Yani left London after a bad break up and all of his energy now goes to his gyro stall at the food market. He’s determined to get by on one-night stands, but Yani is not built for that. Especially, when he sees Gavin. Gavin, however, has about as little time for a relationship as Yani. After leaving the military after being severely injured, Gavin now manages a homeless shelter. He’s alone a lot and that used to suit him just fine, but now, he’s getting restless. But the spark between him and Yani is too hot to ignore. Yani and Gavin just fit together, but Yani isn’t sure he has what it takes to let Gavin in and life around the holidays is busier than either of them can manage. Falling seems to be easy; taking the next steps will be a lot harder for both men.
I generally do not read holiday stories; it’s just not my thing, but a Garrett Leigh book is impossible to pass up, so holiday or not, I was in.
Yani and Gavin are both closed off to the possibility of a relationship for different reasons. Yani just got out of a bad breakup and his OCD wins some days and Gavin is still recovering from military injuries and his PTSD can send his mood in different directions. Right from the start, I always love the dialogue and banter Leigh puts into her characters. These are just everyday guys just trying to get by, make a living, and maybe find something better.
Yani and Gavin both have their inner battles they are fighting, but they are both aware of this and don’t jump into something they aren’t ready to handle. Gavin is willing to admit a little faster that he has fallen hard for Yani, and Yani knows how he feels about Gavin, but he’s also still trying to get over his past breakup and he’s not interested in opening himself up for potential hurt again.
This is a shorter book and, while the heat and attraction are there, it takes the guys a longer time to accept their feelings. While I appreciated getting to know the backstories of both men, there wasn’t enough time for both the past and the present and I would have preferred more balance for the present relationship building. Both characters can be seen briefly in other series by Leigh, and some of Gavin military friends are present, but this book can be read on its own. The book also focuses on the mental health issues that plague both men, but there wasn’t enough time here to devote to everything. There is a longer buildup and then the ending was a little rushed for me and the pacing felt uneven and there are a few areas that were started, but were then left unresolved. The holidays don’t play a large part here, but Christmas does overlap the time frame, allowing the men to spend time together.
I have liked, if not loved, almost everything I have read from this author and, while this didn’t come together to be my absolute favorite, if you are a Garrett Leigh fan, this newest offering might be one for you this holiday season.