Zac never had a family of his own, but Rudy has enough to share.
Shy, inexperienced Rudy has a crush on Zac from the moment his new colleague walks through the door. On an office night out before Christmas, Rudy finds the courage to make a move, and they form a tentative bond. When he discovers Zac will be alone at Christmas, he invites Zac to come home with him.
Zac prefers to keep people at arm’s length. Yet when Rudy offers him a family Christmas it’s impossible to resist. With no parents of his own, Zac is pleasantly surprised to be welcomed by Rudy’s. The only drawback is that everyone assumes they’re a couple. Unwilling to disappoint Rudy’s mum and make Christmas awkward, they decide not to deny it.
It’s not a chore for Zac to pose as Rudy’s boyfriend, but the pretence makes him want things that scare him—things like a real relationship with Rudy. Zac’s suffered enough rejection in his life already and is afraid to risk his heart. If he can get over his past rejection and let Rudy inside his armour, he might get more for Christmas than he ever imagined.
Length: 44,000 words approx
All the warm and fuzzy Christmas feels! I loved Jay Northcote’s
What Happens at Christmas last year, so I was very giddy for his holiday story this year too. A Family for Christmas did not disappoint! Also, “pretend boyfriends” trope!
Rudy is shy, awkward and kind-hearted. He also has the biggest crush ever on his new co-worker, Zac, despite the fact that he hasn’t exchanged more than a couple of words with him. And really, it’s pretty difficult to steal more than a few words at a time from Zac.
You see, Zac was a foster kid and grew up pretty much on his own. He doesn’t care about making friends, small talk or any kind of social interaction. He just wants to get the job done, and go home.
“…I’m not sure I even know how to have a relationship. It’s been so long since anyone loved me that I don’t know if I’m capable of loving someone else.”
On a whim (and a few tequila shots after) Rudy invites Zac to spend Christmas with him and his family. On a whim, Zac agrees! Due to some misunderstanding/miscommunication with Rudy’s mom, everybody thinks they are boyfriends! And now they have to pretend that they ‘re in a relationship for the rest of the holidays.
So there are stolen kisses under the mistletoe (because everyone’s looking). Holding hands (because Rudy’s mom goes aww…), and groping and making out in a dark closet (because…oh wait, nobody’s looking now but let’s do it anyway!).
The lines blur, and fake becomes so real. I was glad that there was no manufactured drama and despite Zac holding himself back, the “angst” didn’t take over. Actually, I loved Zac’s inner thoughts. The way he realises his feelings for Rudy and re-examines his motives (is it Rudy or Rudy’s family he’s falling in love with?) felt pretty mature and honest to me.
And then there’s Rudy’s family. I fell in love with every single one of them. They’re quirky, unconventional, accepting and they don’t do anything half-assed. Christmas in this household is a BIG deal!
There are sexy times, a wonderful epilogue, and KITTENS! Very recommended for a Christmas feel-good story.