Ah, my vacation has begun and guess what? My coffee table is brown. Who knew under that sea of paper there was a brown top. :-) Today is HUGE pile of laundry and tackle the kitchen day I think. Or the dining room table. That may be brown as well. I've been doing a lot of Christmas reading, nature of the beast this time of year it seems. There appear to be waaaaaaay more Christmas releases this year or maybe I'm just more conscious of it but it seems every author has one or two out there. Oh well, some may be read in June.
Making His List by Devon Rhodes (71 pages)
Cory and Ken have had a casual thing for several months, however when Cory's drug addict sister and 5 year old daughter Bailey move in, he doesn't want Bailey getting attached to someone so tries to put up some walls for Ken. When Bailey falls ill Ken is pulled in and Cory is determined to push him out and he and Bailey make Christmas lists for Santa of what they want, Cory for what he wants in a partner. Once again a wicked stomach flu hits the house and Ken is unwittingly dragged into caring for Bailey while Cory pukes his guts out and her mother takes off for several days. But he finds the list and it's nothing like him, he also takes a message for a date Cory has planned. Ooops. When Cory finally drags his sick ass out of bed and gets the cold shoulder he starts to realize that while Ken may not fit the criteria on his list, he fits into his life. A vanishing act by the sister with the little girl brings the two men together and forces them to admit their feelings. A very nice story and I felt so badly for Ken. It wasn't that Cory was a nasty person, he was just stupid. LOL Ken thought not pushing their relationship was the way to go and realized as well that he may have screwed up some by not being clear. So in essence they were both a bit at fault but it was a sweet story and I'd love to know what happens and if they get custody of Bailey and I think the fight with her mother over that would be an interesting and far less sweet story to read.
Christmas Angel: A Hammer Story by Sean Michael (42 pages)
I don't as a general rule follow the Hammer stories but have read a few and you don't need to read them to read this, but it probably would help you understand who some of the characters are. In this one Kien, a sub was left by his master 3 years ago. He's been out of the circuit ever since and is still very fragile but is convinced to enter the Christmas auction for charity. He's sure no one will want him but when Mac sees the frail gorgeous sub he bids on him and is smitten. However Kien has some serious self-esteem issues and his relationship with his other master was not very BDSMy, which Kien wanted and Mac is more than willing to provide. I am a sucker for the emotionally damaged character. My heart broke for how Kien felt about himself. Although the majority of the book is their one date, Mac realizes with Kien needs, both the reassurance and a different type of sex and manages to bring him out of his shell. The one thing I would have liked to see was Mac at Kien's house. When Kien sees Mac's gorgeous apartment he swears he'd never take Mac to his little house but I think it would have been nice for him to see Mac's reaction. But for those who like the Hammer series this is a nice addition to the series.
An Angel for Christmas by Lily Grace (86 pages)
Sebastian is a guardian angel who watches over Kevin. He knows he's a bit too close to his charge but doesn't care. When Kevin is about to be attacked, Sebastian breaks the rules and intervenes, then screws up again and lets Kevin see him. Oooops. Once Kevin gets past the "I must be insane" they start to spend time together and Sebastian falls even more in love with his charge who looks for a way to fix Kevin's money problems (mother in the hospital and owes a loan shark money). The loan shark calls in the loan Kevin blames Sebastian for screwing things up even more and says some angry things. Sebastian is called back to heaven and knows he's going to hell but as a last gift to Kevin cures his Mom. Once Kevin realizes what happened he sends up a Christmas prayer that Sebastian not be hurt. This is a very sweet story. Sebastian is adorable and his fascination and interest in all things human is cute to watch. His confession that he hates being an angel and not being able to intervene is touching. Kevin is a bit on the extra-nice side perhaps, but on the whole this is definitely a sweet story where everything is a HEA for all concerned, bad guys punished, sick people cured, lovers reunited. If you're in the mood for a feel-good story though this is well written with likable characters.
And Hell Itself Breaths Out by AR Moler (182 pages)
DC cop Evan starts investigating a couple of murders. Before long a mysterious federal agency called the SIS intervene but John, the head asks for Evan's help. Seems the SIS deals with rather otherworldly things and there is though that a series of murders may be related to something occult. There is also an awareness of paranormal abilities as Evan is empathic, John, has some psi abilities. The majority of the book is the guys trying to figure out what's going on with the murders, good old detective work although with a slightly paranormal twist where John and Evan can sometimes feel the evil. You know who the bad guys are, that's very much a part of the story so it's not a mystery, the mystery is how they will catch them. Both men are also bi and eventually get together. After reading all the sweetness that are Christmas stories I felt the need for some blood and guts (and you get that here, literally). I enjoyed the way they chased the criminals and you see how they put it all together. I would like to say I'd love to read more about them as they really only start out as a couple near the end and I know there is a sequel, however much to my dismay it brings in a third, a woman. *gasp* So unfortunately I won't be reading it but I did enjoy the two characters and in general I enjoy this author's writing style. So, sadly that's the end of the series for me, but it was a nice dramatic change from holiday sweets. :-)