Randy and Ethan are celebrating their first Christmas at home as a couple and Ethan wants to make it special. Ethan knows that past holiday festivities at the casino included Randy in a prominent role, but he had no idea the revelries were quite so wild and x-rated. Normally Ethan wouldn’t care about that kind of thing, but Randy’s ex Crabtree insists on goading Ethan as much as possible about their history and Ethan can’t help but be jealous. He knows Crabtree is baiting him and trying to stir him up, but for some reason Ethan can’t stop himself from getting drawn in to Crabtree’s games. Still, Ethan is determined to make this a special holiday for Randy regardless of what it takes.
Randy knows Ethan is out of sorts. He too wants this to be a special holiday and a cozy Christmas with Ethan is worth much more than fun and games. But when Ethan encourages him to be a part of the festivities, Randy jumps in with a special Twelve Days of Randy event at work. Things are going well for the most part, but Ethan and Crabtree are still at odds and Randy doesn’t know quite what to do about it. If things don’t get straightened out soon, their perfect holiday together will be a disaster. It takes some work on Ethan and Randy’s part, and the help of some special friends, to get it all worked out and leave them all with a happy holiday.
So Heidi Cullinan’s story Special Delivery is one of my all time favorite books and I have read it a million times. I am also a huge fan of the series as a whole, so I was thrilled to learn Cullinan has taken two of her formerly free, super short stories set in this world and turned them into longer novellas. Cullinan has also re-released all three of the main series novels, so now these former shorts have a more solid place within the series. In the case of Twelve Days of Randy, the story fits after Double Blind and takes place about a year later. I read the story when it was a short freebie, and I think Cullinan does a great job of expanding the story here.
This story has the guys clearly happily in love. I really love the tenderness that Ethan brings out in Randy. Or perhaps more accurately, the way that Randy feels comfortable showing that tenderness and vulnerability with Ethan because he feels so much love and trust. The only hitch is that Crabtree is stirring things up, provoking Ethan by constantly reminding him about his past with Randy. The reality is that it isn’t really about Randy. Randy and Ethan have a fairly open relationship, they hook up with other people, and Ethan isn’t jealous of any of Randy’s other sexual adventures. But something about Crabtree just makes Ethan nuts and the two get into a power play that is making Ethan miserable. For his part, Randy is caught not knowing quite how to help or whether he should stay out of it.
So the story focuses on how Randy and Ethan can have the Christmas they want, and in particular, how Randy can enjoy some holiday frivolity, without Crabtree’s interference. We can see so clearly how much these guys care about each other and how they value not just their partner, but their partner’s happiness above all else. At times I found all the maneuvering and analysis about the Crabtree situation a little bit much to follow. There is a lot of reflection here as everyone tries to figure out the right moves in this game, and at times I found it a bit complicated to follow everyone’s thoughts. But overall, I really love these guys together and I think the story does a great job showcasing their feelings for one another.
And of course, this is a sexy, fun series, so there is definitely plenty of that too. The guys have some hot times themselves, as well as bringing in a third to play. And no Special Delivery story would be complete without a little Sam and Mitch. As usual, when the four of them are together, there is a lot of sexy fun. But the best part is that you can just tell how much these guys all mean to each other and what a close bond the foursome have.
So I am really excited about this new story and am looking forward to reading the second new novella, Hooch and Cake, shortly. I loved the chance to revisit with these guys, and am really happy to see how nicely the expanded story helps round out the series. So if you are a Special Delivery fan, definitely check this out. And if you haven’t started with the series, I can highly recommend Special Delivery (or at the very least, start with Randy and Ethan’s story in Double Blind).