Rating: 4.25 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

 

Ivyrson hates Christmas due to plenty of bad memories, but that doesn’t stop him from applying to a reality show based around the holiday. Ivy wants to win the show for the large monetary prize, as well as the home remodel. Since Ivy is without a significant other, his best friend agrees to step in as his other half. But when an accident takes Trevor out of commission, Trevor’s younger brother, Emory, steps up to the plate. Fake dating Emory shouldn’t be a problem right?

Emory has always had a little crush on Ivy, but he wants to help the man more than anything. Getting to play house is just a bonus. The two men get along well, so it shouldn’t be that big of a deal. But as the weeks go on, the challenges for the game ramp up, and the more time they spend together, the more the feelings between them grow.

Falling in love is easy. But Emory doesn’t want to change the rules they agreed to, and he knows Ivy isn’t up for a relationship. Ivy doesn’t know how to love anyone else, and he doesn’t want to hurt Emory. But there’s no denying the real feelings between them, and if they can’t be truthful with one another, then they’ll lose each other when the show is over. With a little Christmas magic in the air, it might just be enough for them to find their happily ever after.

This book has some of my favorite tropes, so I was quick to pick it up. It does require a bit of suspension of disbelief in order for the plot to work. The whole reality show angle didn’t always work for me, especially with some of the changes and challenges the show put forth. But I really enjoyed the two MCs and watching them fall in love.

The chemistry between Ivy and Emory sparks from the start. Emory has a bit of a crush on his older brother’s best friend, and has for years, but I really got the feeling that it was minor and not the driving force behind Emory’s motivations. Ivy, for his part, privately acknowledges that he’s always found some guys attractive, even though he’s never acted on it. The way they slowly got to know each other better, and the way they fell in love, felt real and relatable. I enjoyed their romance very much.

As for the secondary reality show plotline, it felt a little farcical to me and worked against the story a bit in my opinion. As I said, it took a leap to go with it, especially with the way it was set up and when they added spicy elements to the game. I would have liked to see the reality show feel a little more real, but I just went with it, especially considering it was a streaming service and not traditional cable. My other small quibble was Ivy’s hang up with admitting to being in love. While he definitely had a bad experience with his father, and that definitely tainted his outlook, it felt a bit contrived after a point. I would have liked to see him come to his revelation earlier so that the confession and ending didn’t feel as rushed.

All in all, this story holds a hint of Christmas magic, possibly literally, and two characters who carry the story in a nice way. If you’re looking for a fun read, consider adding this one to your holiday reading.