Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Jay Northcote’s stories get better and better each year. This one pokes a bit of fun at dating apps, as Luke, who happens to be working as Santa this year while awaiting the start of a new job, spots a guy on his app who seems to be interested in more than just a quick hookup. But as Luke’s getting older, he’s getting more interested in finding some permanence—a steady relationship with just one man.
Theo is thrilled that his first foray into the dating world since his son, Archie, was born four years ago seems to be a potential success. The only problem is that as they were chatting online, Luke made a comment that indicated he didn’t like kids. So Theo makes a decision that will drive the plot of this story most of the way to the end—he decides not to tell Luke about Archie. That can wait until later. If they hit it off, Theo will then explain that he and his high school girlfriend had a child four years ago and they share custody of the sweet little boy.
I enjoyed this plot bunny and really liked Archie. He wasn’t overly precocious. He was just a sweet little fellow. And when Theo takes his little guy to the mall to visit Santa, Theo is impressed that Santa seems to really like working with the kids. On the flip side, Luke is shocked when the little boy who comes to see him happens to be accompanied by a gorgeous daddy—Theo! Luke decides not to tell Theo who he is, thinking he’d wait until their first real date and Theo would share all about his son. But the more time that goes by, the deeper both men get into the lies and when Archie convinces his daddy to come back to see Santa two more times, Luke starts to get really angry with Theo.
How this resolves is fun and interesting and just adds to the overall joy of the holiday season. A very light and uplifting story, with the implied moral of being truthful (even on dating apps!), I found it very difficult to put this down and literally consumed it as fast as a box of chocolates. It was just as delicious, and I highly recommend it to all lovers of stories of men with children, seasonal romances, and of course, a very happy ending.
Cover art by Garrett Leigh features a handsome, bearded young man, no doubt representing Luke. Though there is a Santa hat on the page, the cover doesn’t feature a lot of holiday glitter—a good thing in my opinion.
Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 150 pages
Published November 24th 2017 by Jaybird Press