It should be the happiest time of the year, but Logan is jobless with no prospects and about to be homeless since he can’t pay his rent. His wife passed away six months ago and he is now a single father to a stepson who seems to hate him. Logan can’t even imagine how he is going to make a Christmas for Connor, and he is already leaning on his sister more than he would like.
Seth grew up in a hyper religious family who threw him out when they learned he is gay. After a break up with his boyfriend, Seth is alone and lonely. He still has too much of his religious upbringing to be comfortable with casual sex, and part of him is still punishing himself for his attraction to men.
When Seth is up for a promotion, he is upset to learn the new head boss is all about family first, and she always promotes employees who are married with kids over those who are single. When his co-worker, Jenna, impulsively tells Seth’s boss that her brother, Logan, is Seth’s partner, he is shocked. But when he learns that Logan needs a place to stay and is willing to play along with the ruse for a couple of weeks, Seth reluctantly agrees to pretend they are boyfriends.
Having Logan in his home feels right to Seth in ways he never imagined. Seth feels attraction to Logan right away, but also a sense of comfort and companionship. For his part, Logan has gotten off with men before, but never thought he’d be interested in a guy for more than a hook up. But being with Seth starts to make Logan realize he could really want more. The more the men pretend that they are partners, the more both guys realize that there could be real feelings growing between them. Now they just have to have the strength to share their feelings and take a leap, and Seth and Logan could find themselves with a new love for the holidays.
I really enjoyed this holiday story from Keira Andrews. The Christmas Deal is sexy and romantic with a lot of nice holiday feelings. I’ll admit, this one is a bit of a high hurdle in terms of set up. You really just need to be able to go with it for this story to work for you. We have a boss who overtly discriminates against single employees. And not that I don’t believe this could happen, but it makes it really hard to like her later in the story when she is supposed to be kind and caring. Seth’s boss also invites herself to his house for a home-cooked dinner thirty seconds after meeting him. Then, rather than tell her that his house has a half unfinished kitchen (which hasn’t been finished for reasons never really clear), he instead moves Logan in to complete the kitchen renovation in a week. The boss also insists that all employees and their families come to a corporate holiday retreat with a week’s notice and three days before Christmas, as if none of them have holiday plans (so much for family friendly). So yeah, like I said, a high hurdle for this set up that you just have to go with, but I’ll tell you, I could go with it about 80% (which for me is a LOT). I just love fake relationships stories, but they are pretty much guaranteed to be kind of crazy, and when you add holiday hijinks on top of that, this story is a little nuts in all the good ways. The characters refer to their adventure as a “caper” and that perfectly encapsulates the sense of fun to the story.
I think what really sells this book for me is the relationship between Logan and Seth. Andrews does a great job really developing both of these characters and making them so engaging and sympathetic, they are a perfect fit. Logan has had a rough time of it, getting seriously injured in an accident and being unfairly blamed, losing his job as a result and now unable to find work. He feels frustrated and useless and I could really understand his anxiety as one thing after another hits him. He married his wife way too fast and things were ending between him when she died. But now he has Connor, and though he cares about him, Logan isn’t prepared to suddenly be a father to a surly teen who seems to hate him. For his part, Seth grew up in an ultra religious family and still is dealing with the emotional scars from their rejection. He has an uneasy relationship with sex, feeling like it’s only ok when in a committed relationship. I loved watching these guys grow from awkward strangers, to friends, to lovers. I enjoyed the way Logan helped Seth feel comfortable and confident with being a sexual person, and how he supported him when his family issues bubbled over. I also liked Logan’s progression from “I’m a straight guy who just likes to get off with men” to someone who understands and accepts his bisexuality.
This is a holiday story, and so to top off the relationship side of things, we also have a lot of holiday feels. A lot of that centers around the family the men are building with Connor. I liked the way that Seth helps Logan and Connor find their way to one another and sort of smooths the path as the two butt heads. I am not always a huge fan of kids in my stories, but the Connor storyline works really well, adding emotion but not being treacly. And the epilogue here gave me total heart eyes. So if you are looking for a fun, sexy, and warm holiday story, and particularly if you are a fan of the fake boyfriend trope, this one is definitely worth checking out.