Author: Missy Welsh
Cover Artist: Deana C. Jamroz
Genre: Contemporary M/M, holiday
Length: 48 PDF pages/14K words
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Review Summary: This book started out as a sad movie but Brian cheered up quite a bit after he met Trent who proved that good things come in three flavours – hot, hotter and hottest.
Brian dropped everything last year when his mother became ill so he could take care of her until the day she died. People he thought were friends didn’t stick with him and he’s somehow become kind of a recluse without meaning to be. Only Mike, his best friend since they were kids, has stuck by him and is now saving him from homelessness after a fire destroys Brian’s apartment building days before Christmas.
Though Mike has to go down South for the holiday, Brian stays in Mike’s apartment with his slightly singed kitten Oreo. Brian’s only goal is to set his affairs back in order before everything shuts down for the holidays and then make it through those holidays in one piece. He’s lost so much—his only real possession is a photo album of his mom that he risked death to save from the fire— and he’s feeling lost and very alone…until Mike, his hot neighbor Trent, and even little Oreo conspire to give Brian the best Christmas possible and a future that looks a lot brighter.
Brian’s two most precious possessions – his mother’s photo album and his cat Oreo – were saved during the fire that destroyed everything else, so he stayed in his friend Mike’s apartment until he could figure out where he was going to live and what he was going to do since he had no job. It was close to Christmas and Mike had to go home to his family in Arkansas so Brian would be left alone during the holidays. Mike’s next door neighbour Trent promised to keep an eye on him and all Brian could think when he met him was how hot Trent was, but unfortunately he was straight.
The next day Brian shopped for new clothes since everything he had was destroyed in the fire, and later on after Mike flew home Trent stopped by to see if he was okay and offered to pick up anything he needed at the grocery store. He dropped off Brian’s ice cream and invited him to a get together he was having in his apartment that evening, but Brian was too sad to go to the party so he stayed home and was miserable all by his lonesome, until Trent showed up for a private party. It appeared that Trent wasn’t straight after all and that the attraction was mutual.
This little story started off quite depressing and I was wondering if I would drown in Brian’s sorrow rather than holiday liquor but it picked up after the first couple of chapters. Trent was Über masculine looking but beneath the muscles apparently beat the heart of a gay man who thought his neighbour was super cool. It took Brian a while to figure out that Trent was gay although all the clues were there but his gaydar wasn’t working. After he got over being shy Brian made up for the past year which had been pretty bare, and not just his cupboard. 🙂
Being a short Christmas story this wasn’t a complex plot but the writing was quite good and the dialogue and prose were funny. The details of Brian’s past helped to make him seem real, especially the bit about his mother’s illness before she passed and how he cared for her during the final months. I’m a sucker for characters who care about their parents and make sacrifices for them — in the case of Brian his job was a casualty of taking time off to look after his mother. Oreo the cat was quite the little matchmaker and a star in her own right and Mike, Brian’s best friend,was such a twink I wondered how his family never suspected that he was gay – Brian always had to remind him to “butch it up” whenever he was too effeminate.
Trent was sympathetic and tender and did everything he could to make Brian feel that he was not alone. Apparently looking as hot as he did didn’t mean that he was selfish as he showed Brian what a kind person he was when he gave him his present. I didn’t get to know Trent as well as I wanted to but he definitely had the makings of a Christmas angel with bells on.
Like most holiday stories, this one had lots of pathos followed by *feel good* emotions to balance the sadness, and ended up quite funny and heartwarming.