interlude coverRating: 4 stars
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Length: Novel

 

Interlude is an anthology of stories featuring Sebastian Snow and Calvin Winter of C.S. Poe’s Snow and Winter series. The final book in the series, The Mystery of the Bones, came out last year and this collection brings us 11 stories that take place over the course of the series, as well as after the final book. The stories range from short scenes like The Good in the World, where a weary Calvin looks upon a sleeping Sebastian with fondness, to longer works that read more like short stories. According to the author, while some of these titles were previously available for free to readers, they have all been re-written, expanded, and edited for the collection.

This is obviously a book meant for those familiar with the Snow and Winter series, as it assumes both a knowledge of and a fondness for these characters. I think you could probably follow along here if you have only read one of the main books, but there are some small spoilers here for the other stories and the progression of Calvin and Sebastian’s relationship. While most of the stories are told from Sebastian’s POV, like the series, there are some told from Calvin’s view, which was a nice way to get into his head a little more. Rather than try to review each of the stories, I thought I’d share some highlights.

In Lunch Date, we see Calvin meet Sebastian at the Emporium, bringing lunch and looking for a little afternoon delight. The story takes place early in their relationship, after the events of The Mystery of Nevermore, so things are still pretty new for the guys. I found the story a nice mix of sexy and playful, particularly as Max keeps interrupting them as they are trying to get it on in the back room. It was also fun to see how far these guys have come by getting a look back at early in their relationship when they were still getting to know one another and figure out what the future might hold for them.

Credit Scores and Cohabitation takes place after The Mystery of the Curiosities and features Sebastian and Calvin apartment hunting. We are in Sebastian’s POV as he is exasperated trying to find them an apartment and nothing is working for them. Of course, Calvin’s list of “must haves” is a lot shorter than Sebastian’s, but they are still struggling. Here we see them stumble upon the perfect apartment that is exactly right for both of them. I enjoyed this one because we get some of Sebastian’s trademark prickliness and frustration, but also because we get to see the apartment hunting we hear about in the main series, but don’t witness. So I enjoyed getting that little peek into how they ended up with the apartment and what we missed in the gap between books.

In The Ghost of Durango, Calvin and Sebastian go on vacation together. Sebastian is wary because it’s his first vacation and first trip on a plane. Calvin has planned it all so Sebastian has no idea what to expect. But he shouldn’t have worried because Calvin knows exactly what Sebastian likes and plans a fabulous trip that completely speaks to all of the things Sebastian loves. Of course, a mysterious ghost does get in the way of their good time… This story takes place before The Mystery of the Moving Image, so things are pretty settled for the guys at this point. This is the one of the few entries that is long enough to feel like a complete short story on its own, versus a scene or “slice of life” for the men. There is a tiny bit of mystery and adventure here, plus a nice chance to see Calvin and Sebastian as they are more serious in their relationship and moving forward together.

Roger, Houston is another fun one where the men are headed to Los Angelos for their honeymoon when they get stuck in the Dallas/Fort Worth airport. They end up renting a “pod” room at the airport without realizing exactly how teeny they are and how Calvin’s big body is not going to have an easy time of it. I enjoyed that the story combines some absurdity and a bit of exasperation, but ends up highlighting just how in love these guys are with one another.

In some cases, I found the stories ended a little too abruptly for me and I felt like they needed a little more rounding out at the end. Also, how you feel about cross overs might affect your feelings on St. Louis What Now?, a story where organizers of the Queer Expectations gay romance convention show up and try to get Sebastian to attend. If you have read Gregory Ashe’s Indirection, that the is the convention at the center of his story (and Calvin and Sebastian make an unnamed, blink and you miss it cameo in that book).

Overall, I found this collection a lot of fun. I really like this series and these characters, and I enjoyed the chance to visit with them again, as well as to get to know them a little bit more.

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