king's courageRating: 4 stars
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Length: Novella

With Jack Frost and Rudy Rein Dear’s wedding only a few weeks away, everyone is gathering at Jack’s vacation home for the festivities. Dasher is excited for the wedding, as well as a chance to spend more time with Jack’s father, Eirik, the King of Frost. Although the king is standoffish and kind of surly, Dasher understands the king’s grief at the loss of his wife years ago. He believes that with a little encouragement, Eirik can open himself up again to friendship and maybe even love.

Eirik has spent so long isolating himself that he doesn’t know quite what to do with the persistent Christmas elf. No matter how much Eirik tries to scare Dasher off, he keeps coming back with his cheerful smile and friendly demeanor. Before long, Eirik finds himself unable to resist the charming elf and the two begin exploring the connection between them.

As the festivities continue and the wedding draws closer, Eirik and Dasher continue to grow their relationship. But Dasher wonders what will happen when the wedding is over and they return to their normal lives. Eirik isn’t sure there is a future for such different men. Yet even as they consider what might be between them, threats to Dasher’s safety may put his life at risk.

The King’s Courage is the sixth and final book in Charlie Cochet’s charming North Pole City Tales series. I have a soft spot in my heart for this sweet and playful series that imagines the Christmas tales come to life. Over the series we have met Kringle as the mayor of North Pole City, Jack Frost, the toy soldiers who protect the realm, and of course, the Rein Dears who fly the bi-planes that deliver all the toys. The series is clever and fun and Cochet manages to infuse the stories with a lot of charm as little holiday details are worked into the books.

Over the course of the series, we have been anticipating the big wedding between Jack and Rudy and in this final book, we see that play out. But the focus here is on Dasher and Eirik, and the two have been dancing around each other for a while now. Or more like Dasher has been sniffing around Eirik and finding himself rebuffed as Eirik is too scared to really explore anything with him. So here we get a payoff on two fronts as we get both the wedding and the resolution to this relationship.

The guys are sweet together and though they fall pretty hard and fast once Eirik lets go, they are charming enough to make it work. I wish I had a better feel for why Eirik suddenly sees Dasher in a different way, and why he is now ready to explore it. But I enjoyed their relationship and the way Dasher helps Eirik open up and find some happiness. At the same time, we see some more depth in Dasher as he shares his own painful past and the men are able to connect about their shared experiences.

We get a bit of a suspense angle at the end that honestly resolved way too fast for me. If this wrench was going to be thrown in, I wanted to actually see it play out rather than appear and disappear so fast.

In the end I found The King’s Courage a great way to end the series. It is sweet and romantic and pulls together characters and storylines from across the series for a nice resolution. If you are in the mood for a clever holiday story with a bit of Christmas magic, definitely check out this series.

A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.

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