Nathan Nicholls’ latest book has been a challenge to write from the start and he has spent the last eight months working to meet his deadline. It meant he neglected his friends and barely left the house, but it is finally done. However, when his publisher rejects the book, Nathan feels at a loss. Since he’s already headed to the U.S. to spend Christmas with his dad, Nathan decides to spend time beforehand in a resort hotel where he can get a change of scenery and hopefully figure out how to fix the book for publication.
When Nathan finally takes a break from writing, he spots a gorgeous man that he can’t take his eyes off of. But Nathan is surprised when CJ comes over and introduces himself. Nathan has been pretty much a recluse while working on his book and it’s been a while since he has dated or even had a hookup. He is not usually a one-night stand guy, but CJ is so sexy and full of life, Nathan decides to go for it. After all, he is leaving the next day anyway.
Unfortunately, an avalanche strikes during the night and when the men wake up the next day, the roads are all blocked. Suddenly, Nathan has the awkward situation of being stuck with his one-night stand for days on end. It doesn’t help that he finds CJ incredibly appealing and Nathan has no real idea how to act around him. Fortunately, CJ quickly puts Nathan at ease and the two not only continue their hot hookups, they also spend time enjoying each other’s company during the day at the resort. Nathan is shocked to find himself truly falling for CJ, and he would love the chance for things to turn into something more. But he has no idea if CJ is looking for anything serious and, as soon as the roads clear, Nathan is meant to be off to his father’s house for the holiday. Now that Nathan has finally opened himself up to love, he has to figure out if there is a way to turn their “five-night stand” into something lasting.
Five Night Stand is part of the multi-author Snowed Inn collection. The books are all designed as standalones set in the same inn where the guests are trapped during an avalanche. This story definitely works as on its own, as while the men are staying at the inn, the focus is almost exclusively on the two of them alone with very little interaction with any other characters. We really get a chance to hone in on Nathan and CJ and follow along with their developing relationship. It starts off with what they both assume is a one-night stand. They are acting on attraction and barely know one another and so it is all about the heat between them. Then, in the light of day, they learn they are trapped at the resort. The story is told all from Nathan’s POV, so we feel his anxiety and sense of awkwardness as he figures out how to navigate things with CJ. Nathan has been reserved for so long and closeted away writing, he isn’t quite sure how to handle this type of relationship. But CJ is endlessly sunny and upbeat and he really helps put Nathan at ease. I enjoyed the dynamic between them and the way they supported each other, even over the short time they spend at the inn. CJ brings such a sense of fun and adventure that Nathan was missing, and Nathan is enthusiastic and supportive about CJ’s photography in a way many others in his life are not.
The story is really focused on their days together at the inn, but I do feel like we get a nice sense of each man in that time. The book takes place over only five days, so the relationship development is quick, but I think it works and it ties in nicely back to the book Nathan is writing. I wish we had a bit more information on why CJ is at the inn, however. He is a nature photographer who lives in England and is staying at the inn, but I wasn’t clear if it was vacation or work (and why this random resort in the middle of nowhere). So just a touch more development there might have been nice. But overall, I think this one comes together well.
I am a fan of snowed in stories and I love the idea of this collection giving us perspectives of different guests trapped by the avalanche. If you enjoy this trope or are looking for a light holiday read, this is worth considering.