Title: The Beary Best Holiday Party Ever (Sleigh Ride – 2015 Advent Calendar)
Author: B.G. Thomas
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 1st 2015
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 123 pages
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 2.7 stars out of 5
Ron still worries he isn’t good enough, but can Paddy show him there’s a beary happy ending waiting for them after all?
Before he discovered the Heartland Bear Clan, Ron Corbin figured no one could ever love a “fatass” like him. But the big group of big men accepts him, and likes him just the way he is. Having finally found a place he belongs, he works hard to get elected president of the club—and wins. He’s the happiest he’s ever been.
But Paddy Brennan, a sexy bear cub who blew into town and became Mr. Popular overnight, is elected vice-president. Ron doesn’t think Paddy has earned the honor, and now he’ll have to work shoulder to shoulder (and belly to belly) with the guy for a year.
Ron will do what’s best for the club even if that means setting his personal feeling—that Paddy is a jerk—aside. But then as the two men get to know each other, Ron reluctantly finds he not only likes the guy, but is growing more and more attracted to him.
Deep down, Ron still worries he isn’t good enough, but maybe Paddy can show him there’s a beary happy ending waiting for them after all.
Ronald “Ron” Corbin has one special thing in his life: the Heartland Bear Clan, a club of like-minded bears (and a couple otters), that Ron’s been a part of for a decade. Now, Ron’s got some serious self-esteem issues. He’s chunky and his big fitness nut parents who travel all over the world doing decathlons fat shamed Ron his entire life. So the group has been his first and only sips of the cup of acceptance that being fat is okay and doesn’t mean you’re less of a person.
Padraic “Paddy” Brennan joined the club six months ago and immediately became super popular. When the current president of the club decides to retire with his husband to Florida the vote is between Paddy and Ron for club President and Vice President. Ron wins and his happiness is only marred by Paddy being VP.
So here’s the thing – around seven months ago something happened between Ron and Paddy, which sent Ron into a tailspin of self-loathing and a real hurt hating of Paddy. Now they are being forced to work together to come up with a theme and ideas for the groups main fundraiser – their annual holiday party. Paddy is all excited, and tries to clear the air with Ron, because Paddy knows something is off with Ron, but honestly doesn’t know what it is.
“Are you shitting me?” Ron exclaimed.
God, that look of surprise on Paddy’s face! Could he really be that socially inept? Could he not know how deeply his words, seven months before, had hurt Ron?
Paddy looked at him, unblinking.
In that moment, to Ron’s shock, he realized Paddy wasn’t joking. He really didn’t know what he’d done that late, late night when Ron had been so desperate for a little human contact.
Ron stared into Paddy’s (big beautiful blue) eyes…and realized the little cub was being sincere.
That was when Ron saw he had a choice.
He could go on hating the guy.
Or he could figure out how to make this work.
Because he was almost certainly going tohave to work with Paddy for at least the next year.
After Ron decides to try to let it go, he and Paddy begin working closely with one another and Ron falls for Paddy. Told entirely from Ron’s POV, this has a HFN, which could easily turn into a HEA.
I’m sure some will love this story. It has a cute plot with likable characters. I may have liked it, if not for three things:
I was bored and kept putting it down. It didn’t grab or sustain my attention. I found myself forcibly reading.
It contains a device I particularly dislike where the reader knows something happened that impacted the character hugely and negatively, but isn’t told what it is until near to the very end of the story, yet the reader is teased about it over and over again because the author is trying to create drama or angst. That’s simply a personal pet peeve of mine when that happens.
Finally, my biggest disappointment revolves around the major plot being a HUGE MISUNDERSTANDING followed by MASSIVE MISCOMMUNICATION.
Seven months ago Ron answered a Craig’s list add for sex with Paddy. Mid-assignation, Ron hears Paddy say something that humiliates him…
“But I never said you had a fat ass…”
“You did! I was bending over and you said—” And Ron mimicked Paddy’s voice next, making it nasty. “‘Look at that fat ass…’!”
Paddy’s eyes went wide. “Oh fuck me, Ron. That’s not what I said! I said, ‘Look at that big ass’!”
Ron stopped for a second, shaking. Huh? What? “What’s the difference?” he blurted.
“Fuck, Ron! I like big butts!” He growled, “I fucking love big butts! You bent over, and I thought I would squirt right then and there. I wanted to fling myself down on my knees and just bury my face in your hot ass!”
So that’s it. Paddy was actually complimenting Ron, but it triggered humiliating bad memories (understandably) for Ron. Yet instead of getting dressed and either running away in tears or confronting Paddy in hurt and/or rage, Ron continues to try to have sex with Paddy, but can’t get an erection resulting in further degradation. A month later Paddy tracks Ron down to the Bear club (I’m assuming) to woo him. Yet, until after the election (in which Paddy actually wins but throws the presidency to Ron because “he wants it more” sort of thing) he doesn’t actually do anything about it.
Wait…What? You’re telling me that a guy who’s having sex (who knows how often or how much) through Craig’s list ads has one extremely disappointing sexual experience with a guy then goes through the trouble of tracking him down, insinuating himself into the guy’s life, and…yeah, nope. Not buying it.
This whole thing was completely unbelievable and just irritated me and flat out didn’t work for me at all.