Rating: 5 stars
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There is a reason I love the writing of author Devon Rhodes. It all stems from her amazing ability to write the most complete and satisfying short stories around. Christmas of White is perhaps the most sensuously erotic and tender of love stories on the market today and it all comes down to two reasons: brilliant characterization and superb storytelling.
Owen is the bachelor uncle who lives alone and has convinced himself he is happy doing so. His brother is the local large animal vet who annually takes on a summer intern to help out with spring birthing. The previous summer Kent had taken on an older student, Blaise Wilcox. Blaise was a small animal vet who had recently gone back to school to gain a second degree in large animal care. As was usual, the interns bunked in with Owen who has available space as opposed to Kent and his wife with their four children.
Normally fresh out of vet school interns come and go without much fuss. However something happened that summer between Owen and Blaise that not only scared Owen out of his comfortable cocoon, but also pushed his sexuality to the forefront where he could no longer ignore or hide it. Now Kent has dropped the bomb that Blaise is coming back for good due to the retirement of Kent’s colleague at the practice. Owen is in a panic. When Blaise had left a few months before, Owen knew he had been returning home to a partner he had apparently cheated on in that one moment of lustful passion they’d had together. Now he was coming back, apparently without the partner, and to stay in Owen’s home until he can find his own. Owen is determined to keep his distance, after all Blaise is a cheater, a liar…or is he?
I must say right off the bat that the way in which the author chose to reveal what happened that one steamy summer night in the barn between these two men was not only clever but incredibly hot and sexy. She carefully flipped us back and forth between Owen’s memory of that night and his present day panic at seeing Blaise again and having all those raw emotions threaten to come to the surface. The little nuances that she built into Blaise’s character, from his longer hair to his rules about recycling and vegan diet, gave us an almost instantly clear picture of how different he was from the shy and closeted Owen. So much was exposed about these two men just by their private thoughts about each other. I felt like we had gotten the same depth of characterization one would find in a full-length novel.
When it was finally cleared up that Blaise was far from the cheating lover Owen had believed him to be, the love story that Rhodes had carefully crafted and hinted at through three-fourths of the novel burst into the light and made this quiet little story one that just grabbed your heart strings and did not let go till the final page.
Christmas of White by Devon Rhodes is a perfect little gem to start off your holiday season reading.
This story will be released December 27th from Totally Bound Publishing. It is available for early download at their web site.