Author: Heidi Cullinan
Publisher: Self Published
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 11/08/2016
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: BDSM, Contemporary, Drama, Gay Romance, Menage/Poly, Winter Holiday
Trimming the tree is more fun with three.
Twin Cities developer Dale Davidson has come to Logan, Minnesota, to turn it into Christmas Town, not to give in to Arthur Anderson’s offer to join him and his fiancé, Gabriel Higgins, for a Christmas Eve threesome. Dale is polyamorous, but it’s clear Arthur is offering a night of fun and nothing more. Maybe one night with the couple he admires so much won’t hurt…
Together the three of them light a fire hot enough to boil Lake Superior in January, and one night of fun becomes an extended engagement as Dale puts down some tentative roots in his new hometown. Everyone loves Dale, Logan’s own Santa Claus, and somehow no one knows what wild times are happening right underneath their noses. No one knows, either, the complicated ways they’re falling in love with one another.
But a shadow from Dale’s past emerges, an abuser threatening him with violence and shame. Ronny doesn’t want a happy ever after for Dale, only to draw him back into a consuming darkness. It will take the love of not only Gabriel and Arthur but all of Logan to convince their Santa he has nothing to be ashamed of—and that he will always have a home in their hearts.
So here we have an established couple, fiancés Arthur and Gabriel, who are about to add a third to their relationship. Only, they go about it in a rather peculiar way. This isn’t any garden-variety m/m/m book where a couple plus one rides off into the sunset as a blissful thruple. It isn’t even a love triangle what happens here, more some kind of erotic V. Or at least that how it starts.
I can see how this book might disappoint readers who got invested in Arthur/ Gabriel during their first book, Sleigh Ride (Book Two in the Minnesota Christmas Series ) or how it might be puzzling if you expect a “traditional” polyamorous relationship – you know, balanced emotions and equal standing for everyone involved – because this isn’t what this story is about. It’s actually about three different relationships – Arthur and Gabriel, Gabriel and Dale, Dale and Arthur – one as unique and as important, necessary even, for all three men.
Since I didn’t read Sleigh Ride, I got to go into this without any preconceived notions. Which might’ve been conducive to the fact that I liked this book as much as I did, but certainly not the only reason. The thing is, I love reading about unconventional relationships. Polyamorous, imbalance of power, differences in age, education, cultural background – make it a believable romance, and I’m a happy camper. And this book pushed a lot of those buttons for me. I thoroughly enjoyed the various relationship dynamics, and I found something to love about each of the protagonists that had me rooting for all three of them to find their really hard-earned HEA’s. The beauty of it, as far as I’m concerned, was the fact that each of them got to be the lynchpin at some point in time. Everyone deserves getting their needs met after all, and love in all its many and varied shades isn’t to be defined but by the people who built their lives on it. Admirably done and just amazing.
However, while the romance part of the plot just swept me off my feet, the rest of it had me struggling at times. I had some problems with the way the writing turned overly didactic, even preachy at times. And the villain of the story was just so abysmally evil; well, his downfall was obligatory, of course, but I wasn’t quite happy with the way this went down. There were just a few too many lucky coincidences involved. But in the end, everyone got what they deserved, including the whole town of Logan, Minnesota, so I won’t complain too hard.
All in all, this book took a couple of tried and trusted tropes and put them in a whole new light for me. I just love it when that happens. If you feel the same way, I can only recommend this book.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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