Bells and Balls is the fourth episode in the With a Kick series by Clare London and Sue Brown…
Author: Sue Brown
Publisher: Self Published
Cover Artist: Lou Harper
Rating: 4.0 of 5 Stars
Rob Barker had plans for his weekend and they didn’t involve struggling through the pre-Christmas crowds with the five-year-old niece he barely knows. Left with no choice, he grudgingly takes Pearl to see the sights of London but, instead of following the list his sister-in-law gives him, Rob takes her to With A Kick, an ice-cream shop with a difference.
His plan is foiled when he discovers With A Kick is closed for a private children’s party, but the owners kindly let Pearl join in. Rob’s mood improves considerably as he watches Father Christmas hand out presents. Not only is Santa a hot red-head under the beard, he is also one of his rugby team-mates, Mick, a man Rob has always lusted after. After Mick confesses a mutual interest, he agrees to meet Rob at With A Kick’s evening party—where there are definitely no kids – or girls – allowed.
This is the fourth episode in the series set around Ice Cream Parlour ‘With a Kick’. I want this place to exist more desperately with every one of these novellas I read. Maybe if Sue and Clare ever give up writing….(but please don’t)
Clare London and Sue Brown alternate with the novellas, and this one is by Sue Brown. As a fan of both Clare’s and Sue’s work I can tell who wrote which, but they keep the tone and characters so consistent it doesn’t matter one whit.
Bells and Balls can easily be read as a stand-alone, but I heartily suggest you read the series as it is well written, enjoyable fun. In this novella we meet Rob, a rugby playing tree surgeon who doesn’t seem to have a sense of responsibility about anything. He seems to enjoy the life of Riley, although my heart sank when I found out how many Christmases he had spent alone. For reasons explained very comically, he is charged with entertaining his six year old niece for a few hours, and after the awkwardness usually experienced by people unused to small children, he starts to enjoy his role of Uncle. Rob and niece, Pearl, end up attending a private, children’s Christmas party at With a Kick. Realising Santa is someone he has lusted after for a long time… who will be at a private Christmas party there later… Rob buys himself a ticket to that party, and enjoys the children’s event a little more.
I started to like Rob during the chapter containing his interactions with his niece…I’m a sucker for big men becoming gentle, emotional beings because of small children. Sue Brown never over does the sentiment, and the newly formed relationship between Uncle and niece is lovely and believable. Of course the added element here is the ginger haired Santa, Mick. At the private Christmas party (men only), later that night, Santa’s costume is definitely a little sexier and Rob and Mick start their attempt at a relationship.
Although both parties are more than willing, outside events and influences seem hell bent on placing obstacles to them consummating their relationship. This novella is actually very sexually charged, as well as sweet and amusing. I really enjoyed seeing Rob change, as he started to care about people outside of himself, and it is satisfying to see gay men ‘coming out’ to family. The many different, although positive, reactions they get are nicely written. Whether Rob and Mick get together finally…you’ll have to read it and see.
I would like to thank the author 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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