Rating: 4 stars
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When Dante and Liam meet in a club, their hot hookup is exactly what they both need. For Liam, it is an escape from his his overbearing father. For Dante, it is a chance at fun with a gorgeous young man. And for both of them, it is glimpse at exploring their interest in kink with someone perfectly compatible, even if they only get minutes together before Liam’s bodyguards whisk him away.
Neither man expects to see one another again so soon, but Liam’s father has hired Dante’s security company to protect Liam 24/7. He has a stalker who has become increasingly dangerous and Liam’s dad wants better security. Not because he actually loves or cares about Liam, but because Liam is a musical prodigy and a commodity to be protected. Dante’s initial instinct is to refuse the job, as he knows things are complicated given their attraction to one another. But Dante can’t help but worry about Liam and wants to keep him safe, even if that means they have to take their relationship to a professional level only.
When the men travel to Liam’s family home outside the city to get his cello for an upcoming concert, they end up snowed in for days. The close proximity and intense connection the men feel becomes too much for them and it doesn’t take long before they are acting on their feelings. It turns out that that night together wasn’t just a fluke; these men are perfectly compatible in their desires. Liam has never had a chance experience the Daddy/boy dynamic he longs for, nor the desire for pain and a bit of humiliation. And Dante has never found anyone who fits his needs so well, even his late husband.
The men spend days together exploring their dynamic and they are a perfect fit. They also find themselves having a magical Christmas together, despite being snowed in with meager supplies. Liam and Dante both have found someone who is perfect for them, and they are beginning to think about what things could be between them long term. But Liam’s stalker is still out there, and he is determined to make Liam his — whatever it takes.
Shades of Winter is a sweet and sexy holiday story about two men finally finding just what they need in each other. Lindsey sets things up well here, giving us a good sense of both Dante and Liam, what they are missing, and what they want. Their initial meeting is steamy and gives both men a taste of what they have long been needing, but it seems fleeting. And of course, when they meet again, there is this roadblock here as Dante is now hired to protect Liam. That conflict gets in the way for a little while, until Dante basically decides he is going to move forward with Liam regardless, certain they can wrap up the stalker case fast enough that it won’t really be an issue. Not necessarily the most professional, but it does open things up to allow these guys a chance to really explore all their desires and realize how perfectly they fit together. This is a Daddy/boy dynamic, but they also share some other kink, including a desire on Liam’s part for some light pain and humiliation play. The men are very sexy together and there is a lovely sense of two people finding exactly what they want in one another. After the initial hurdle, the relationship develops very easily and these guys are all in together very quickly, which is in keeping with the tone of the story. I really enjoyed Dante and Liam together and felt like they are such a great fit and a sexy pair.
The stalker storyline is mostly on the back burner for much of the book. We learn about the problem early on, but once the men leave the city, it becomes mostly a non-issue. They are in a remote area and neither seems concerned about being found (despite the fact that they are in one of Liam’s family homes), so this part of the plot is mostly turned off for much of the book. It returns again for the climax at the end of the story and we get some excitement, though I couldn’t help but wonder how it doesn’t occur to Dante that Liam may not be safe…Much of the investigation into tracking down the stalker is done by Dante’s business partner off page, and we get a few updates here and there, but honestly, I am not really sure this part of the plot added any real value to the story. It is a reason to get Dante and Liam alone together, but beyond that, we never really get any sense of real danger until the very end and it is not very well incorporated into the larger story.
That said, this book does a great job at its main focus in exploring the relationship between Liam and Dante. I really enjoyed them together and their connection develops well, particularly in the snowed in, holiday story set up. There is a nice, warm, happy feeling that comes through as we watch these men find just what they want in each other. So if you are in the mood for a little kink in your Christmas, check this story out.