Title: All Snug
Author: B.G. Thomas
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Length: Novella (75 PDF pages)
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars
A guest review by Lily
A sweet, fun story about two men wanting to buy the same present for their boyfriend. A friendly competition ensues with a lot more than an antique bed at stakes at the end.
This title is part of the 2010 Advent Calendar: Naughty or Nice
Elliot and Shawn each want to buy the same one-of-a-kind item for Christmas—a very old and expensive antique bed—as a gift for their lovers. But when they both arrive at the store at the same moment, the proprietor tells them to figure out between themselves who gets the bed. Elliot and Shawn decide to hold a contest: winner buys bed.
And so the competitions begin, from selling charity tickets to cleaning out stables, and interpersonal tension and burgeoning attraction mount as the days until Christmas pass. But who deserves the gift more: Elliot, who can afford the expensive gift for his casual sex partner, or Shawn, who can barely cover rent, and the mysterious man he’s head-over-heels for?
Elliot and Shawn first meet when they arrive at the same time to buy a special Christmas present. Elliot is a successful businessman with money to spare who wants to surprise his sexy boyfriend with the antique bed he covets while Shawn, who is struggling to make ends meet, is also determined to buy the bed for his lover. When the shopkeeper says they have to figure out between them who’s going to buy the bed they decide to turn it into a competition and may the best man, and his boyfriend, win.
This is the first story I’ve read by B.G. Thomas and for the most part it was an easy, entertaining read. The storyline is reminiscent of one of my favorite holiday stories,”Gift of the Magi”, which is what first drew me to reading it. All Snug is told through Elliot’s point of view so he is the better developed character but enough insight was given into Shawn, through Elliot’s thoughts and impressions of him, that both men come across as likable and engaging. They are very different in terms of life experience and careers but they “fit” together well.
The competitions between the men were fun and entertaining to read and I liked that despite it being a contest there were no negative feelings involved. It was more of a lighthearted adventure as they look to divest someone of their girdle, sell some tickets and do a scavenger hunt of sorts based on the Labors of Heracles.
Even with the predictability of the storyline, it’s quite easy to figure out how the story will go from the very beginning, I was really enjoying it until the end. At this point one of my pet peeves occurred, and while it may not bother everyone, it did take away some of my enjoyment. Elliot and Shawn know each other just a handful of days so there is a bit of insta-love in the book but that really wasn’t the problem for me. What bothered me was that despite each being in a relationship with someone else for most of the story when they first have sex they do not use a condom, in fact it’s not mentioned at all. I actually went back and reread a few pages thinking I’d missed it somehow but no, it just was never talked about at all. This felt really wrong and out of character for both men.
Despite that I did enjoy the story. The writing is solid, the characters engaging and the sex scene, aside from the lack of condom use, was well written and hot. I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.