Author ~ J.R. Loveless
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 21st December 2016
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance, Christmas
Lane Freeman supposed there were worse places to be dumped than a place named Christmas Valley. After being ejected from the foster care system, he spent the past five years hitchhiking and moving around. But six months of a steady job at Tal’s Bar and Grill, an apartment, and even a three-legged cat have him almost ready to risk putting down a few roots when Tal’s brother comes home for the holidays.
Dallas firefighter Trey Jenkins reluctantly accepts that Lane isn’t like the other drifters who’ve come through his brother’s place. A fragile attraction begins to bloom between them in spite of the many reasons they each have to fight it. Trey wants to give Lane a family, but experience has taught Lane to depend on no one but himself. Will winter love burn hot in the town called Christmas Valley or will Lane return to his wandering ways?
This is such sweet novella, perfect to indulge yourself with on a Christmas holiday afternoon. Lane Freeman was orphaned when his parents were killed in a car accident at just fifteen years old. Since then he has been on his own after aging out of the foster care system at eighteen. He has spent a lot of time hitchhiking from place to place and not putting down any roots until he is stranded in Christmas Valley. Tal, the owner of a bar and grill, gave him a job and helped him get a place to live and together with his three legged cat Chloe, he has been living and working in one place for the last six months. I loved it already, an orphan, a three legged animal and a kindly man all make for a good Christmas story. Toss into the mix a hot and hunky fireman in the shape of Tal’s brother Trey and we have all the elements required for this romance.
Trey lives and works in Dallas but has come to visit for the holidays. He is immediately wary of Lane as he has seen his brother taken for a ride one too many times before, drifters abusing Tal’s kind nature. What he fails to realise though is Lane is painfully shy and suffers with social anxiety and is troubled by his past. Lane is terrified of Trey at first and I really didn’t blame him. He came over as very aggressive upon initially meeting Lane. Tal has worked very hard to draw Lane out of his shell over the previous six months so immediately sees Lane retreating and has a word with his brother. Things do thaw and they form a connection. They are snowed in and things start to progress but Lane is terrified by his past and has no self esteem and so can’t see why Trey would want anything to do with him. He is also haunted by a very specific time in foster care and doesn’t want a repeat. He is well aware that Trey lives in Dallas and so will disappear again after the holidays are over and he isn’t willing to risk a broken heart and loneliness again so he tries to safeguard his heart. I really felt the emotions with Lane.
After spending some time with Tal and Trey’s parents over the Christmas he desperately wants to be a part of a family but still is safeguarding himself and so shuts down a bit. It’s not until Trey comes to find him on New Years Eve that Lane lets himself imagine a future with Trey. They do get together and they do get their happy ever after and their journey to getting there is definitely worth a read. I really enjoyed a cosy afternoon reading this and I definitely felt a little more in the Christmas spirit because of it.