Story Rating: 4.5 stars
Audio Rating: 4.5 stars

Narrator: Hamish Long
Length: 5 hours, 33 minutes

Audiobook Buy Links: Amazon/Audible | iBooks
Book Buy Links: Amazon | iBooks

The perfect Christmas recipe: Two men who hate each other, one small town. Add in snow, a dog, and mistletoe; add in flirting, teasing, and snark. Put them in one bed, sprinkle with spankings, and see what happens!

Patrick has been Kyle’s mentor at work, and Patrick’s never been quite so annoyed with one person. Kyle will rearrange his desk, smile and simper and flirt, and spends most of his day — when he’s not working — on Grindr or some other dating app. In short, as pretty as he is, Kyle is absolutely not Patrick’s type!

Kyle is young, fun, and most certainly not looking for The One. He’s not interested in a relationship, thank you very much, just someone to talk to, someone to snog, someone to fuck, and someone to say goodbye to. And while he can admit Patrick is handsome, in a sort of severe, repressed way, he can’t stand the man. Being forced to spend Christmas with him is almost, but not quite, the worst thing that could have happened.

Their unlikely benefactor is a charming old woman who needs a bit of help around the house and has a dog in dire need of long walks. Long walks in the snow, where Patrick and Kyle can appreciate nature, stretch their legs, and indulge in a bit of festive fun with a snowball fight that leads to a spanking … that leads to so much more.

Patrick has just entered his thirties and already feels old. His fiance, the man he loved and cherished, lied to him and cheated on him. While Patrick was planning their wedding, his ex was hooking up on Grindr with who knows how many people. It broke him and left him unwilling to so much as look at another person for over a year. Even now, he’s not certain he’s ready to do more than wistfully sigh and maybe sneak a look at someone who might be willing to smile back at him.

While stranded with Kyle of all people, Patrick finds himself relaxing. Kyle’s flirting is just … flirting. Just the enforced proximity, the pretty snow, or the holiday season, but Patrick finds himself not entirely unwilling to consider something, especially when Kyle seems to share an interest in a kink Patrick didn’t know, himself, he had. Not … not really. He’s gotten off to spanking porn, before, but he’s never tried it with a partner, never actually indulged. But Kyle’s willing, and well, so is Patrick.

Kyle’s first love, first boyfriend, and one of his first lovers cheated on him. It crushed him, but more than that it made him fucking angry. He’s now sworn off — at the ripe old age of 23 — any relationship lasting longer than a one night stand. He wants to enjoy himself, and to protect himself. Kyle will never again be vulnerable enough to let another person hurt him, shame him, or make him feel insecure about himself again. Having a bit of fun with Patrick is a time waster, especially with wifi down and nowhere to go in town. And for some reason, the spanking — the bite of humiliation, the squirmy feeling of having been naughty and being punished for it — sets him off like a firework.

I reviewed this book back in 2018 and loved it. So I was curious to see if the story was everything I remembered it being. And it delivered in spades. This is an absolute treat of a story, filled with the requisite angst and misunderstandings handled with delicacy and understanding. However, as much as I love the story and the characters, the audio version isn’t quite as perfect.

Hamish Long has an absolutely effortless delivery. Kyle and Patrick’s voices are distinct and filled with emotion and personality. However, through no fault of the narrator, the quality of my copy of the audiobook was scratchy and staticky in parts. Within the worst parts, words were being dropped. I am not sure if this problem was isolated to my copy or a larger issue. The Audible sample seems fine, however I wanted to mention it. My audio rating is based on Long’s performance without regard to the technical issues.

I truly love this book, and I think the narrator did an amazing job with this adorable sugar cookie of a holiday book.

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