Case: Arthur Anderson. Complaint: HEA-obsessed friends and family. Co-Complainant: Gabriel Higgins, Librarian.
Author: Heidi Cullinan
Cover Artist: Angela Waters
Rating: 4.00 of 5 Stars
Arthur Anderson doesn’t want anything to do with love and romance, and he certainly doesn’t want to play Santa in his mother’s library fundraising scheme. He knows full well what she really wants is to hook him up with the town’s lanky, prissy librarian.
It’s clear Gabriel Higgins doesn’t want him, either—as a Santa, as a boyfriend, as anyone at all. But when Arthur’s efforts to wiggle out of the fundraiser lead to getting to know the man behind the storytime idol, he can’t help but be charmed. The least he can do is be neighborly and help Gabriel find a few local friends.
As their fiery arguments strike hotter sparks, two men who insist they don’t date wind up doing an awful lot of dating. And it looks like the sleigh they both tried not to board could send them jingling all the way to happily ever after.
Contains a feisty librarian, a boorish bear, small town politics, deer sausage, and a boy who wants a doll.
This started out rather slow, while simultaneously passing through two-plus months of time by the end of chapter one. The bright spot were the scenes between Arthur and his nephew Thomas, and Gabriel with Grandma Cory, aka Corrina Anderson. Sort of a jumbled set up that probably could have been more tightly woven. Twas a bit scattered.
By chapter three, things started to pick up. Both Gabriel and Arthur have some humorous one-liners. It did help that the story is told from both of their points of view. This bode well in terms of emotional connections revealing themselves.
Then came the moment. In the Library. With the kids, and their books. I couldn’t help but smile.
Arthur is sweet and likes his kink-lite, he’s stubborn and a bit of an odd duck. Best of all? In spite of his stubbornness, especially in regards to what he may truly want out of life, he’s pretty darn good at reading other people. Aaaaaaaand since he doesn’t possess much of a filter, he lets them know about it, too. I love this mix of denying his ability to be self-aware while being very in tune with everyone else. I think it’s a very human thing to do.
Enter Gabriel. He’s got a multitude of internal battles waging and brewing. To say he needs someone with an abundance of patience, well… enter Arthur?
The sentence structure suffers now and then. I would be reading from Arthur’s point of view but then it read as if we were back inside Gabriel’s head. Along with this, there were definitely missing scene breaks on the page. One paragraph was Arthur’s domain and then it was Gabriel’s in the next. My guess is this simply due to this being a review copy. But the sentence structure problems would be there regardless of the scene breaks.
Opposites do in fact attract. I find it interesting when some people are surprised by this, especially when they’re one of the opposites. Arthur and Gabriel are opposites in many ways, inside and out. Except in one. And then another. And these things fuel this twisty, hot, unsteady and undeniable ride they find themselves taking together.
Have I mentioned how shamelessly hot this is? No? Oh, how remiss of me. Ahem, this is hot. Not just because of the sex and how it is twixt Arthur and Gabriel (I don’t think I’m letting anything out of the bag by including that, yes, they have sex) but what they see in each other. Arthur knows Gabriel wants certain things but has great difficulty in admitting and asking for them. Gabriel responds unreservedly (despite himself) to Arthur because his instincts tell him he’ll be safe if he does.
heard from the peanut gallery
”Do we remember Arthur being this talkative?!”
I know, right? I’m trying to remember, too. What I do know is that his bandying about of those endearments towards Gabriel would normally make me cringe. Somehow, from Arthur they sucked me in just like they drove Gabriel wild and spoke to his very huge and wanting heart.
The story hits its stride, along with the writing itself, about halfway through. Emotion was kicked up a gargantuan notch. And what’s with me and loving the kids in books recently? Must be the great wordsmithing. 😀
There’s no grand overarching plotline here. Just two people trying to work through life’s challenges, each other, and the people in their town, their families. They suffer through failure and demonstrate bravery. And they love. They fall in love. Let me leave you with this:
They knelt there in front of the fire, staring at one another, all the words out between them. All the ghosts chased out, the dark shame faded away.
Arthur smiled, his eyes shiny. “I never even knew to dream of a man like you.”
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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