Mechanic Benji Holiday is so over Valentine’s Day and men who don’t get him. A weekend getaway with friends to escape the holiday hubbub is exactly what he needs. But William O’Dare—a stern and silent nightclub owner with “Be My Valentine” practically stamped on his forehead—throws a wrench into Benji’s plans.
William has spent years focused on his career, and it has cost him friendships and love. Inexperienced in the business of romance, he’s on the hunt for the perfect partner, and he’s armed with specific criteria to guide him. But William didn’t expect a hunky mechanic wrapped in satin and lace to show up on his doorstep.
Unable to resist their attraction, Benji and William agree to be secret fake valentines for the weekend, but secrets have a way of getting out. William gets struck by Cupid’s arrow, and as the weekend winds down, he doesn’t want fake or secret. He wants Benji to be his valentine for real and for keeps.
Candy Hearts is a male/male Valentine’s Day novella featuring a house party power outage, meddling friends and siblings, naughty lingerie and naughtier toys, homemade Valentine’s Day cards, and a happily ever after.
Series: So Over the Holidays #2
Publisher: Erin McLellan
Release Date (ebook): Feb. 3, 2020
Length: 50k word
Subgenre: contemporary romance, holiday romance, erotic romance
Warnings: explicit sex and language
Benji rubbed his face against the best pillow ever. It smelled good too, this pillow. Like pricy aftershave and jizz.
His head shot up, and he met the dark eyes of William O’Dare. William had taken his glasses off, and his eyes looked sleepy and large and unguarded without the specs.
Not a pillow, then, but William’s firm, perfect chest.
“How long have I been holding you cuddle hostage?” Benji whispered.
William rubbed a hand over the back of Benji’s neck, sending a wash of tingly heat through him.
Benji’s resolve to crawl off this beautiful man dissolved completely. He slumped back onto William’s abdomen. So hard yet so comfortable.
“Like ten minutes?”
“Like an hour and a half.”
Benji yelped. “I slept on top of you for an hour and a half!”
“Oh no. I’m such a jerk. Did you sleep too?”
William was silent for a long beat before he shrugged and said, “Yes.”
“It was like dozing. Relaxing here with you, not worrying about … well, anything.”
“What do you normally worry about?” Benji asked.
William laughed and touched Benji’s chin. “It can be, but it’s been the only thing in my life for a very long time.”
William’s serious gaze sent a shot of fear from Benji’s heart to his fingertips. This was getting a little heavy, and they needed some ground rules. Benji needed ground rules, or he was going to get his hopes up.
He’d get his hopes up or get his heart broken. Either way, he was a total sucker for assholes who were married to their jobs. Or married to other men. He’d fallen into that trap once too.
God, guys sucked sometimes.
“Will. Can I call you Will?”
“Wish you wouldn’t,” William said with a laugh.
“Fine. William. What are we doing?”
Suddenly, William seemed very interested in the thick curtains behind the couch, his gaze shifting away from Benji. “Cuddling. Or cuddle hostaging?”
“That’s not what I meant.”
A small, unhappy smile marred William’s stern face and he wrinkled his big nose. Benji adored that nose, especially when it wrinkled up like that.
“I know,” William said. “I wasn’t planning on a fake valentine this weekend.”
Benji frowned and took a deep breath. He hadn’t been planning on fucking a stranger either. He definitely hadn’t been planning on cuddling with one. Or being a fake valentine, but he’d suggested it, and here they were. Ground rules. He needed them!
“I have a problem,” Benji blurted. William frowned. Now they were frowning at each other like two very unhappy cuddlers. “It’s a personal problem. A love-life problem. And I’ve been trying to solve it. Trying to figure myself out. To figure out how to be healthy when it comes to relationships and friendships and boundaries. I’m worried I just fucked that up.”
William let out a shuddery sigh. A disappointed sigh, maybe? Or a scared one? Then William lifted a hand and cupped Benji’s cheek. “Sweetheart. Can I call you sweetheart?”
“Wish you would. Like, all the time,” Benji admitted.
“Sweetheart, whatever you’re worried about, I’ll help if I can. If you’re freaked out about what we did, we can fix it. I’m not here to hurt you or complicate things for you. It’ll be okay. If I can make it okay, I will.”
Okay, so this was super cute, super fun, sexy AF, and I just all around enjoyed it. Something about men in lingerie, that is just super sexy.
Benji, despite being a mechanic, which I think would generally give someone a less than sunny attitude, was sparkly, and had a great joy of life. I felt like he would be young, no matter his age. His love of pretty things on his skin was just a part of his overall charm. He definitely had self-esteem issues, but they were not worked through by being with William. He had already been working through them, in my estimation.
William, meanwhile needed someone sparkly and fun and joyous. The workaholic was (to use Benji’s phrase) boring. I mean, who under the age of 60 mentions playing Canasta? lol In the end, though, Benji was exactly what he needed when he needed it. He loved giving all he could to Benji, not just in bed, but even in their conversations. Benji needed compliments and pet names, and William was able to pick up on that quickly.
They really blended together so well, in a “stuck in the dark” situation. But as always, can they make it work in the real world? Finding that “sweet” spot will be tons of fun for these two characters!
Not angsty, loads of sexy, fun times. Perfect for a Valentine’s read.
4 pieces of eye candy
Erin McLellan is the author of several contemporary romances, all of which have characters who are complex, goodhearted, and a little quirky. She likes her stories to have a sexy spark and a happily ever after. Originally from Oklahoma, she currently lives in Alaska and spends her time dreaming up love stories set in the Great Plains. She is a lover of chocolate, college sports, antiquing, Dr Pepper, and binge-worthy TV shows.
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