Author: L.D. Blakeley
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: MM Holiday
Summary: The most wonderful time of the year?
When Jamison Pritchett is roped into replacing the mall photographer at Santa’s Village a week before Christmas, he’s certain he’ll be spending the holidays recovering from a nervous breakdown. A throng of sugar-frenzied kids might be enough to send this uptight photographer back into the darkroom permanently. Inappropriate thoughts about his far-too-attractive—and far-too-young—assistant aren’t helping fight that urge to hide, either.
For Noah Hawkins, adulting is a snap. Too bad relationships aren’t. With his business temporarily closed for repairs, he’s happy to help his sister out of a jam, even if the costume he’s given to wear borders on obscene. Constantly being mistaken for a teenager is no treat either, especially when he discovers his temporary new co-worker is sexy as hell and 15 years his senior.
Can Noah convince Jamison that age is just a number? Or will Jamison resist the gift Santa seems to be handing him on a platter?
Review: In a word, cute. Jamison is an uptight photographer who has been roped into doing Santa photos at the mall by his best friend and business partner, Abi. The mall at Christmas time and Santa’s village in particular are, in Jamison’s opinion, “…the Seventh Circle of Hell.” Well, at least he will have help, in the form of Abi’s brother, Noah. Except brother is a no show. All Jamison has is a high school age elf, who magically makes the kids (Jamison is sure some of them have 666 tattooed somewhere on their person) actually behave.
When Jamison goes to Abi’s to complain he is confronted with a towel-clad dreamboat. Noah. Noah is staying with Abi due to a breakup with his boyfriend, Travis, who left him with a mortgage he didn’t want. He also had trouble with his salon needing repairs, so it’s closed for a while. Noah is young but not high school and he’s teasing and funny. He’s also responsible and mature, which takes Jamison a little while to realize. I enjoyed the path these two take from meeting to friends to more.
There is an age difference here. Jamison is 39, Noah 24. Jamison initially feels old around Noah and his friends. “When had 39 become so ancient?” He realizes he has let work become the be-all and end-all to his life. “Not even 40 and ready for the retirement home, apparently.” But once he begins to open up a little, he realizes that it was his attitude causing that feeling, not his age. “Apparently it was possible to feel ancient and pubescent all at the same time.” I loved how Jamison unwound.
We get to see the idiot that is Travis and I couldn’t help but wonder, what did Noah see in him in the first place? Jamison is pretty much alone in the world – he doesn’t do well in social situations and so being behind the camera is the ultimate solution. He watches the world more than participates. At least until Noah.
I liked this story very much. I felt it ended more with a HFN, because the relationship is so new, but a solid one and one where both of them are making an effort. A massage with peppermint oil, something I adore, was a big hit with Jamison. There is a recipe for a Candy Cane Martini at the end, which I have to say was delicious.