Title: Better Not Pout
Author: Annabeth Albert
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: November 12th 2018
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 65,000 words (approx)
Reviewed by: Ele
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
One hard-nosed military police officer.
One overly enthusiastic elf.
One poorly timed snowstorm.
Is it a recipe for disaster? Or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for holiday romance?
Teddy MacNally loves Christmas and everything that goes along with it. When he plays an elf for his charity’s events, he never expects to be paired with a Scrooge masquerading as Santa Claus. His new mission: make the holiday-hating soldier believe he was born to say ho-ho-ho.
Sergeant Major Nicholas Nowicki doesn’t do Santa, but he’s army to his blood. When his CO asks an unusual favor, Nick of course obliges. The elf to his Kris Kringle? Tempting. Too tempting—Nick’s only in town for another month, and Teddy’s too young, too cheerful and too nice for a one-night stand.
The slow, sexy make-out sessions while Teddy and Nick are alone and snowbound, though, feel like anything but a quick hookup. As a stress-free holiday fling turns into Christmas all year round, Teddy can’t imagine his life without Nick. And Nick’s days on the base may be coming to a close, but he doesn’t plan on leaving anything, or anyone, behind.
I said I wouldn’t read a Christmas story before December or at least late November. Obviously I didn’t stick to that decision because it’s October and I can’t resist an Annabeth Albert book that promises “opposites attract” and “age gap”. And trust me, the story delivered.
?ick must be the grumpiest (and most reluctant) Santa there is. After serving the army for almost 30 years, he’s pushed into retirement. He’s uptight and set in his ways. He has no roots and after the army is done with him he won’t belong anywhere. And he’s so very lonely. Until he meets Teddy, the cute (and hot) elf he has to work for at the resource center.
Teddy is Nick’s polar opposite. He’s sweet, outgoing and upbeat. He is deeply connected to the small town he grew up in. Always surrounded by family and friends, Teddy has no plans to ever leave. This (and Nick’s unwillingness to let go) is the main conflict of the story. Nick’s time is up and after his retirement he plans on living town for good.
But for all their differences Teddy and Nick share some things too. They both understand loss and grief, just choose to deal with it in a different way. They will both find themselves at crossroads when “lets have fun for the holidays” turns to “I fell for you and can’t leave”.