Review: His for the Holidays by Josh Lanyon, Z.A. Maxfield, L.B. Gregg and Harper Fox
Contemporary Erotic M/M Anthology
December 6 2010
Received from NetGalley
For the anthologies that I’m reviewing this week, I’m going to try something new. Since the stories were short, I’m going to mimic them and do short little reviews. I know right?! What a concept. 🙂
Mistletoe at Midnight by LB Gregg
Owen McKenzie has traveled to Vermont to spend an old-fashioned Christmas with his family when he finds himself staying at the same inn as his first love. Owen is disconcerted to realize he’s still attracted to Caleb Black but refuses to pursue him. Caleb left him once, and Owen’s not going down that road again.
Caleb is ready for a second chance with Owen and gets it when fate and the matchmaking McKenzies conspire to strand the two men in a rustic cabin during a snowstorm on Christmas Eve. Can Caleb convince Owen to rekindle their romance so they can stop spending their holidays apart?
I really liked this story. A lot. The main characters are wonderful and their chemistry sizzles. Owen and Caleb. *sigh* You really get a good grasp of their personalities and their characters in this short story, and I could have easily read 200+ pages of just them. Mistletoe at Midnight is a fun, light and adorable story. The supporting characters are fabulous too! Owen’s mother is a hoot and his brother is great. Just smart characters with big hearts all around. I had trouble putting this one down once I started it, that’s how much I loved it.
Swoon worthy quote
“There are times – and you know damn well you are going to regret it – when you can’t force yourself to smile or shake hands, murmur hello, blink or even shut your gaping pie-hole and do something. As I gawked at him with the fire crackling beside me, the entire world just fell away.”
Nine Lights over Edinburgh by Harper Fox
Detective Inspector James McBride is riding high on the belief that he’s about to bust a human-trafficking ring. But just five days before Christmas, his unorthodox methods catch up with him and his world comes crashing down.
McBride tries to concentrate on his new day job as security for the visiting Israeli ambassador. He even starts to feel a renewed sense of self-worth when the leader of the Israeli team, the aristocratic Tobias Leitner, takes a bullet for him in the line of duty. But he can’t forget the trafficking case, especially when his investigations result in the kidnapping of his own daughter! McBride has no one to turn to for help-no one, except Toby.
Can these two very different men work together to bring about a holiday miracle-and heal one another’s heart in the process?
This one was heavier than I expected. It actually threw me for a loop! The main hero is quite the flawed man. He’s a divorced, alcoholic detective who is heavily in denial of having any problems. You are rooting for him, but you also want to shake him a little. When you first start reading this, you assume he is going to end up with one dude, but he ends up with a totally different one. A more fitting one though. I would have liked Nine Lights over Edinburgh to be a little lighter and more fun, but it was very well written and the story well thought out. For me it felt more like a suspenseful copper story and less like a love story.
Giggle worthy quote
“’Shut up. Let me see if I’m still good at this.’
Turned out, he was.”
I Heard Him Exclaim by Z.A. Maxfield
Who Likes a Skinny Santa?
Steve Adams’s heart hasn’t been in the Christmas spirit ever since doctors put a stent in it and ordered him to clean up his act. No longer filling out his Santa suit or allowed to make merry, he’s forgoing the holidays this year and heading to Vegas to indulge in the few vices left to him: gambling and anonymous sex.
His road trip takes a detour when he encounters Chandler Tracey, who’s just inherited guardianship of his five-year-old niece. Overwhelmed, Chandler’s on his way to deliver Poppy to his parents. But fate has other plans and, after car trouble, Chandler and Poppy accept a ride home with Steve. Though the heat between the two men is obvious, they put it on simmer while they band together to make Poppy’s Christmas as perfect as possible.
Steve soon comes to believe that while Chandler is the right person to look after Poppy, someone needs to look after Chandler. Fortunately, Steve knows just the man for the job.
This one was a sweet *sigh* worthy story. Two men, lost souls, who find each other and help bring out the best in each other. It’s a sad-ish story with a wonderful ending. A true Christmas story. I enjoyed Steve and his big Christmas loving family, all out to outdo each other. Chandler is going through some tough sh*t and we see him at his weakest moment. But he’s never whiny or annoying. He’s true, real. Of the four stories in this anthology, this definitely the hottest, smex wise. I can’t say I get all hot and bothered by m/m smut like many of my blogging friends do, but I find the love scenes to be quite passionate and sometimes even raw. But never without deep emotion. I Heard Him Exclaim is a story full of heart that will make you smile.
Swoon worthy quote
“’Gods,’ Chandler whispered when they broke apart. His hand covered his swollen lips for a few seconds, but when it dropped back to his side, he was smiling.
Steve picked up Chandler’s hand and pressed it to his frantic heart. ‘Best. Kiss. Ever.’”
Icecapade by Josh Lanyon
On the eve of the new millennium, diamond thief Noel Snow seduced FBI special agent Robert Cuffe, then fled into the dawn. Now a successful novelist, Noel uses his capers as fodder for his books, and has modeled his hero’s nemesis (and potential love interest) on Cuffe. Though he leaves Robert a drunken phone message every New Year’s Eve, Noel hasn’t seen or heard from him in a decade.
So he’s thrilled when his former lover shows up at his upstate farm one Christmas Eve. Elation quickly turns to alarm when Robert accuses Noel of being responsible for a recent rash of diamond heists. Robert is all business and as cold as ice: it seems his only interest in Noel is to put him behind bars.
Innocent of the crimes, and still as attracted as ever to the oh-so-serious lawman, Noel plans a second seduction-providing he can stay out of jail long enough!
Boy, can you ever feel the history between the two main characters in this story. A FBI agent and a former thief with an insane amount of chemistry and fire between them. The ‘will they, won’t they’ and the ‘dance’ between Noel and Robert…well, it just makes this one hard to put down. The other characters that show up for their quick visit in the story are all quirky in their own way and really add a nice quality to the story. A fast read with a satisfying ending.
Swoon worthy quote
“’The first time I saw a photo of you,’ Robert said, ‘I thought, anyone who looks that innocent has to be wicked as hell. Then I thought, how can I get him to look at me like that?’
Noel hugged a laugh and opened his eyes. ‘The first time I saw you, I thought, I could love that guy.’
Robert made a pained sound. ‘Jesus, Noel. There you are out on a ledge again. You scare the hell out of me.’
But it was Robert who made the first move.”
Overall, I really enjoyed this anthology. Christmas stories without being too “Christmasy”, if you know what I mean. This was also my second m/m read and I’m finding that I am liking the passion between the men on the page. No whiny, hissy-fit taking divas. It makes for a nice change once in a while. I will definitely be reading more of this genre in the future. I give this anthology as a whole 4 stars.