Dylan meets super-sexy, slightly older, Gareth at the worst possible moment: when he’s incapacitated by tearing his Achilles tendon. Needing to be non-weightbearing for weeks to recover, Dylan gets permission to work remotely. So, Dylan’s best friend, Josh, invites him to Cornwall to get a change of scenery. Josh is helping his Uncle Gray refurbish his newly acquired, lovely coastal cottage and they can keep each other company while Gray works. It seems ideal until Dylan arrives at the cottage and learns “Gray” was Josh’s childhood nickname for “Gareth.”
Yep. The sexy man Dylan recently met happens to be Josh’s uncle. Gareth was a “surprise” baby of the family and, as such, Josh and Gareth have always had a more “mates” relationship than uncle/nephew. Gareth spent a fair amount of time in London, training for his veterinary license, and now he’s settling in Cornwall, taking over the vet practice of his ex-fiance’s father. Gareth is rather stunned when Josh’s friend happens to be the sexy bloke who’d tried chatting him up right before his injury. It’s tight quarters in the cottage, and Josh makes it plain he’s not down to be a bystander in some sexy shenanigans between his uncle and his good friend, even if he grudgingly agrees they are well-suited.
Other folks find Dylan and Gareth to be a perfect match, including Gareth’s neighbor, Kitty, for one. And the previous owner of the cottage, Agatha, who happens to be deceased. She’d been a famous matchmaker in life, and her ghost sometimes appears walking the coast on Christmas Eve at midnight as a sign to courting couples of her blessing. In the cottage, however, she’s a bit more “hands-on”–locking doors and getting ornery to create compromising situations through which Dylan and Gareth connect, even if Josh disapproves initially.
This is a sweet and tender holiday romance, with definite paranormal elements. Dylan and Gareth regularly interact with their resident spirit while falling for one another. Gareth is in a bind, however, because he’s put down his roots in Cornwall and he doesn’t want to give his heart to another man who won’t stick around, like his ex-fiance. Dylan, however, can’t really imagine a life without Gareth, not after experiencing such strong connections with him. Though he is afraid to leave his widowed father alone back in Bristol, both Dylan and his dad seem ready for some big life changes.
The ghost stuff was certainly entertaining, and I didn’t feel it overpowered the love story, since it forced the MCs to connect. Dylan and Gareth’s initial attraction may have been lessened if Kitty and Agatha hadn’t been so overt in their support. I loved how Josh got on board… and helped himself in the process. The story links us back with a couple from a previous Christmas romance, A No-Strings Noel, from whom Dylan gets some sage advice. It’s a happily ever after, in all the right ways, and includes some sweet animal moments as well. If you like holiday stories, fussy neighbors, and meddling spirits, this one will warm the cockles of your heart.