Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Daniel Diaz is one of those characters who is so uptight he gives new meaning to the words “undies in a twist.” Always reliable, steadfast, ambitious, he’s a twenty-eight-year-old HR Director who’s very dependable. He’s so dependable, in fact, that he checks his work emails twenty-four-seven and can’t let loose. Until his bestie convinces him to attend CYC—change your cadence—a class intended to shake up his predictable life. So, contrary to his usual holiday schedule, this year he has booked a condo with a guy from the office who might just be the one to help him let loose.
He’s looking forward to snow, hot tubs, and a week of sex, but unfortunately, just before he leaves he receives a call from the local ER informing him that his “brother” has had an accident and Daniel is listed as next of kin. Though he doesn’t actually have a brother, after a quick call to his mother, he figures out that this must be Cole, the young kid who was his step-brother for a few months during his mother’s whirlwind marriage to Cole’s father. When the whirlwind divorce happened, Daniel’s mother kept in touch with Cole and convinced him to list Daniel as emergency contact when he moved to Daniel’s town last year to finish his master’s degree.
Of course, this interferes with his planned vacation, so Daniel just sends his office lover to the chalet on his own while he takes care of Cole. Long story short, Cole and his concussion accompany Daniel on his vacation—after all, what choice does a by-the-book guy like Daniel have? But the surprise is on Daniel when he arrives to find that Justin, his office twink—errr potential lover—has invited half the office to share the chalet. Oops! Bad move on Justin’s part. And that begins the twenty-four hours of crazy that is Justin and the gang who happen to get snowed in with them until the next day. Poor Daniel. And poor Cole with his headache.
I really enjoyed the story—mostly after Justin left, I must admit. I loved the author’s writing style, the interesting concept of former stepbrothers. Of course, Cole held a long-time torch for Daniel, having had a crush since they met when he was thirteen. Cole is definitely a more lovable, friendly, outgoing character than Daniel, who remains stiff and reserved for quite a while. And yet I liked Daniel, even though he was pretty misguided. For Daniel, the more work he did, the better his self-esteem. I know a lot of people like that. In fact, I used to be one of them. I was happy to see, however, that he didn’t remain that way through the whole story and I enjoyed the discovery of their love for each other.
Yes, it was pretty much insta-love, no matter that Cole had that long-term crush going on. This line in the blurb sums the story up beautifully: “This fluffy gay Christmas romance from Keira Andrews features former stepbrothers reconnecting as adults, sexy hot-tub shenanigans, cuddling by the fire, and of course a happy ending.” So, in the spirit of the holiday season, and of the light, fluffy holiday romance this is intended to be, I’m going for 4.5 stars. This story made me feel good and provided a few hours of enjoyable reading that hit my warm and fuzzy spot, so I’m recommending it to all who enjoy holiday romances, reunited friends to lovers, love at first (or second) sight, and those who like to see those cold-hearted workaholics turn into mushy romantic fools for the right man.
The cover by Dar Albert of Wicked Smart Designs features two very attractive men one shirtless, one in a T-shirt, in front of a fireplace and Christmas tree. It captures the spirit of the holiday very nicely.
ebook, 120 pages
Published November 30th 2017 by KA Books (first published November 2017)