Story Rating: 4.5 stars
Audio Rating: 4.5 stars
Narrator: Nick J. Russo
Length: 4 hours, 15 minutes
Artist Trevor Morrison is living on borrowed time. He has an amazing family, a house he loves, and a successful career. But he also has end stage renal disease. He has some big decisions to make, and he doesn’t have a lot of time to make them. This Christmas might be his last, and Trevor’s trying to get to Connecticut to spend it with his large, loving family. But a huge snowstorm grounds him before he can get out of Denver.
Marcus Roberts is on track to make partner at his prestigious law firm, and it’s his only focus. He long ago gave up his dream of being an artist, and he pushes himself to be the best lawyer he can be. But a well-meaning friend at work points out the inadequacies in that before she kicks him out of the office; the blizzard is dumping snow. Marc reluctantly leaves, but gets stuck on the interstate when it closes. He has no choice but to trudge to a nearby hotel, where he secures one of the last rooms.
As fate would have it, Trevor ends up at the same hotel when the airport shuts down. With no rooms left, he resigns himself to spending the night in the lobby. But he and Marc connect across a crowded room, and sharing a table for dinner leads to conversation. Both men feel the attraction and decide to spend a passion filled night together. Their connection is immediate and strong, and neither man wants to say goodbye when the time comes. With Trevor stuck, unable to get up the mountain to his home or back east to his family, Marc invites him to spend Christmas. Trevor makes it clear that it can’t be more than a hookup, and when Marc agrees, Trevor heads home with him.
Things between them are magic and intense, and both men feel the pull to the other. Together they celebrate the holiday, digging up a tree to grace Marc’s sparse home, and making decorations. Trevor helps Marc find his joy in painting again, and Marc wants to explore what’s between them. He’s desperate to keep Trevor in his life. When Trevor finally admits the truth, Marc is devastated. But he’s determined to save Trevor. He’ll move heaven and earth to make it happen. Now he just needs to find Trevor again, and hope that Trevor can get his miracle and they can live happily ever after.
Oh, this book. L.C. Chase takes a heartbreaking situation and manages to make it poignant and not too terribly angsty. These characters are so well developed and real, that I was wholly invested in the story. My heart broke for Trevor, who had so much left to give in his life, but whose body was betraying him. And Marc has gone through some tough times, and as a result, had lost sight of what brings him joy. And yet, they had so much underneath all that, they were fully realized characters, flaws and beauty both.
Together, these characters are electric. Their chemistry is insane, their connection palpable. From the moment they meet, there’s no doubt that they are meant to be together. Chase plays it perfectly, balancing the sexual attraction with the intellectual. These guys talk as well as have hot, steamy sex. So even though they essentially only know each other for three days, their relationship evolution is utterly believable. Not only that, but these guys aren’t declaring their love after five seconds together. They both feel the beginnings of it, sure. But Marc is asking to see where their connection goes, to not throw away what could be beautiful. And Trevor wants that, and would take it in a heartbeat, if his situation was different. I loved that it felt so real in that regard.
And a quick note that this book does have an HEA. Despite the realness of Trevor’s situation, and how dire the situation is, things work out for the best. I loved how Chase resolved the issue here, as there was a moment where it could have been too over the top. But it was handled perfectly.
So I loved the story and the characters, but I’ll admit the last couple of chapters left me a little bit wanting. Don’t get me wrong, it was lovely. And the part of me that likes things tied up really appreciates there was an epilogue. I wanted to see more of the guys together, and they weren’t. I get why it was written that way, and it really did work as is. But I would have liked to see more of them together after the perfect moment at the end of the last chapter and before the epilogue.
Listening to this one in audio was a real treat. Nick J. Russo captures the characters so wonderfully, and really gives them feeling. He’s got a great, smooth voice that carries the narration well, and he embodies Marc and Trevor spectacularly. Russo bring the intimate scenes to life, and made me feel the emotional ones down to my core. So the bulk of this was just awesome, and while some of the secondary characters didn’t work as well for me, and there were a few words that were…strangely pronounced and threw me off a bit, I really enjoyed listening to this book. It was the perfect cozy interlude on a snowy day. So I definitely recommend this book, in audio or in ebook. You won’t be disappointed.
Cover: Gotta say, I love this cover lots and lots. I’m an L.C. Chase fangirl, especially when it comes to her covers, but this one is just so beautiful and poignant, it’s at the top of my list.