Rating: 4 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
ATF Agent Pete Lomax loves his boyfriend of six months, artist Carver Fleming. The two have a wonderful relationship and Pete definitely feels happy and fulfilled in their life together. The men plan to go visit Carver’s family for Christmas, but Pete is upset when Carver springs a surprise on him. It turns out that Carver plans to move from Chicago to his small Kentucky home town to open his own gallery and help take care of his sick mother. Carver wants Pete to come with them and for them to build a life together, but Pete isn’t sure he is ready to pick up and move, especially since Carver made the plans without even talking to him. Now as they head to Colt for Christmas, Pete must decide if life in the small town can be what he wants and if he is ready to uproot himself for a chance at a life with the man he loves.
This is a sweet holiday story with two really likable guys in Caver and Pete. Right away Calmes lets us see just how much these guys care about each other, how sweet they are, and how important their relationship is. We are in Pete’s POV and it is clear from the start that he is crazy for Carver and that they are a great couple. I enjoyed the subtle humor in their interactions and the easy comfort they have with one another. They are sweet and sexy and very likable together.
The real crux of the story is focused on whether Pete can be happy living in Colt. We meet Carver’s family and get to know a little about the town as Pete considers whether he wants to move with Carver. I had a couple of issues with this part. First, I was annoyed (like Pete) that Carver basically makes all these plans and springs it on Pete rather than talking to him along the way. Then suddenly he wants Pete to move with him. On one hand, in real life I am not sure six months is so long that Carver needs to be planning his life around Pete. But in the context of this story and based on the way their relationship is portrayed, these guys are serious and looking long term and it was frustrating that Carver didn’t at least give Pete warning about what he is planning until it is a done deal.
Also, I felt like the conflict is a bit flat here. Theoretically Pete is evaluating his life and figuring out if he wants to be with Carver. But it never really feels like much of a decision. He sees barely any of the town, doesn’t really meet anyone, doesn’t talk to anyone at work about how easy it is to transfer offices, etc. He just realizes how much he loves Carver and that is it. So it was very sweet and romantic, but it means that not a lot happens here in the story. And maybe that is ok, as this is a holiday book and by their nature they tend more towards the sweet end. I guess I just felt if we are setting this up as a conflict, I wanted to see a little more intensity here to the decision making process.
So overall I enjoyed this one. I really liked Pete and Carver and found them to be a great couple. They are sweet and sexy and I could definitely feel the connection between them. I would have like a little more from the plot and the conflict just to round things out and carry through on the set up. But I found this a warm and lovely holiday story and great for the season.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.