Author: Eli Easton
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Mm holiday
Summary: Journalism student Gabe Martin gets his first professional assignment—to write about a Christmas charity dinner that benefits a children’s home. It sounds like a total snooze-fest until Gabe learns that the event’s Santa is a mystery man. He shows up in costume and no one has a clue who he is. Uncovering Santa’s identity sounds like the perfect angle to turn a fluff piece into serious journalism.
Mack “The Mountain” McDonall, at 6’10”, is University of Wisconsin-Madison’s enormous star wrestler. When Gabe first claps eyes on him at a wrestling match, it’s lust at first sight. Gabe’s friend, Jordan, sets up the pair on a date. But when Gabe chatters on about his plans for outing Santa, Mack goes cold, and their first meeting becomes an epic fail.
As Gabe researches the children’s home, he learns that Mack has secrets a guy famous for being a brute wouldn’t want the world to know. Can Gabe find his holiday spirit, write a killer article, win the heart of a surly giant, and give everyone a very merry Christmas?
Review: I loved getting to revisit Jordan and Owen from Superhero, because I was so happy to see they are doing so well! In this story the first person point of view of Gabe, a friend of theirs, who is an aspiring journalist working for the local paper. Gabe’s been given the job of covering the annual Elks charity holiday party, a snooze fest piece if he’s ever heard one. He wants to make it an investigative piece, but how? When the Elks leader, Walter, brings up what might me an investigative angle – Who is Santa Claus? – well, Gabe might have something. He’s desperate, so that’s going to be it.
In the meantime, Gabe finally goes with Jordan to one of Owen’s wrestling matches and there sees the be all and end all of hot men, Mack “The Mountain” McDonall. He’s in insta-lust and his reaction to seeing Mack for the first time, “Homina, I said” made me laugh. “Jordan reached over with two fingers and gently brought my jaw up to close my mouth.” “Mountain” is a wrestler, intimidating and “…not just big, he was ripped.” He’s nearly seven feet tall and huge. But of course, appearances are deceiving. “Mack. He acts like a Neanderthal for the fans, but in person, he’s sort of quiet and serious.”
Jordan does a sneaky set up between Gabe and Mack and it seems things are looking good but then Mack shuts down and that was it. You can almost immediately see where this is going and the only question is how it is going to be handled.
I liked reading about the struggles of keeping within wrestling weight, green juice and salmon and no burgers and fries. It takes dedication and both Mack and Owen have that. Mack, while he may be quiet, is funny. “Ten” Is that all you can take?” Gabe, while researching the Elks Santa Secret, gets to know the real Mack and he’s lovely. Gabe has to make some decisions and figure out what he’s doing. “Dios, they should make a Lifetime movie about me. The Stalky McStalker Reporter from Hell.” Come on, Gabe, you aren’t that bad!
Gabe has a Hispanic mother and admittedly they don’t speak much Spanish but he throws a lot of“Dios” out and it seemed off. My work partner is also Hispanic and bilingual but doesn’t do that it made me more aware of it. This is something that niggled at me, not a huge deal but I definitely noticed it.
Seeing Mack interact with kids, with his father, with George…he’s just a sweet, do not use the phrase gentle giant, engineering student who wants to save the environment. He’s a great character. As mentioned, while you know what’s happening very early in the story we do get to see how it plays out, and it plays out well. It’s an enjoyable story, fluffy and angst-free, with easy writing and likeable characters. And Jordan and Owen are as awesome as ever!