Title: Death to Christmas Sweaters
Series: Warmest Wishes: Advent Calendar 2018
Author: LE Franks
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 56 Pages
Category: Contemporary, Holiday Romance
At a Glance: Chess and Benjamin have a well-written chemistry, and their HEA is both real and totally believable. I enjoyed this story, it made me smile. Totally recommended!
Reviewed By: Carrie
Blurb: Chess and Benjamin are casual lovers, each hiding his devotion to the other and his wish for more. But Chess is a wealthy playboy who—Benjamin believes—will never settle down. And Chess is sure, with the way Benjamin keeps him at arm’s length, that he can’t be interested in getting serious.
They’re destined for a head-on collision as Chess plans for a holiday escape designed to send Benjamin’s ardor spiking like the temperatures in Los Angeles, while Benjamin desperately drags his feet, wanting to cool things down to protect his vulnerable heart. But when the ghosts of Chess’s Christmas past and Benjamin’s unwelcome present converge at LAX, it’s obvious there are other forces at play and about to take over.
Drawn into their respective family dramas at a joint gathering, will Chess and Benjamin finally take a stand for each other and the relationship they both want, or will the holiday finally take its toll?
Review: Don’t you just hate when people make assumptions that aren’t true? Sometimes, we can be so close to someone that we don’t see the big picture of what is going on in their life, or how they feel, so we make assumptions based on prior knowledge that, frankly, can be way off base. That’s the premise of this love story by LE Franks, where Christmas becomes a catalyst by which feelings and truths are pushed out into the light, and ugly sweaters are a validation of feelings long denied and recently embraced.
Chess and Benjamin have been “together” for years, as casual lovers and best friends. They both wish that they could have more, but are too afraid to put themselves out there in case it all goes down badly. Friends is way better than nothing, right?
Benjamin has about had it. He’s reached a boiling point in his relationship with Chess, and he just can’t take it anymore. Wanting someone so badly, who doesn’t seem to want you back in quite the same way, sucks. Benjamin has had to work hard to become the man he wants to be. He moved to a new continent, away from his traditional Indian family, stifled his accent and found a job he loves. And Chess, he found Chess, but he’s now is trying to figure out how to break up with someone who isn’t your boyfriend, right before Christmas.
Chess has been in love with Benjamin for forever, it seems. Having to work around the arm’s length that the man keeps him at has been a challenge, but Chess has done it, hoping and praying that Benjamin will wake up and see how much he means to Chess. So far, it’s not happening. Taking refuge in his gregarious personality to hide the hurt is Chess’s only solace. Keep it simple, keep it light, but don’t, under any circumstances, let the man go, has become his mantra.
Circumstances conspire and fate steps in and suddenly, Chess and Benjamin are having a much different Christmas than either man planned on. Instead of that lovely trip to Aspen that has already been paid for, they both are spending Christmas at Chess’ family home, replete with all the siblings, an aunt from hell, and even Benjamin’s parents to boot. What ensues is a slightly twisty, vastly entertaining story of family and expectations and love. I absolutely adored all the personalities that Franks has stuffed into this short story. Each of the secondary characters was a pleasure to meet and played their parts to perfection. When pushed to the breaking point, both men have to own up to the way they feel and, yes, you want to hit them in the head with bats, but you are also so glad that honesty finally won and love conquers even the most stubborn male mindset.
Chess and Benjamin have a well-written chemistry, and their HEA is both real and totally believable. I enjoyed this story, it made me smile. For a short Christmas novella, it had a quirky storyline, interesting characters, MCs with a zing between them, and a nod to the importance of all kinds of family and the roles they play in our lives. Totally recommend!
You can buy Death to Christmas Sweaters here:
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