Ivyrson is the quintessential Scrooge when it comes to anything having to do with the holidays. However, the chance to win a hefty chunk of money and free repairs on his old home is enough to entice the man to take part in a holiday-themed reality game.
Emory has had a crush on his older brother’s best friend for years. When the chance to help Ivy possibly win a reality game comes along, Emory doesn’t hesitate. After all, that’s what friends are for.
The two men have known each other forever, but living together and pretending to be a couple means getting to know each other on a whole new level. Can they convince the viewing audience their fake relationship deserves to win the grand prize? Or will Ivy and Emory get swept up in the holiday magic and find themselves falling in love for real?
Once Upon a Christmas House is a steamy, forced-proximity, fake relationship, M/M Christmas romance between a grumpy Scrooge and his best friend’s cheery little brother.
This story had a super cute premise, perfect setting and tropes galore. And it brought in a very modern aspect of a streaming reality show that has viewers vote every week. Definitely fun.
The grumpy guy is the one who wants to win the reality show so he can fix up his dream house and infuse a bit of capital into his auto shop business. And since the show calls for couples, his best friend offers to fake it with him. Until circumstances happen and he can’t. So his best friend’s brother offers. The gay brother who has had a crush on Ivy forever. It’s fine though, right?
The premise of the reality show was a little weak. Besides a few challenges that they do and daily interviews, there isn’t much to it. Then they added “After Dark” challenges that were a bit cringy. They didn’t have to do those, but they were worth points, so how are you supposed to win by not doing them? *shrug*
The story also leans heavily on Ivy hating Christmas. There are dramatic statements like his father blew up their lives. A little over the top. I kind of wanted to slap him, a la Cher “Snap out of it!”. He’s made it his personality.
Of course Ivy and best friend’s brother, Emory, can’t keep their hands off of each other after just a few days of being fake boyfriends for the show. I did like how Ivy was pretty chill with the fact that he was fooling around with a guy for the first time. There was no big sexuality crisis. He just rolled with it for the most part.
There was a bit of “Christmas magic” in the story as well surrounding the house. I wish that had been highlighted more and shown on the reality show more because it was fun.
This was a mostly cute start to the Christmas book season. Enough to get you in the spirit of things.
3.5 pieces of eye candy