One hard-nosed military police officer.
One overly enthusiastic elf.
One poorly timed snowstorm.
Is it a recipe for disaster? Or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for holiday romance?
Teddy MacNally loves Christmas and everything that goes along with it. When he plays an elf for his charity’s events, he never expects to be paired with a Scrooge masquerading as Santa Claus. His new mission: make the holiday-hating soldier believe he was born to say ho-ho-ho.
Sergeant Major Nicholas Nowicki doesn’t do Santa, but he’s army to his blood. When his CO asks an unusual favor, Nick of course obliges. The elf to his Kris Kringle? Tempting. Too tempting—Nick’s only in town for another month, and Teddy’s too young, too cheerful and too nice for a one-night stand.
The slow, sexy make-out sessions while Teddy and Nick are alone and snowbound, though, feel like anything but a quick hookup. As a stress-free holiday fling turns into Christmas all year round, Teddy can’t imagine his life without Nick. And Nick’s days on the base may be coming to a close, but he doesn’t plan on leaving anything, or anyone, behind.
Publisher: Carina Press (Harlequin)
Release Date (Print & Ebook): Ebook: Monday November 12, 2018; Print (mmp): Tuesday November 27, 2018
Length (Print & Ebook): Ebook: 288; Print (mmp): 288
Subgenre: Contemporary Romance, Male/Male Romance, Holiday Romance, Military Romance
“Hey, I’m happy for the company,” Teddy reassured him. “I’d just hate having to find another backup Santa because this one froze to death for not knowing the area. But just watch, by next year, you’ll be as prepared as any native.”
Nick took a spoonful of stew and swallowed before answering. “Won’t be here next year, sorry.”
“Oh. Being moved to another base?” Teddy was hit with a brief pang, which was ridiculous. The military moved people all the time, and like Charlie said, people left. No surprise here.
“No. Retiring. Last day is December 22nd.”
“Retiring? You’re only fortyish right? Isn’t that a bit young?”
“Ish.” Nick’s tone stayed bland, mouth not curving into a smile. “Forty-six. And almost thirty years of service is positively ancient in military terms. I’ve done pretty much everything an enlisted person can do—pretty rare for us to stay on after getting our twenty years of service. I’m a dinosaur at twenty-eight years in. Most of my friends left at twenty, but I was set on making sergeant major, so I stayed in.”
“So what will you do? Go back to school? Civilian law enforcement? Some new dream to chase?” Teddy leaned forward, eager to hear Nick’s big plans.
“Too old to go back to school.” Nick waved a hand dismissively. “And no dreams. All I ever wanted was to be a cop. Joined the military police because we couldn’t afford college, and I liked the idea of being in the service and still being able to be a cop. Then I set my sights on advancing. Last goal was to make sergeant major, and I did that, so no complaints.”
Teddy liked listening to Nick talk, but he was a bit disheartened by how…defeated he sounded. Like he’d battled Father Time and time had won and now he had no choice but to move on. And that was damn sad. He said he had no complaints, but Teddy could read between the lines well enough to see that Nick didn’t want to retire.
“But you can still be a cop. I bet there’s not a law enforcement agency in the country that wouldn’t be happy to have you. Hell, you could even do FBI or Secret Service—”
“Slow down, Teddy.” Nick smiled, the first one Teddy had really seen from him, this one accompanied by a subtle head shake. But Teddy could take the censure—the smile was damn worth it. Broad with both cheek and chin dimples, it took Nick from “scary giant man” to “Hollywood action star” in a single upward slant of his lips. “You sure know how to dream big. And I’ve thought about civilian law enforcement. I’ve even got the degrees they all want, but in the end, I think I’m just too old a dog to learn new tricks.”
Tis the season for Christmas stories! And for me there is no better way than with a book by one of my favorite authors.
This story deviated from her norm in that it was set in upstate NY (not the Pacific Northwest or San Diego) and it featured an Army MP (not a Navy Seal). And it was adorable.
Nick is in his last month of active duty as an Army mp before he retires. Sounds like he was pushed into retirement, but I don’t think it was ever explained why. And without giving anything away, the events surrounding the tragedy in Nick’s family was never really explained either. Small details most probably won’t notice.
Teddy runs a non-profit in his home town. A hometown that seems to be overrun by his extended family. Nick is persuaded to help Teddy and the non profit by dressing as Santa for some pictures and other events leading up to Christmas.
To say Nick and Teddy are polar opposites is putting it mildly. Nick is super grumpy, minimalistic, isn’t close to his family and doesn’t care about the holidays. And he much prefers sun and surf to snow and ice. Teddy is a do-gooder, perpetually happy, is ridiculously close to his family and adores the holidays.
I loved Teddy’s confidence. He puts himself out there with Nick and when he is turned down he doesn’t get all mopey and feeling sorry for himself. He just continues on. The way he slowly insinuated himself into Nick’s life as a friend was super cute.
And then they did get together and wow. That would melt the snow on the roof.
I appreciated that the book included Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve in the story line. It was a fairly happy, low angst book with all of the holiday and family feels.
4 Pieces of Candy
Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer. Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ romance series include the #OutOfUniform, #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat, #RainbowCove and #PerfectHarmony series.
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