Synopsis: Jack Horwood doesn’t do families. Or Christmas. From the time his mother sold him to her pimp to the moment he walked out on the man he loved, Christmas has always been about change and painful choices. This year seems no different. Helping Daniel and Nico recover from their imprisonment and hunting down those responsible puts Jack in a frame of mind he doesn’t want to inflict on anyone. Least of all Gareth and the tentative relationship they’ve started to rebuild.
But Gareth, for whom Christmas is all about new beginnings, won’t let Jack take the easy way out. He makes him face his ghosts instead. Even when said ghosts invade their bedroom.
When Daniel’s parents are found, Jack is determined to settle the matter without involving Daniel at all. But fate decrees otherwise, and it’s Gareth who helps him finally understand that the strongest bonds are those forged together. Once he gets that, Jack can step up and make a decision designed to lay his ghosts to rest—for good.
Leaving his lover frustrated on Christmas morning had not been Gareth’s intention. In fact, he’d planned on a little relaxation for both of them before the house filled with guests, and he’d risen early to get the turkey started and to treat Jack to breakfast in bed.
Jack hadn’t complained. Not about the early start to their day—though he had wrapped himself around Gareth’s pillow, burrowed back under the quilt, and muttered something about turkeys and the outer circle of hell when Gareth got out of bed just after six—and certainly not about the large mug of coffee and warm cherry pies Gareth had brought up a while later.
The come-hither smile Gareth so adored found its way onto Jack’s face while the coffee did its work, and then Jack leaned to set his empty plate down—on Gareth’s bedside table—the quilt sliding to expose the small of Jack’s back and that perfect ass.
Gareth resisted the urge to drag his teeth down that elegant spine, to tease the sensitive spot just above the swell of a cheek, and hear the deep, husky groan spilling from Jack’s throat. Instead, he slid one hand into mussed, inky spikes while the other gripped a shoulder, and pulled Jack’s face up. “You’ve had your taste of coffee,” he declared firmly. “Now I want mine.”
It so wasn’t Gareth’s fault that his phone rang just as things got interesting.
Or that he was too conscientious to ignore it.
“That was Rose. They’ve just finished debriefing,” he said moments later, draping his weight over Jack’s warm back.
He was grateful that he didn’t need to explain how one felt at the end of a long night debriefing a mission. Jack knew, and he wouldn’t mind that Gareth had offered breakfast to the team, but the tension in the slim frame spoke volumes.
“I’ll make it up to you later tonight—” Gareth whispered the promise, blunt nails scraping over Jack’s scalp. “—and tomorrow… and the day after.” Every word was a soft brush of lips against Jack’s nape until Gareth could feel the shivers running down Jack’s spine.
“Not helping, Gareth,” Jack grumbled. “Go take a shower. I need a minute.”
For Jack Horwood Christmas has always been about change and hard choices while for Gareth it signifies happiness and new beginnings. Gareth can feel Jack pulling away, but can he convince him that a family not of blood but of his own choosing can make him feel whole and grounded? After learning Daniel’s parents have been found Jack realizes he will do anything to protect the boys, even making them his. Maybe this Christmas will be different for Jack and the changes will be good for all of them.
I enjoyed this story as a continuation of Job Hunt but I still have some unanswered questions. I’m hoping that they will be answered in book 3. Overall the story was enjoyable and I loved seeing the same familiar characters.
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Synopsis: You don’t greet your new boss dressed like an underage rent boy. But when Jack Horwood—ace hacker and ex-MI6 operative—opens the door to Gareth Flynn, he’s too busy to worry over details like that. And anyway, his potential new boss is his former Commanding Officer – the same guy Jack has had a crush on since he was seventeen. So he should understand, right?
When he applied for the job in Nancarrow Mining’s corporate security division, Jack had hoped for peaceful days repelling cyber attacks. Maybe a bit of corporate espionage on the side. His plans didn’t include rescuing abused children, hunting pimps, or dealing with his overly protective and hot-as-hell boss, Gareth Flynn.
Walking away is not an option. Jack never takes the easy way out. More than that, meeting Gareth raises old ghosts that Jack needs to put to rest. Rescuing kids. Taking risks. Saving the day. Jack can do all that – but deciding what to do about his attraction to Gareth isn’t the sort of cloak-and-dagger game Jack plays well. Yet Gareth, strong and smart and always on hand when needed, might be Jack’s salvation.
ABOUT JACKIE KESWICK
Jackie Keswick was born behind the Iron Curtain with itchy feet, a bent for rocks and a recurrent dream of stepping off a bus in the middle of nowhere to go home. She’s worked in a hospital and as the only girl with 52 men on an oil rig, spent a winter in Moscow and a summer in Iceland and finally settled in the country of her dreams with her dream team: a husband, a cat, a tandem, a hammer and a laptop.
Jackie loves stories about unexpected reunions and second chances, and men who don’t follow the rules when those rules are stupid. She has a thing for green eyes and tight cyclist’s butts and is a great believer in making up soundtracks for everything, including her characters and the cat.
And she still hasn’t found the place where the bus stops.