Title & Buy link: Lone Star
Author: Josh Lanyon
Publisher: Carina Press
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: Contemporary M/M, Holiday
Length: Novella (26k Words)
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
A Guest Review by Feliz
Summary Review: This was a lovely Christmas reunion story, laced with just the perfect little pinch of magic for the proper holiday feeling.
The Blurb: Growing up in rural Texas, Mitchell Evans’s ambition to be a dancer made him a target. Though he found success in New York City, Mitch is at a crossroads, and heads home for the first time in twelve years to figure things out. When what appears to be a reindeer jumps out in front of his car, he drives off the road and into the path of the one man he hoped to avoid.
The last person Texas Ranger Web Eisley expects to see four days before Christmas is his first love. He hasn’t seen Mitch since they quarreled over coming out to their friends and family years ago. Though he’s not in the closet now, Web has worked hard for the respect of his fellow officers, but he still regrets the loss of Mitch in his life. And his bed.
The attraction between them is as strong as ever, and it doesn’t take long for the men to pick up where they left off. But is love enough to keep Mitch in town in the New Year?
The Review: Mitchell Evans achieved everything he set out to on that Christmas Eve twelve years ago when he left his home town Llano, Texas in a hurry after breaking up with his father and the love of his life, Web. Now Mitch is a successful ballet dancer in New York, and he never intended to come back to Llano.
However, life apparently has other plans with him. A few days before Christmas, after a number of heavy blows to his professional as well as his private happiness, Mitch needs to get away from New York as fast and as far as possible. In some kind of rash action, he returns to Llano, telling himself he’ll only be there for a few days. But, whether he likes it or not, there’s unfinished business waiting for him there, the biggest of which is Web, Mitch’s first love, who he runs into first thing before he even arrives.
It’s Mitch who tells the story, but Web’s personality is well brought out, too. The characterizations are flawless; Mitch’s and Web’s personalities match their respective chosen fields, and their reactions match their personalities. Those two complement each other perfectly: Web, more easy and laid-back, his emotions silent but solid to Mitch’s impulsivity, his expressive passion and such a high-strung touchiness I’m tempted to call him drama-prone. And some of the secondary cast are delicious, particularly Web’s family who I’d really love to be a part of.
The story moves along quietly and steadily although it has some outwardly dramatic moments. Mitch and Web realize immediately that there’s still something between them, but they take their time to get reacquainted; and it’s proof of the personal growth both went through during their time apart that they do so. The bigger conflict goes on within Mitch who for most of the story is standing in his own way with his stubborn determination not to admit to what he feels in his heart all along. Well, this wouldn’t be a true Christmas story if he didn’t get around eventually, would it? I liked the fact that Mitch comes to terms with himself almost all on his own, with just a tiny bit of (magical?) prompting.
This is a short story, so of course there were a few loose threads left, and there was a coincidence or three just too fortunate. But all in all this story transported the coming-home-for-Christmas feeling to delicious perfection. All the elements were there, from nostalgia to forgiveness, from family to second chances, from good food to true love, and for rounding it up, this story had just the tiny touch of magic that makes everything possible at Christmas time. It gave me the warm holiday fuzzies and even put me in the mood to finally start my Christmas baking. I finished the book with a smile and a happy sigh and I’d warmly recommend it as a sweet, beautiful Christmas treat.