champagne kissesRating: 3.5 stars
Buy Links: 
 Amazon | All Romance | Amazon UK
Length: Novella


Wedding planner Evan Clearly really needs this Christmas Eve wedding to go off without a hitch in order to keep his fledgling business afloat. But when the two feuding grooms cancel the ceremony right before the event, Evan knows he is in trouble. Fortunately, Richard Patterson, brother to one of the grooms, steps in to help out with the fallout.

The two men met about a month ago as Richard helped his brother plan the wedding. Tensions ran high between he and Evan as they are totally different. But now both men are feeling a spark of attraction that ultimately leads to more. Evan is sure they are too different for anything more than one night together, but they just may find that they are a perfect match after all.

This is a short, sexy story about two very different men who get together for one hot night that turns into more. There is a bit of an enemies to lovers vibe as well as there is some antagonism between the guys when the story starts off, though I am not completely clear as to why. They are pretty hot in the bedroom together with a little bit of a growly dominant vibe from Richard. The story pretty much takes place all in one night, but we do get an epilogue that gives us the rest of the HEA for these guys.

So while I found the plot interesting and things sexy between them, I had some issues as well. First off, we never really get to know enough about these guys for me to figure out why they didn’t like each other at the start, other than that they were very different. Evan is flamboyant and femme, Richard is conservative and more stereotypically masculine. And both men seemed to have prejudices against the other for their demeanor. But again, I am not clear why. We aren’t given much in the way of background on Evan other than his family kicked him out for being gay. And we are told Richard was the “man of the house” from a young age and emulated his conservative father. But those bits of backstory were then all we get and supposed to explain all their attitudes and behavior throughout the book, and for me it just wasn’t enough to feel like I knew these guys or understood them.

Richard’s attitude, in particular, makes him not very likable. He has this super flamboyant, drama queen brother whom he loves. So I guess this is supposed to prove that Richard is a nice guy underneath. But he totally judges Evan for also being a femme guy. Again, I was never clear exactly just WHY that was bad, but the book definitely draws this line between more masculine and feminine gay men and seems to fully follow these stereotypes. Every gay men who is a bit femme is somehow supposedly a total over the top drama queen, as if one goes hand in hand with the other. I just honestly couldn’t understand Richard. Obviously we are supposed to see his relationship with his brother as an example of how he is not so closed off, but he is also very clear that he is not interested in dating anyone like that, and again I never understood why. It just made him come across as very unpleasant and unappealing. After he kisses Evan for the first time, he actually says “I don’t do femmes” in a nasty tone. He doesn’t meant to say that out loud (as if that makes it better), but he clearly has issues. So again, I found him not particularly nice and also couldn’t even begin to understand his character.

Somehow Evan manages to forgive Richard shortly after and the guys have a hot night together in the hotel. They are clearly led by lust here and the sex scene was well done. I couldn’t really believe their more emotional feelings though, given their lack of relationship leading up to this point and the unpleasant way they treated each other before hooking up. So while I think they are pretty steamy together, moving from that to real feelings seemed a stretch for me in that short a time.

So I did like the basics of this one and I found it to be a nice, quick holiday read. But I think there needed to be a lot more time developing these characters so we could understand their behavior, especially Richard’s, as it was hard to get them and feel emotionally connected to their HEA.

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