Quin Flint has a five-year plan that includes becoming partner in his consulting firm and moving to the London office. All he needs to do is keep on as he has been — working long hours, keeping the staff under him working hard, getting involved in whatever projects he can, and cutting waste. He is good at what he does and well on his way to achieving his goals.
When one of his employees asks to leave early, Quin’s response is immediately to deny the request. It doesn’t matter why Rob needs the time off, nor that it is a couple days before Christmas. What matters is keeping productive. But when Quin’s boss shuts down the office and takes away Quin’s phone in attempt to get him to take some time off, Quin gets a chance to learn what people really think of him. Rob, who Quin has found himself quite drawn to, makes it clear that he has lost faith in Quin and no longer can defend him to their co-workers who hate him. Quin realizes that he has been letting down his friends and sees how he has let his job take over his life. As Quin takes a step back to reevaluate himself, he finds he doesn’t like what he sees. Now he must figure out if it is too late to change himself and the direction of his life, and whether or not he has missed his chance with Rob as well.
Ok, so I am going to start here by showing my ignorance of Christmas tales and tell you honestly I don’t know which one this is, but I do know it is one, lol. This story is obviously based on the holiday tale of the man who has a chance to see himself as others do and reevaluates his life, and Chambers has done a really nice job here giving it a modern and romance novel spin. She manages to make Quin enough of a jerk that we can feel satisfied with his redemption, but also likable enough that we care about him. He really has no idea what he has become; there isn’t necessarily meanness there, but more such a singular focus that he has lost his ability to relate to other people. Chambers really captures both his shock and his pain as he recognizes what he has become, and then does a nice job with his self reflection as he figures out what he needs to do to change.
The romance side of things isn’t the main focus here. We meet Rob early on as he has a conflict over the leave with Quin, and then he is not a major player for a while as we follow with Quin and his revelations. However, there has always been an attraction between these guys and Rob is so sweet and understanding that he is willing to reach out to Quin when he needs it, despite the fact that Quin was not initially willing to do the same. The guys are sweet together and the ending pulls things together nicely for them with a sexy connection and a nice epilogue that shows how the guys reach their HEA.
This story really is less about Christmas as a setting or a holiday, and more about the deeper meaning of figuring out what is important in life and having some self reflection. I think it was quite well done, and even as someone who doesn’t celebrate the holiday, I could appreciate the story and enjoy these guys. So a really nice holiday novella and definitely one to recommend for fans of Christmas tales.