In the week leading up to Christmas, Christmas Cove is alight with last minute preparations. After all, Santa’s big flight is in just seven days, and it’s all hands on deck to make sure the presents are ready. But Santa is worried about one of the reindeer, Dash. Dash seems off, so Santa makes sure Aubron knows to keep an extra close eye on Dash. Aubron is the reindeers’ primary caretaker, and Dash is his favorite reindeer, so he takes the warning to heart. At first, it doesn’t seem like anything is wrong. Until Dash disappears, and in his place is a man.
Aubron is freaking out and doesn’t believe the man when he says he is Dash. At least, not until he sees the man shift before his eyes. Aubron sneaks Dash out of the barn and into his cottage, but neither man knows what’s going on. Dash doesn’t know how he shifted to a man, and he doesn’t know how to control his shift.
As the days count down to Christmas, the two men keep the transformation a secret. Dash doesn’t know how anyone will react, and Aubron is more than worried about ruining Christmas and Santa’s flight. While they try to figure it out, Aubron and Dash grow even closer and their attraction gets deeper. Taking their affection to the next level is inevitable. But when they figure out that Dash’s shift is somehow related to Aubron, Aubron decides to stay away so that Christmas isn’t ruined. Dash is needed in reindeer form in order to fly with the others, except being apart is not working either. A story about one of the first reindeer is the key to their mystery, but they have to figure things out quickly if they hope to save Christmas.
I’m a sucker for Christmas and for shifters, so I was quick to pick this one up. It’s short and sweet, and a nice story about fated mates changing the course of people’s lives. I liked the twist of an animal becoming human as well. While not without its issues, this was a fun read.
The story is told in alternating first person POV, and that really helped the book along. Aubron gets slightly more page time, but that also fits with the narrative. He’s single and a bit mopey, considering last Christmas was a personal disaster. And he thinks that this Christmas is shaping up to be lonely and sad as well. But he loves taking care of the reindeer who pull Santa’s sleigh, especially Dash, his favorite boy. The panic he feels at Dash not being well, and especially when thing take a turn, is visceral. And I like how Aubron jumps into problem solving mode once he realizes what’s going on. He also is very courteous about taking Dash’s feelings and wants into account.
The attraction between them is palpable, and their relationship progresses well once Dash is in human form. I liked their romance, though there needs to be some suspension of disbelief in this regard. Up until his first shift, Dash was wholly a reindeer. There is the fated mates pull and connection to fall back on, which makes it easier to roll with it. However, I did have a slight issue with how well Dash adapted to being human. While not explicitly addressed, it’s easy to rationalize that he spent a lot of time around humans up until his shift, and therefore hand no problems with language or most everything else. But other than Aubron showing Dash how to get water from a faucet or how the TV worked, it was a little too easy for Dash to step into the role of a man. When it came to sex, he knew exactly what to do, and I found I just had to go with it. So I would have liked to see a little more development in that area.
But overall, this is a cute, sweet story without a lot of drama. There are a few secrets and two men figuring out what their lives look like now, while also trying to figure out how to help Dash control his shift so he can be part of the flight. If you’re looking for a quick read full of holiday feels, this one might be for you.