts! Put Christmas In His Heart on your holiday reading list today!
Cover Artist: Laura Harner. Love the cover, filled me with holiday cheer!
Kindle Edition, 119 pages
Published December 4th 2014 by Lime Time Press