Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance | Amazon UK
Hollis Alcott has hated the holiday season ever since his parents died. His sister and her extended family always include him in their celebrations, but this time of year is still too painful for Hollis. Hollis owns a stationary store in Portland, and when the other shop owners plan a window decorating contest, Hollis has no interest in participating. But when storeowner Sawyer Murphy bets him that he can win, Hollis can’t help but agree to the competition. The men have known each since they were teens. In fact, Sawyer’s twin brother is married to Hollis’s twin sister. Sawyer knows Hollis can’t resist a bet, and gets him to agree to this small bit of holiday cheer.
As the season continues, the men end up spending more time together. As much as he tries to keep his distance from Sawyer, Hollis can admit to himself that he is attracted to the man. But Hollis doesn’t feel like he is entitled to real happiness after his parents’ death; it seems like a betrayal. Not to mention he isn’t interested in a relationship, and even if he was, Sawyer is not a good bet. He has a short attention span and moves from man to man, and even though he seems interested now, Hollis knows it won’t last.
Yet, Sawyer isn’t giving up and is making his interest in Hollis clear. And Hollis finds he can’t resist the sexy man, especially when Sawyer expresses an interest in some of Hollis’ kinks. The sex is explosive, but more than that, Hollis is really enjoying spending time with Sawyer. He is helping make the holiday season a little brighter, and helping to ease some of the pain and loneliness Hollis has felt since his parents’ death. Sawyer is clear he is hoping for more with Hollis, something real and lasting. Now Hollis has to decide if he is willing to trust in Sawyer’s feelings and if he is ready to move on to a relationship and a future with the man he is growing to love.
Wrapped Together is a wonderful holiday story with the perfect mix of warmth and sexiness. Hollis starts out the book so cold and reserved. He lives a life of control and keeps himself removed from other people. Part of Hollis has always been this way, but he had a lot more joy before his parents died. Sawyer is full of life, lives with exuberance and happiness, and as the men spend time together, Sawyer helps Hollis regain some of his joy. Albert ties the growth nicely to both the joys of the holiday season, but also to the connection between Hollis and Sawyer, and to Sawyer’s ability to help bring a spark back to Hollis. I liked that Hollis doesn’t completely change his personality over the course of the book, and the couple has to find some compromise, but at the same time, we see Hollis making a lot of progress emotionally.
The warmth and holiday cheer is nicely balanced here with the heat between the guys. The chemistry between the guys is great from the start, but things get even more explosive when Sawyer begins to pick up on Hollis’ kinks for orgasm denial and bondage. We can see Hollis’ thrill at having his needs met, as well as Sawyer’s excitement as he explores this side of Hollis he has never seen. The guys are super sexy together and their connection is really great. The kink is very much on the light side, so no worries if that is not your thing. But it adds some really great spice to the story.
Wrapped Together is part of Albert’s Portland Heat series, but the story absolutely stands alone. Hollis and Sawyer are both store owners in the shopping district where some of the other stories take place, but other than a couple of small cameos from previous main characters, the book stands alone well and you can easily read this one without the others.
If you are looking for a holiday story with a nice mix of romance, sexiness, and holiday cheer, I can definitely recommend Wrapped Together.
I just read it last night (I loved the other Portland Heat books — as an added bonus from someone who is familiar with Portland, she gets it *right*), so glommed onto this one right away.
Oh good, so glad you enjoyed it too! This was one of my favorites of the series!
This does sound appealing. Thanks for the review, Jay.
You are welcome!