What can I say besides 'I am Canadian' so when a book about hockey and my favorite holiday came on my radar I could say nothing more than 'please and thank you'.
I'd love to say that I read the entire anthology but that was not the case at this time...will I go back and read some if not all of the rest...hopefully at some point I'll find the time to do so but for now lets start with the stories that I read. In all there were 3. Most of the stories in this anthology are m/f, however, there were 3 that are m/m and two of them are written by a V.L. Locey and R.J. Scott the authors of 'The Harrisburg Railers' a series that I have absolutely loved and the third story is by Susan Scott Shelley author of the 'Buffalo Bedlam' series. So my rating for this anthology is based strictly on these three stories and I will also include a brief review and an individual rating for each of these stories...
4 stars for 'A Star-Crossed Christmas' by V.L. Locey
This one is 'A Cayuga Cougars Holiday' short story and while I haven't read that series I really enjoyed this short holiday story and even though I haven't read this series I had no problem following this story as the characters from this story don't seem to have been central to any of the previous Cougar stories.
Mitch was the back-up goalie for the Cougars after August Miles gets called up to the pros and when he returns home for the holidays he sees the opportunity to re-connect with his best friend Shaun. Someone he shared a kiss with two years early...a kiss that left Mitch in emotional turmoil as he realized that he wasn't as straight as he thought himself to be and maybe it's time he and Shaun found out if a kiss was just a kiss.
This one is the quintessential friends to lovers story and was simply delightful. A feel good story filled with the magic of the holiday season and a grandmother with a quilt fabric store...I want Shaun's grandmother to adopt me...I won't even try to be subtle about that one. There's not a complicated or convoluted plot here and for anyone wanting to just read a sweet, feel-good holiday story about two friends finding love together this one's a good choice...definitely recommended.
4 stars for 'Dallas Christmas' by RJ Scott
Logan plays hockey for the Burlington Dragons...how can you not like that team name? I mean really, is that the best or what? Anyways back to Logan. It's been about a year since things ended between Logan and Archie brother of the Dragon's Team Captain because you know...you can't play hockey and be gay...a sad but true reality of our world and one that will hopefully disappear from the world of sports sooner rather than later.
It's a year later and Morgan finds himself spending the holidays in a rental house with 3 of his teammates when his past walks in looking every bit as hot as Morgan remembers him being. Archie's feelings for Morgan haven't changed. As Christmas approaches and the men do their dance around each other and everything that's between them. Morgan finds himself faced with feelings he doesn't know how to handle and decisions that he doesn't want to deal with but time waits for no man and Morgan has to figure out what he needs and what he can live without now and not when it's convenient for him.
Morgan for me was every young gay man who ever laced on a pair of skates wanting to make it in the NHL, wanting that symbol of success for themselves and knowing that to have one dream they needed to deny another...the dream of having that one person in your life who makes your world right and is there for you no matter what.
Archie loves Morgan and he's willing to stand beside him, fight for what they can have if only Morgan will say those 3 precious little words that would let Archie know it's all going to be worth it.
I really liked these two and would thoroughly enjoy a longer story about them. One that gives us more of them as a couple dealing with living life on their own terms and not anyone else's...maybe Morgan could go to the Railers...it's just an idea ;)
3 stars for Susan Scott Shelley's 'Holding On Tight' a short story from 'The Buffalo Bedlam' series.
Ok first off I'm going to say I think a good portion of this is on me. 'Holding On Tight' is about Vince Forsberg and his boyfriend Joseph Parelli as they share their first Christmas together as partners.
This one was sweet and had some adorable moments and some holiday moments that I'm sure we can all relate to. Those disasters that try as we might seem to be unavoidable. Again I liked this pairing but I didn't share feel the same connection to them that I did with the couples in the first two stories and I think that's a little bit due to the fact that this is a new to me author...so, I wasn't as comfortable with their writing style as the other two authors...that's not me saying good or bad just not familiar but more importantly Vince and Joseph are the MCs from 'Skating On Chance' the 4th book in 'The Buffalo Bedlam' series and I think had I read that book at least I would have found a stronger connection with these two MCs. So we're going to wrap this one up at 3 stars with strong potential to have been more.
If you're looking for some short sexy holiday stories to read and especially if you're a fan of hockey, holidays and read both m/f and m/m this one's going to give you a lot of bang for your buck. While 2 of the 3 stories that I read were about characters from existing series they are written to work as standalone stories and while I may have wanted to read the previous story in one case the Christmas story worked on it's own and I had no confusion about characters or events in the Christmas story.
In summary based on the stories that I read if you're a fan of hockey and want some short, sexy reads that offer a chance to revisit some favorite authors and check out some new ones...this one might be just the give to give yourself and enjoy on a cold winter's night or two...maybe 3 because it comes in at 755 pages according to Amazon and 930 according to my e-reader...either way it's a lot of reading pleasure! Happy Holidays!
A copy of 'Hockey Holidays' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.