I fell in love with this wonderful festive romance
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
This is a lovely Christmas novella with a little bit of an angsty side order to marry with the festive joy.
I loved Bailey aka Kai’s Angel, he was a sensitive soul who, while he felt out of place in his active and sporty family, still knew he had all their love and support.
The opening scene, a flashback, worked perfectly for me to set up the main narrative and I liked that there was a significant time jump before we returned to the two men. There’s a small age gap between them of six years.
I also loved the interconnected families, both Bailey and Kai’s families were founders of Wishing Tree, they’ve all grown up together, their siblings are married to each other. There’s a really strong sense of small town love and support throughout the book.
Kai was also someone that it was easy to feel sympathy for. He’d known he was attracted to Bailey before his confession years ago and he’s fallen more in love with him as time’s gone on. But his ice hockey career had come first and he’d used that as a means of staying away.
There’s all kinds of awkwardness and tension when they meet up again and Kai is frustratingly hampered for a while, which does lead to some amusing scenes with other family members.
However, alls well in the end and there is a super sweet declaration of love and proper time taken for them to work over the hurts which I appreciated.
One thing I was disappointed by though was the lack of on page intimacy, there’s a really lovely “first kiss” moment, then we get some initial expressions of physical closeness, a blow job/hand job etc, but the first time they become truly intimate is referenced in passing.
Now, that’s not to say I wanted a full blown graphical erotica level sex scene, but it was a shame imho not to see that first time Bailey let down his guard enough to trust that Kai really did love him and wanted to cherish him.
That always makes me feel like i’m missing out because the intimacy and trust that comes from reaching that point in a relationship is what I’m always waiting for. We get a second very brief reference to them having sex on page but that’s it.
Still, overall this really is a gorgeous romance, not so much a second chance, but more a seizing of missed opportunities and I loved the setting, the families, the sweetness. I just wanted a bit more spice.
#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review