Piotr is a snake shifter and a cupid. Yes, the magical, romance-spouting, arrow shooting kind of cupid! He works for the East Midlands branch of PLC (Public Limited Cupids), but his frightening appearance combined with his standoffish and surly demeanor mean that Piotr has no friends. Now apathetic about match-making, Piotr has written his resignation letter, but on the day that he decides to hand this in, his boss makes a huge announcement: Father Christmas is taking paternity leave and the cupids must join with the elves to ensure that the Christmas deadline is met. This means that Piotr has to work his month’s notice at ‘The North Pole’ factory under the supervision of a worker named Danny. So, will partnering with this elf, who loves Christmas and takes pride in his work, soften Piotr’s heart at all?
The Cupids Do Christmas is the second book in Riza Curtis’ Public Limited Cupids series, but I did not realize this when I selected the book for review. However, not having read the first book did not affect my enjoyment of Curtis’ holiday gay romance.
I think my favorite aspect of the book is that Curtis is able to capture the magic of the festive season. She does this in several different ways, but the fact that the characters are shifters, cupids, a demigod, and a vampire helps. The species of the characters she mentions is not so significant as Curtis asking her reader to open their minds to the possibility of magic and suspend our beliefs just for the short time that we enter her world. I think, particularly at Christmas, adults do become children again and the holiday can be made better if our innocence is reawakened, and that is exactly what Curtis accomplishes here.
There are parts of The Cupids Do Christmas during which Curtis injects humor, making the reading experience all the more enjoyable. The whole idea of Father Christmas taking paternity leave at all made me laugh. When this announcement is followed by comments like, “turns out the law doesn’t exclude Father Christmas!” and “It never occurred to me that Father Christmas was real before!” I felt that Curtis was really satirizing her own fictional creation.
Apart from the book obviously being set during the holiday season, it is also a story of a relationship between two very different men. Danny believes in magic, is a woodworker who makes ponies for children, and isn’t afraid to stand up for himself. Piotr is cynical, not happy to do more than is required of him, and is cold and scornful. Though Danny and Piotr are opposites, Curtis still ensures that the reader is invested in their romance. We enjoy the fact that Danny is not afraid of Piotr, like so many others are, and that before anything else, the men become friends. Their first date is enjoyable and important because we understand that Danny is able to evoke the childish nature in Piotr, making him more open to belief — not only of love, but Christmas too.
I adored the fact that Curtis allows Piotr to redeem himself and this is entirely because of the feelings that he has for Danny.
The only downside of The Cupids Do Christmas for me was the inclusion of a sex scene. I personally felt this was unnecessary and it did not add anything to the story or the men’s relationship. This is because it takes place at a time when Curtis has already established the depth of the feelings between Danny and Piotr and I did not feel that the men needed to consummate this.
Despite this, The Cupids Do Christmas is a wonderfully fun and romantic holiday story that is guaranteed to make the reader smile and feel warm inside.