Title: Let It Snow
Author: Devon Rhodes
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: contemporary holiday
Length: 44 pages
Since he’s housesitting a gorgeous inn over the holidays, Garrett invites his single friends to help keep Christmas merry. Then the snow hits and his friends can’t make it up as planned. Alone on Christmas Eve, Garrett makes a private Christmas wish for Ethan to see him as more than a best friend and a willing sub to spank. When the snow stops, will Garrett’s hopeful wishes come true?
Normally I'd shy off at "sub to spank" because I don't care all that much for BDSM, but I think I must have hiccupped on that phrase and missed it, and in this case, that's a very good thing. Enlarging my horizons by accident, you could say.
Garrett's friends have promised to join him at the ski-resort inn he's babysitting—they'll have the place to themselves, but not until later in the holidays. Alone in an inn full of sturdy four-poster beds and wishing he wasn't, Garrett gives us the back story on his and Ethan's relationship as his fantasies while playing with himself and a toy. This was nicely done and very hot, and a good thing Garrett's physical needs weren't left as unfulfilled as his emotional needs. He and Ethan have a "friendship with scenes" but Garrett wishes they were really lovers.
He wakes up Christmas morning to find his friends have fought their way into the mountains to be with him. Chris and Will's personalities are deftly drawn in a handful of sentences; they feel very well rounded in a small bit of page time. They have their own problems, which don't overshadow Garrett and Ethan's, but do throw them into sharp relief and spur a resolution at the same time. It comes to a head here:
Chris remained motionless for a moment, accepting the comfort as the focal point of the four-way hug, then lifted his head. “You know, this is pretty touchy-feely considering only one of us is gay.”
And then all the cats come out of their bags in some well-paced revelations.
The story is short and really consists of two sex scenes and conversation, but so much unfolds within it that I found it highly enjoyable. Devon Rhodes did some really nice characterization and relationships; the friendship between all four men was palpable and important to the storyline, so it wasn't just two onlookers cheering the main couple along.
The really implausible element is why the owners of the inn would abandon their money-maker during the peak of the high season, but the characters do make very good use of the place.
The domination elements were very mild, which your light-weight reviewer appreciates, but felt honest and real. The second sex scene, where Ethan brings Garrett's dreams to fruition, lapses into the "only anal sex is real sex" fallacy, but in more than one way it does show how their relationship is changing and deepening. There's also a nice streak of humor to keep them from going totally mushy at one another.
The Christmas elements are very subdued, serving more to point out the gaps in the relationships that need filling, and the story would be equally pleasing to read out of the holidays. I closed the file with a big case of the warm fuzzies. 4.25 marbles