Title: Analog to Digital (2016 Advent Calendar Bah Humbug)
Author: Posy Roberts
Release Date: 1st December, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance, Holiday
Page Count: 39
Reviewed by: Lily G Blunt
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
For years, Ethan and Toby have said they’ll never marry, despite Ethan’s secret wishes. So leaving sunny California for snowy Minnesota to witness his sister’s vow renewal is not how he wants to spend his Christmas Eve. It’s the second time she’ll say “I do” in less than a year, when Ethan saying those words to Toby even once is hopeless.
In the run-up to the ceremony, Toby seems to avoid Ethan, and doubts grow in his absence. Ethan can’t help noticing Toby spends more time with Ethan’s family than with him. Little does Ethan know, Toby has desires of his own. But if Toby doesn’t find a way to reveal them, Ethan could leave for home without him.
This is a delightful short holiday read from the 2016 Bah Humbug Advent Calendar.
Despite living together, Toby was forever stating he never wanted to get married. Ethan went along with that wish, but always crossed his fingers behind his back whenever he claimed he didn’t want to marry Toby either.
“We don’t need anything more to prove to the world we love each other.”
Yet it’s something Ethan longs for. He loves Toby and would like nothing more than to get married.
With some persuasion Toby gets him to agree to go home for the holidays. But Ethan is grumpy in the run up to Christmas. (Bah Humbug!) Everything seems to annoy him, even the names of his sister’s three dogs! He’s a workaholic and still has work to do before he can enjoy himself. The fact that Ethan’s sister is renewing her wedding vows that week has him feeling jealous and snarky. Ethan feels left out because he thinks it will never happen for them.
When Toby leaves him to finish his work and helps with the wedding preparations instead, Ethan feels alone, but doesn’t offer to get involved. As the days pass, Ethan thinks Toby is now avoiding him. He works himself into a state, thinking Toby is going to break up with him because he’s not spending much time with him. Ethan realizes he’s been neglecting his man by being absorbed in work and that it might be too late for them. He’s on the verge of packing up and going home, but he stays for his sister’s sake and attends the wedding.
I particularly liked the resolution to this story. Ethan is surprised when he finds out what Toby has been up to. The reader has clues along the way. The scene brought tears to my eyes and put a smile on my face. It’s a lovely uplifting short story, with realistic main characters who gained my sympathy and affection. Ethan’s family members are super too.
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LOOKING UP from the doodle I’d started on a cocktail napkin, I ordered. “Surly Furious. Two, please.” It was the beer I’d begged my sister to ship to me from back home. I wanted to give my employees a taste of Minnesota, even if they relentlessly teased me about my accent and “unfathomable” work ethic. I didn’t end up owner of a top-rated design house by the time I was in my midtwenties by phoning it in, so I never let their jibes bother me much.
The server reached for glasses after cracking each large can with a pfft and pfft, but I waved him off. “We’ll drink ’em right from the can, thanks.”
I slipped a ten in his tip jar and turned to the center of the distinctive ballroom, where people were dancing. His thanks trailed after me as I made my way over to Toby, who looked ready to blend into the leather couch while the room buzzed around him.
I pressed the chilled beer into his warm palm. “Here. This is the one I told you about.”
He took a sip and looked at me with dark eyes before taking another few swallows. He smiled when he finally set the can down. “It’s good. Real good.”
“Told ya.” I leaned in and kissed the beer foam that clung to his mustache. His beard brushed my chin, and as much as I wanted to get lost in his kisses, I was there as the boss tonight and couldn’t really let go like I wanted.
“Look at you two! So in love.” Stella, my right-hand and necessary co-conspirator in most projects, plopped herself in the chair next to me and sipped at a neon-pink drink garnished with at least three fruit kabobs. Her eclectic style, mostly latent punk rocker meets Vargas pinup girl, was in full bloom. She would’ve fit perfectly on the nose of an Air Force plane or at any dance club in the city.
I smiled at her as I leaned against Toby’s shoulder. The sparkle in her lined eyes made what she was about to ask obvious.
“When are you two going to finally tie the knot?”
“We’re not,” Toby said without a second’s hesitation.
I crossed my feet at the ankles to ward off any evil as I lied through my teeth. “It’s not something either of us has ever wanted. No need to be tied down to a person. God knows I’m tied down by enough strings to this business, which grows busier by the day.”
Stella studied me out of the corner of her eye, skeptical. I talked shop to shake her focus.
About the author
Real life. Genuine men. True love.
Posy Roberts writes about the realistic struggles of men looking for love. Whether her characters are family men, drag queens, or lonely men searching for connections, they all find a home in her stories.
Posy is a Jill of all trades and master of the drill and paintbrush. She’s married to a partner who makes sure she doesn’t forget to eat or sleep during her writing frenzies. Her daughter, a budding author and cinematographer, helps her come up with character names. For fun, Posy enjoys crafting, hiking, and singing spontaneously about the mundane, just to make regular life more interesting
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