Rating: 4.25 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Henry is a 26-year old who’s just discovered his snooty boyfriend having sex with his next-door neighbor. So, it’s a month before Christmas and Henry is suddenly single again. Kyle had planned a ski vacation for them, even knowing that Henry is deathly afraid of heights. And, while Henry isn’t going to do that, he’s already booked time away from work, so he accepts the help of his dear sister, Ella, whose friend gets Henry a bargain villa at a family vacation park—one sure to be all decked out for Christmas. Henry’s not too brokenhearted, but he’s a bit forlorn, and totally out of his depth when he gets to the vacation resort. So, he’s genuinely grateful when Dom turns up to offer him some advice and companionship.
Dom is a 32-year old who is pretty sure he won’t find a steady partner anytime soon. He’d planned to marry his last boyfriend, but it fell apart suddenly and he’s trying to recover some semblance of himself. Taking Henry under his wing gives Dom some purpose, beyond licking his wounds, and both men seem to enjoy one another’s company. And, well, there’s no denying the attraction that ignites between them.
This is a fun, pseudo-forced proximity romance. As singletons on a family resort, Dom and Henry find it convenient to hang out and partner up for spa dates, dinners, and athletics, in addition to enjoying the holiday splendor. They agree to having a fling, but they connect so deeply that its hard to walk away at the end of the week. And, well, it’s a busy time for each man in regular life. Henry works in retail, and Dom runs a nursery that sells Christmas trees. Long hours and unclear expectations help separate them more than the hour commute between their towns. They text, but it mellows into a camaraderie more akin to friendship than passion. Each man frets; Henry wonders if Dom is truly interested, while Dom ponders if he’s emotionally ready for another heavy relationship, which is his true heart’s desire. What if Henry isn’t ready for that? Dom’s unwilling to risk his heart again.
It was interesting how a chance encounter brought Henry and Dom into close proximity again. And, well, their unexpected reunion does not encourage a further exploration. Except that Henry goes out on a limb and really shares his heart with Dom, not letting Dom’s reticence hold him at bay. It’s a wake-up call Dom has been needing since his last relationship imploded. He’s been looking for a Forever Guy, and his fears over Henry’s youth blinded him from seeing how very stable and mature Henry truly is, despite the slight age gap. I really loved how they finally had a good, solid conversation and hashed out their insecurities with little emotional upheaval. Daily texts kept their friendship growing during their separation, and once they reconnect, the attraction is fairly raging between them.
So, I would say there’s a bit of angst in the second half while Henry and Dom figure out if they can actually convert their holiday fling into the kind of relationship they are really seeking. That one jolt of reconnection does the trick as far as helping them to decide, and it was lovely to see their relationship ramp up into something with “forever” kind of possibilities. I really enjoyed it, and adored Ella, Henry’s no-nonsense sister who always helps him explore his heart and speak his truth. It’s a sweet and sexy holiday romance for two battered hearts that find an unexpected home.