Hi everyone! Today we have our third and final installment of the Dreamspinner Advent Roundup. These reviews are by Jason and Sammy. Each of these stories can be purchased individually or as part of the larger collection. Enjoy!
The Swag Man Delivers by Sean Michael
After accomplishing his scholastic goals, Orpheus (“O”), decides that the party scene in Sydney, Australia is not his thing. He decides to wander down the beach for some quiet introspection. While O sits in the sand, staring at the waves as they crash in and out, he is surprised when a man wanders up to him and settles in for a visit.
Gage is in Australia touring about when he comes across O sitting on the beach. Curious about the attractive man, Gage sits down and the two men talk until a surreptitious glance at Gage’s obvious erection makes O stop and reconsider his opinion of the gorgeous Texan.
The Swag Man Delivers in a word: Sex. There was very little plot, which was surprising since the beginning of the story seemed so promising, but once O and Gage discover each other’s interest, the entire focus of the story becomes about the sex. Add to the lack of plot a lack of character building and you get a mediocre M/M story that had such potential.
Since the beginning was well done, the sex scenes were hot, and the story was short, I would still say it was worth the read, but probably not a re-read.
Snow and Moose and Finnish Secrets by Rene Kieffer
Ian has never been in a relationship long enough to warrant “meeting the parents” until Jake. Having had enough of his own superficial family Christmas, Ian agrees to go to Finland to meet Jake’s mom and dad. Nervous of his reception, regardless of Jake’s assurances, it takes meeting and getting to know Jake’s parents to realize Jake was telling the truth. Until Jake’s ex-fiancée shows up and throws Ian’s newly found confidence for a loop.
This story is short and sweet with great characters, although Jake’s mom and dad were quite two-dimensional. Ian and Jake were more well defined, Ian more so than Jake, which makes sense since the story is told from his POV. The setting suited the story, especially at the end when all hell breaks loose. There were some funny situations and dialogue, which makes Snow and Moose and Finnish Secrets a recommended read for the holidays.
A Night Never Forgotten by SJD Peterson
A chance encounter. One night of passion and a hurried flight home. A night never forgotten and a moment returned to for five years running. This is exactly what happens when Braylon meets Russ on a crowded ice skating rink in Toronto, Canada, one snowy night, on December 1st. After that one intoxicating moment of connection, Braylon must return to the States. But he cannot forget Russ and so he returns to that same rink year after year in the hopes of connecting with him again.
However, fate has other ideas in mind. Braylon is ill and needs a kidney in order to survive. A mysterious donor has been found but the surgery must be done immediately—preempting Braylon’s yearly pilgrimage to Toronto to try and reconnect with Russ. After a full year’s recovery, Braylon finds himself returning to Canada but his hopes of seeing Russ have begun to wane. In fact, he is resigned to the idea that this might be the last time he visits the place they first met. But Christmas magic is in the air and one never knows just what gifts await us when Chris Kringle casts his spell.
SJD Petersen weaves a magical tale of love at first sight and the fate of two lovers who are torn apart and cannot seem to reconnect. In just a few pages of text, this author gives us a window into the heart and desires of a gentle man who clings to the idea that love is out there for him, if only he can be lucky enough to find it again. Braylon is a sweet romantic soul who refuses to give up on the idea that Russ might be waiting for him, just like he is longing to find Russ again. With each passing year, Braylon’s faith never waivers and when fate brings them together in the most intimate of ways, the author ties up the threads of this sweet love story in a big Christmas bow.
A Night Never Forgotten by SJD Peterson is a lovely Christmas fantasy with a happy ever after that is sure to make you smile!
Wait for Me by T.S. Morgan
Rating: 3.5 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance | Amazon UK
Length: Short Story
Trent Justin Barclay, TJ to his friends, is sent on an errand by his deceased grandfather Tristan to bury his ashes and love letters next to his true love in Inverness, Scotland. While on the errand, TJ discovers that his grandfather’s former love also has a grandson who makes regular appearances at the grave site. Curious, TJ locates the young man and although he never thought of himself as gay, seduces Jamie. Since neither man has ever identified themselves as gay, is there truly a future for them, either in Scotland or the States?
I must be a serious romantic because this story of love lost and new love found tugged on my heart strings from beginning to end, with one notable exceptions that I will discuss.
Morgan did a good job setting the stage, creating the back story, and building the characters and their environment. TJ following his grandfather’s last wishes was sweet. TJ stalking Jamie and some dubious consent when TJ initiated sex took me off guard and wasn’t so sweet. The fact that both TJ and Jamie were “straight” before meeting each other was interesting to say the least, and regardless of the fact that Jamie enjoyed the sex, no still means no.
I really have mixed feelings about Wait for Me and you already know why, so that being said, I will let you decide if this is the short story for you.
A review copy of these stories was provided by Dreamspinner Press.