Title: A Soldier for Christmas
Author: Eva Lefoy
Publisher: MLR Press
Release Date: December 18, 2016
Page Count: 85
Reviewed by: Gigi
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 1.5 stars out of 5
Trent returns from Iraq intent on claiming the man he kissed five years ago, only to find the war left a powerful obstacle in his way.
Cameron was sixteen when the hunky Trent Anderson kissed him and spoiled him for all other men. The next day, Trent left for a tour of duty in the Middle East without so much as a wave goodbye. When Trent returns five years later, he’s a changed man. Can Cameron put aside his long-held fantasies and accept the flawed solider he’s always wanted for Christmas?
Trent Anderson served for four years in the U.S. Army and then signed up for one more as a security contractor. He bears no physical scars from Iraq, but he secretly fights an invisible enemy. A sound, a look, a situation can trigger a flashback and send him right back into combat mode. When Cameron’s attacked, his PTSD escalates, and Trent must get help or else forfeit the man he left behind forever.
The promise of military men, PTSD, hurt/healing/comfort and Christmas cheer combined with THAT COVER had me chomping at the bit to read this one. Unfortunately, it didn’t deliver the goods.
When Cameron was 16, he shared a searing hot kiss with 18-year-old Trent Anderson, the day before Trent left for basic training. No numbers or promises were exchanged and actually, Cameron didn’t even know Trent was leaving.
Fast forward 5 years and Trent is back from his time served in the military. Cameron has pined over that one kiss so hard that he feels Trent has “ruined” him for another man. They haven’t seen or spoken to one another during that 5 years. Trent doesn’t even tell Cameron he is home, it’s just a coincidence that they run into each other at a party. Cameron is hurt and angry and has nothing to say to Trent, feeling abandoned all those years ago.
Meanwhile, we learn that Trent has had a difficult time in the military and suffers from a nasty case of PTSD. He has severe anxiety and if triggered will flashback to missions where he engaged enemy forces. While chatting with his military buddy Mike, we learn that Trent has never forgotten Cameron and wants to make things right with him and start a relationship. His proof to Cameron that he thought about him all the time:
“Besides, you want to know a secret? I never really left you. I took you with me. See?” Trent dug his cell phone out of his jacket pocket and thumbed on the screen, then held it up for Cameron to view.
Cameron immediately recognized the photo as one taken during the Christmas party five years ago. Only it had originally been himself, Mike, and Bobby in the shot. Trent had cropped out the other two men, leaving Cameron’s gangly sixteen year-old visage staring back at him in all its awkward glory. Embarrassment, shock, and disbelief slammed through him. Trent had hung onto a snapshot of him?
Trent gave no explanation why he never called or wrote. There was also no explain from Cameron why he didn’t use his resources to call or write Trent. We are asked to assume they continued to mourn each other’s loss during that 5 years, no explanation necessary.
So, that is a basic summary of where these two stand at the beginning of the book. By then I was hoping I’d be able to look past the ridiculous reasons these two never communicated and the awesome hurt/healing/comfort would start. But it just never did. Trent did have anxiety attacks and one flashback, but there was no healing and no comfort.
- Trent has an anxiety attack during a make out session with Cameron and tells his friend Mike that he believes the anxiety was the result of the adrenaline spike from his sexual excitement. Mike’s solution? To desensitize Trent by BRINGING HIM TO A GAY BAR AND LINING UP MEN TO KISS, GROPE AND RUB UP ON HIM.
I didn’t buy this relationship, I didn’t feel any chemistry and the blurb just plain didn’t deliver. Yes, the sex was hot, but with no emotional backdrop, it wasn’t at all titillating or satisfying. (And I left the spelling mistake in the blurb. Just FYI, it wasn’t me. I’m a spell check freak.)