Derek – B. G. Thomas

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“Men with men. Men who weren’t afraid to be with other men. Men who admitted who and what they were. Yes. He had a future. Who knows? Maybe it would start here. Tonight.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. This was sweet and heartwarming and a quick read. All good things. Derek, the titular main character, is newly divorced and is a bit nervous about finally being able to live his life as a gay man for the first time in years (though, the first time he was ‘out’ it wasn’t really so openly). One of the baristas at his new favourite café befriends him suddenly and invites him to a party where he can meet other gay men. He meets Marshall at the party, and through him learns about letting go and being in love for real for the first time. This story is about a romance, but it’s also about letting go and moving forward. Derek has had his only two relationships fail, and isn’t sure if he should gamble his heart on a third. With Marshall’s help he’s able to gain some perspective on his past and look forward to what his future as an out gay man will hold for him. The story isn’t all that long so the characters aren’t totally developed (especially the many side-characters that are mentioned), but I still liked Derek and Marshall and their love story (even though it does technically tip into the insta-love category). I also really enjoyed the positive feel everything had. Derek is trying to deal with the death of a long-term relationship and what that means for him in the grand scheme of things; and even though it wasn’t necessarily a totally happy experience, Derek’s takeaway of it isn’t totally negative either. The message of the story, about not living in the past and looking forward to the future (loosely paraphrased), was also pretty positive.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) The end of his marriage leaves Derek Newton hurt and confused, but it also grants him the opportunity to embrace who he really is: a gay man. While navigating his new life with the help of friends in the local GLBT community, Derek meets Marshall Kenworthy, a man who embodies all his fantasies.

To Derek’s surprise, Marshall is as interested as he is, and they make a date. But a failure to communicate leads to a misunderstanding. The party they attend is not what Derek expected—at all—but Marshall, ever the gentleman, makes sure Derek feels comfortable. As they get to know each other, they see how much they have in common. Derek begins to heal and soon realizes he might thrive in this new chapter of his life—and it just might be with Marshall by his side.

 

[available for free at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.ca, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble]

 

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QR: A Holiday Crush – CJane Elliott

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“Sure, he was too old, and Michael was practically a kid, but Christmas only came once a year, and this year… this year he needed something to celebrate.”

 

In a word: Read the thing.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) San Francisco lawyer Brad Halberstam is in a rut. At forty-one, he’s successful but alone. Even his holidays are predictable—he spends every Christmas golfing in Napa with his ex-boyfriend. Then attractive but oh-so-young filmmaker Michael Blair invites him out. Brad joins Michael and his housemates in their holiday celebrations and learns that life can be joyful. He hesitates to saddle Michael with a much-older boyfriend but as their attraction ignites, Brad’s tempted to let Michael sweep him into a bright new future.

Michael lives in a group house in Berkeley. He loves making life into a celebration, especially during the holidays. Michael longs for a partner, and he hopes serious but sweet Brad Halberstam is the one. Michael’s infatuation grows over caroling and cookies, but his housemate reminds him that Michael always latches on to someone during the holidays, so he won’t be alone. After a misunderstanding, Michael loses heart, no longer sure if his relationship with Brad is real or just another Christmas crush.

 

[available for purchase from Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.ca, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble; also available as part of the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar set]

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QR: The Billionaire’s Boxing Day Bargain – Ava Hayden

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“You, dear billionaire boyfriend of mine, need to learn that, in fact, you can’t always get what you want when you want it.”

 

In a word: Read the thing.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Milo is too nice to say no when the desperate call goes out for more staff to work Boxing Day at Eden Consumer Electronics. It’s just until they sell the door-crasher specials, but it means he can’t see his billionaire boyfriend Lance until later that day.

Lance spends December 25 jetting back from a business trip, eager to see Milo. He calls as soon as his flight lands Boxing Day morning, only to find out that seven hundred and thirty televisions are cock-blocking him.

What’s the point of being a billionaire if you can’t spend your way around obstacles? Milo doesn’t want Lance solving his problems with cash, but he’ll never find out because Lance’s efficient personal assistant, William, is on the case. Unfortunately, even billionaires are subject to the law of unintended consequences—and these aren’t the kind Lance can buy his way out of.

