Rating: 4 stars
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Reed has his reasons for hating Christmas and they’re no one’s business but his. However, as the office fills up with signs of the impending holiday and his own personal cubicle is the victim of some overzealous secret Santa, Reed finds himself loathing the time of year even more. It will take a miracle to change his mind and maybe that’s what his colleague, Troy, has up his sleeve. All Reed knows is that since hanging out with Troy, the holiday has brightened just a little bit and that’s all due to the lovely man who thrives on Christmas and is admittedly trying to bring a bit of joy to the whole season just for Reed.
Bite Me, Santa is a snark-filled, slow thaw of a romance filled with one very serious and understandable scrooge, Reed, and a guy who could be a closeted elf, Troy. Author Brittany Cournoyer writes a sweet story that is filled with a little bit of holiday magic and a big dose of hurt/comfort, featuring two guys who could not be more different. Poor Reed—he has every right to despise the idea of Christmas and the story builds around the mystery of exactly what happened to him to make him feel like that. I will say I was worried the author might fail to deliver the traumatic event with enough severity to make Reed’s utter loathing of the holiday realistic—after all the entire novella built toward that reveal. My fears were unfounded, for once you read about Reed’s past, you will understand why he feels as he does and find it heartbreaking as well.
I enjoyed how positive and genuine Troy was, especially as he tempered his joy around Reed and was so responsive to the fact that Reed carried a secret that overshadowed the holiday for him. Troy could have come off as insensitive in his happy pursuit of trying to get Reed to enjoy the Christmas season, but instead he realistically felt like just a guy who was smitten with a work colleague and sensed his sadness. Troy just wanted to see Reed happy and that was really lovely.
I think the only element that kept me from giving this story both thumbs up was the ending. It felt really rushed in some way and I wish the author had chosen to take just a bit more time in bringing these two men together, instead of the whirlwind happy ever after that was offered. I felt we went from a nicely paced story to haphazardly tacking on an epilogue type of finale to ensure the reader knew all was well. However, I like this author’s style of writing and I definitely will pursue a full-length novel by her in order to really get a feel of what she can produce. Even though this novella seemed rushed, I think Cournoyer is a good storyteller and that alone will make me look for more of her work.