Boy is my face red. I had planned to do a post about this anthology before Christmas and here it is, mid-January and I’m finally giving this antho some blog time. What? I took the Christmas tree down, and ate all the Halloween candy. I’m almost all caught up!
My True Love Gave To Me by Ava March
Alexander Norton loathes the festive season. The revelry of the ton is a reminder of Christmas four years ago, when his first love, Thomas Bennett, broke his heart and fled to New York without a word. So when he encounters Thomas at a holiday ball, Alexander is determined not to let on how much he still hurts.
Thomas has returned for one reason only: Alexander. Having finally come to terms with his forbidden desires, he will do whatever he must to convince Alexander to give their love another chance. But instead of the happy, carefree man Thomas once knew, Alexander is now hard and cynical. Saddened to know he’s to blame for the man’s bitterness, Thomas resolves to reignite the passion he knows lies hidden behind the wall of disdain…
Ava March writes characters that are so easy to love and sympathize with. No matter who betrays whom, I always want her boys to find love…after some good hot smexin’ of course. *wink* The emotional angst is thick in this novella as these two lovers work out their problems and come to terms with their feelings for each other after a four-year separation. Forgiveness and reconciliation does not come easy making for a very emotionally intense read. (And the smexin’)
Winter Knights by Harper Fox
Historian Gavin Lowden is in Northumberland on Christmas Eve for two reasons: to find evidence of a romantic bond between Arthur and Lancelot, and to finally tell his partner Piers that he loves him. Piers has promised to come clean with his conservative family and join Gavin for their first holiday as a couple, but at the last minute, he bails. Devastated, Gavin heads out onto the moors alone, just as snow begins to fall…
Gavin stumbles into an underground chamber, where strange happenings cause him to question what is real and what is fantasy. He’s found by two mysterious men who offer him a bed for the night—and awaken him to nuances of erotic pleasure he didn’t know existed. Pleasure he hopes to share with Piers.
When Piers learns that Gavin has gone missing, he is desperate to find him. He knows now breaking up was a terrible mistake, and he’s ready to take the next step in their relationship—if it’s not already too late.
I’m not always a fan of the “conservative family who shuns the gay son and spews hatred all over the shunned son’s existence” scenario in a contemporary m/m. I know it’s realistic but it’s just hard for me to read sometimes. I have to be in the right mood for a story like that. But Gavin, the historian who is determined to find a romantic bond between Arthur and Lancelot won me over. Although his lover Piers has to come to terms with his family and that conflict it didn’t dominate the story, this was Gavin’s journey.
I’m tempted to call Gavin a drama queen because I was taken on an emotional roller coaster with him. But I not sure that’s totally accurate. Maybe I’m the drama queen because I was thoroughly engrossed and invested in Gavin’s feelings as he suffered the pain of being left by his lover, and the joy and excitement of a new experience, and then reconciliation. His emotions were so raw and honest and reading the story through his eyes really made him a lovable character.
This is the first time I’ve read Harper Fox and I’ll be reading more.
Lone Star by Josh Lanyon
Growing up in rural Texas, Mitchell Evans’s ambition to be a dancer made him a target. Though he found success in New York City, Mitch is at a crossroads, and heads home for the first time in twelve years to figure things out. When what appears to be a reindeer jumps out in front of his car, he drives off the road and into the path of the one man he hoped to avoid.
The last person Texas Ranger Web Eisley expects to see four days before Christmas is his first love. He hasn’t seen Mitch since they quarreled over coming out to their friends and family years ago. Though he’s not in the closet now, Web has worked hard for the respect of his fellow officers, but he still regrets the loss of Mitch in his life. And his bed.
The attraction between them is as strong as ever, and it doesn’t take long for the men to pick up where they left off. But is love enough to keep Mitch in town in the New Year?
A successful ballet dancer who returns to his small hometown and is reunited with his former lover who is a Texas Ranger? Yes. Please. A lot has changed in Mitch and Web’s lives since they parted but some things have stayed the same. The attraction and chemistry is still there and they still love each other. But they lead different lives and have very different careers. Neither can just give it all up for the sake of love.
While this story had the potential for some high octane emotional angst, it’s really just a touching second chance love story of two people who want to try to find a way to be together despite their different lifestyles.
Christmas Proposition by K.A. Mitchell
It’s Christmas in Epiphany, Pennsylvania—the busiest time of year for Mel Halner. But running the family Christmas tree farm has worn down his love for the happiest season of all, and lately Mel’s been wondering what if he’d said yes to a ticket out of town with millionaire Bryce Campion three years ago.
Bryce isn’t used to people saying no to him, and he can’t forget Mel or their brief but sizzling affair. He might not have been offering forever, but Bryce can’t understand a guy as sexy and smart as Mel choosing to stay rooted on the family farm over enjoying the high life with him. He’s determined to make Mel see what he’s missed out on the first chance he gets.
Hoe-lee smokin’ hot Christmas stories!! This one starts off with a bang in a back alley. Wowza!! I knew I was in for a wild ride early on with this one with no shortage of sexy times. Once again we have two lovers who lead very different lives. They’ve been separated but fate has brought them back together again and shown one of them what’s been missing in his life. There are some lighter moments making this a fun, sexy romance.