Benji Holiday is totally over Valentine’s Day. He is sick of trying to be something he is not and turning himself into what his partners seem to want. So Benji takes his sister up on an offer to join her and some friends at a house party for an anti-Valentine’s Day weekend celebration. When Benji arrives, however, he is the only one there aside from the host, William O’Dare. Apparently the lake house lost power and so everyone was supposed to hold off arriving for another day, but Benji didn’t get word. Although William offers to let Benji stay since he already made the drive, things are definitely awkward. William seems so stiff and uncomfortable, it makes Benji feel uncomfortable as well.
William has spent years building a successful business as a night club owner and hasn’t had time for friends or relationships. But as he reflects on what he has achieved, William has realized he is lonely and wants a partner. His best friend suggested he make a list of all the qualities he may want in the person he dates, and none of them seem to fit the outgoing and full of life Benji. But that doesn’t stop William from lusting after Benji, and it is throwing him all out of sorts. However, Benji is clearly picking up on the chemistry between them as well, and he suggests that he and William make the most out of their time alone without power. They will be fake Valentines for the weekend, enjoying some secret fun while they are together, with no pressure for more.
Things quickly heat up between William and Benji as they enjoy their time alone together. Benji has brought a vast array of sex toys and the guys have a lot of fun trying them out. Benji also takes a risk and shares his fondness for dressing in lingerie with William. Lingerie makes Benji feel sexy and confident, but it is something he has been afraid to share with his partners. Yet William is completely hot for Benji in lace and it just intensifies the sexual chemistry between them. The guys also get a chance to get to know one another better as they spend the weekend together. While they keep their temporary relationship a secret when the others arrive, they still have a chance to further their connection and enjoy more private time together.
As the weekend draws to a close, William would love to continue things with Benji. But Benji is uncertain if he is really the right guy for the wealthy, polished William. He is committed to being himself, and he wonders if the real him will be enough. The men are so close to turning their weekend romance into something more, but Benji has to be willing to take a chance on love.
Let me tell you, as soon as I saw this cover when Erin McLellan came for a cover reveal here, I wanted to read this book. Not only is the cover gorgeous, but it totally captures the playful and sexy tone of the story. Plus, I love a cross dressing kink, so I was all in, and I was not disappointed. This story is actually the second book in McLellan’s So Over the Holidays series, the first book being Stocking Stuffers , a M/F romance featuring Benji’s sister, Sasha (you can also check out McLellan’s guest post about that book). I haven’t read that first story and had no problem jumping in here, though Sasha and Perry do appear in this book as well. But story-wise, this one stands alone just fine.
First off, let’s be clear. There is a whole lot of sex in this story. I’m going to go with “sex romp” to describe it. The guys spend a lot of time in bed sexing it up, including playing with toys and enjoying Benji’s sexy lingerie. So expect a lot of heat and intensity, but with a nice, playful side.
What I think makes this story work so well, however, is that there is more to it than just the heat. We have William, a man who is successful but lonely, and who is finally at the point where he wants to find love. There are some points here where William really has to reflect on the person he has become (and the friend he has been). In Benji’s case, he is a people pleaser and has spent far too long contorting himself into whatever he thinks his partners want. Part of that is hiding his interest in lingerie, but it is also bigger than that. William is the first person Benji shares his cross dressing with, and William’s complete acceptance (and downright enthusiasm) gives Benji the confidence he has been needing to be himself. It is really nice to see how Benji comes into his own as he realizes that he can be open with who he is and William eagerly accepts him. These guys are so sweet and sexy together. William is big on sweet endearments and you can just feel how they light Benji up (major praise kink here). I enjoyed them together quite a lot.
The book takes place mostly over the one weekend, with an epilogue that takes us a year later. I would have enjoyed seeing a little more time of things being established between them before we jumped so far ahead. It is clear the guys have strong feelings for one another even after a few days, but it would have been nice to see more of them falling for each other before we jumped to the HEA. I also felt like we missed some of William’s backstory. We do learn William came from a poorer background, but we don’t get much detail on him in comparison with Benji.
Overall, I really enjoyed this fun, sexy, Valentine’s Day story. It is super hot, particularly if you are into toys/lingerie in your reading. And the guys have a sweet tenderness that is a nice match for the heat. So if you want some holiday fun, definitely check this one out.
P.S. I am guessing the next book will feature the third Holiday sibling, Rosie, but no details yet on her love interest.