Will Lance and Milo have their Boxing Day date? Or have Lance’s pushy billionaire ways finally gone too far?

 

[available for purchase from Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.ca, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble; also available as part of the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar set]

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QR: Homemade from the Heart – Bru Baker

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“Giving up his one day off a week during the busiest season of the year just so he could see Hot Divorced Dad’s pretty face? God he was an idiot.”

 

In a word: Read the thing.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Craft store owner Grant has always been a sucker for a pretty face, and that goes double for a pretty face with an adorable sidekick. When seven-year-old Aubrey has her heart set on taking Grant’s already-full holiday craft series, he caves and gives up his one day off a week so she (and her hot guardian, Josh) can take private lessons. Their flirting ramps up week after week, and even though Josh isn’t with Aubrey’s mother, Grant can’t be sure the man isn’t straight. Maybe he’s just being friendly. And Josh, who most definitely is not straight, is afraid of being the creepy guy hitting on the teacher.

Frustrated by their stubbornness and cluelessness, Aubrey takes matters into her own hands. She decides the best gift to give Josh is something homemade and from the heart—a boyfriend they’ll both love.

 

[available for purchase from Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.ca, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble; also available as part of the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar set]

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QR: The Last Gift – Chrissy Munder

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“Call it his hell, Aaron Hampton couldn’t trigger any more of Nick’s pleasure centers if he was hardwired to Nick’s neural interface.”

 

In a word: In a word:

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) College student Nick Reed works late shift at a convenience store and dreams of graduation, a job he can be proud of, and finding the man of his dreams.

But the man of his dreams is about to find him.

A change in his lab hours forces Nick to swap shifts with a coworker. But no one prepared Nick for Mr. 5:25—Aaron Hampton—a beefy blond who’s Nick’s perfect guy, but professionally and socially out of Nick’s reach. Soon Aaron becomes the highlight of Nick’s workday, and when the overly focused lawyer needs Nick’s help with holiday gifts, Nick is eager to spend time with Aaron.

They become friends, share book recommendations, and are surprised to find themselves at the same charity run. But is that all? When Aaron learns Nick is heading back to his old shift, will he find the courage to ask for one last, very special gift?

 

[available for purchase from Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.ca, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble; also available as part of the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar set]

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QR: All Creatures Great and Small – Kasper Quill

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“What was a little pain compared to giving my fur baby the Christmas he’d probably never had?”

 

In a word: Read the thing.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Growing up an orphan meant Charlie never celebrated Christmas. He’s committed to making sure his newly adopted cat, Max, doesn’t miss out like he did. Unfortunately, he discovers that giving Max the perfect Christmas might be easier said than done—and not without risk.

Charlie’s landlord, successful and wealthy real estate developer Aemon Scotfield, is charmed by the gorgeous redhead and his shameless alley cat. He finds himself compelled to help orchestrate a memorable celebration for Max—and Charlie—despite the mishaps that seem to just keep coming. As difficult as it will be to pull off the perfect holiday, the real challenge might be walking away when it’s over.

 

[available for purchase from Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.ca, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble; also available as part of the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar set]

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QR: The Probability of Mistletoe – E.J. Russell

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“Well, no matter. Tonight he’d see Keith again and, dang it, he wouldn’t waste the opportunity.”

 

In a word: Read the thing.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) When software engineer Keith Trainor decides to start his own company, he knows exactly who he wants as his partner: Parker Mulvaney, his best friend from high school. But in the ten years since graduation, their contact has dwindled to nothing, and it’s all Keith’s fault. If he hadn’t tried to kiss Parker under the mistletoe at the winter formal their senior year, Parker wouldn’t have bolted. At their ten-year reunion, Keith intends to do everything in his geeky power to make amends.

Parker should have known that scheduling the reunion the day before Christmas Eve was a recipe for a headache of monster proportions. But when Keith sends a text that he’ll be attending, the evening doesn’t look so bleak. Can an unnecessary makeover, a nostalgic breakfast, an abortive shopping trip, and a whole lot of mistletoe culminate in a long-overdue first kiss?

 

[available for purchase at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.ca, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble; also available as part of the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar set]

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