Rating: 4 stars out of 5
This was a little bit of a surprise. Not often are Christmas themed books full length. We get a lot of shorts and novellas. So even though the time span (not including epilogue) is less than two weeks, it is packed full enough for a regular sized book.
It almost seems inconsequential that it takes place during Christmas. The holiday brought Casey home to Knoxville for the first time in almost 4 years. He went away to NYU and his parents visit him there. But he left behind his best friend and serious crush, also the boy from the proverbial wrong side of the tracks.
Joel is not thrilled with Casey just showing up at his store. And he had every right to be pissed. His best friend just ghosted him almost 4 years ago. But Joel is a broken man. He grew up mostly without a mother and with a homophobic abusive father. And now that he bought out the family business after his father had a stroke, he is barely making ends meet and honestly doesn’t know how to let someone love him.
Joel just broke my heart. He had a little bit of a martyr complex going on. He didn’t HAVE to buy out the business. He doesn’t HAVE to deliver breakfast to his father everyday. But at the same time I get that he was holding onto the tiny bit of family he had. Equating family with love, although his father didn’t seem to love him at all.
Casey could have been a stuck up snob. Rich parents who finance everything, wanting for nothing. But he really was a down to earth guy. Even what he wanted to do as a career was fairly down to earth. It didn’t come across as fake- just sincere.
I think my only real sticking point is that they were so mature. I mean, they were 22 year old guys. Casey had his own apartment in NYC. Even with the responsibility that Joel shouldered, you would think a 22 year old kid would pop out once in a while. But no. They really had basically mature discussions about life and love. And while they laughed some- they weren’t kids. And at 22, you are still a kid in some ways.
Best friends to lovers, second chances, a demisexual virgin…..and a slobbering dog at Christmas. This is a solid 4 stars for me.
Cover art: Wicked Smart Designs. This cover delivers. Christmas, a kissing couple, everything but the dog. It needed that.
Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK – Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow in Kindle Unlimited
Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 273 pages
Published November 7th 2018 by Leta Blake Books
Edition Language English
Series Home for the Holidays #1 setting Tennessee (United States)