Baz Acker and Elijah Prince are in love and thrilled to be engaged, but both of them are also totally stressed out. Elijah feels completely out of his element with the wealthy Acker family, and even Baz’s mom’s “toned down” version of a wedding is a spectacle beyond what Elijah can handle. It is still sometimes hard for Elijah to accept people really like him, let alone to be the focus of so much pomp and attention and the whole thing has him completely freaked out. Baz can tell that Elijah is stressed, and it in turn is making him anxious as well. He worries about his boyfriend, who has had no easy time of life. And even worse, part of Baz fears Elijah is going to just decide it is all not worth it and leave Baz and the wedding behind.
Desperate for a break from the craziness, Baz and Elijah decide to skip out on the Acker’s New Year’s Eve gala and spend some quality time together. Along with their friends Walter and Kelly, the two jump in the Tesla and head to Vegas.
Although Baz hoped this trip would turn things around, the long car ride has taken a toll on his health and he must spend the first part of the trip recuperating. Luckily, Elijah is taken under the wing of a wily poker player and his casino-owner husband, as well as some of their friends. As Baz begins to recover, the guys lean on their new friends for support. With their help, as well as the love of their friends and family, the guys are finally able to open up to one another and focus on what is really important: their love for each other and their future together.
So I am still not sure I have stopped all the grinning and flailing as a result of this book, but it is everything I could have possibly wanted in this story. Short Stay takes characters from Heidi Cullinan’s Love Lessons series and brings them to Vegas where they meet the characters from her Special Delivery series. The book focuses primarily on Baz and Elijah from Lonely Hearts, but we get appearances from all the guys from both series and a major role by resident Fairy Godfather Randy. I can’t even begin to tell you how happy this story made me. These are not only my favorite series by Cullinan, but both are easily in my top ten series of all time. So seeing all these guys together in once place just about made me explode. It is like throwing a party for all your best friends and having them meet and get along wonderfully, and you are surrounded by everyone you love all together in one place. Just perfect.
The story picks up shortly after Lonely Hearts with the guys engaged but having a hard time of it. Both Baz and Elijah are unsettled by the wedding planning — Elijah because it is all too much for him, and Baz because he is worried about Elijah. We can see how Elijah’s insecurities still rear their heads. He has some major self worth issues and can’t help feel out of place with the wealthy and uber-polished Ackers. And Baz is overcompensating, worrying about Elijah and fearful Elijah is just going to walk. All he wants to do is make everything perfect for his fiancé, but there is no magic fix and it is making Baz nuts not to be able to solve things.
When they get to Vegas, Randy’s magic takes over. Yes, there is a bit of a fantasy element here as the guys are swept away by all these caretakers who go out of their way to look out for them. Randy, in particular, is able to read these guys and offer exactly what’s needed. But I loved that, loved seeing these guys looked after by the older and more established couples, and loved the magic of Randy. In particular, we see how Elijah notes the juxtaposition of the super polished Ethan and the laid back Randy, and it helps him realize that he and Baz are a match where it counts, even if they have many differences.
As I said, we get cameos from pretty much everyone from both series. I seriously almost squealed out loud when Sam danced up and kissed Randy on the mouth. Special Delivery is one of my all-time favorites and I ADORE Sam, so it was so great to see him again, along with the rest of the gang. Cullinan does a wonderful job bringing everyone together in ways that make sense and totally work. All these characters could have become a jumble, but instead everyone flows together just perfectly.
The story ends up being sweet, sexy, and OMG so romantic. Seriously I couldn’t have asked for more if she had written it just for me. For fans of these series, you probably don’t need me to say this, but get on this one immediately. And if you have yet to be introduced to either of these worlds, I can not encourage you enough to try both series because they are absolutely amazing.