Author ~ Annabeth Albert
Published ~ 6th December 2016
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance, Christmas
In the bustling restaurants, shops, and cafés of Portland, Oregon, things really heat up for the hard-working men behind the scenes when the holidays come into town . . .
For a stationery store owner, the holidays are great for business. But for Hollis Alcott, Christmas reminds him of the tragic events of three years past, and the last thing he wants to do is take part in Portland’s over-abundance of festive cheer. But Sawyer Murphy, a hunky gift shop owner whose brother is married to Hollis’s sister, has made it his mission to pluck Hollis out of his holiday blues. And his plan is beginning to work. Wrapped in the warm glow of newfound passion, the former business rivals hit up Portland’s finest holiday traditions—and Hollis’s icy attitude begins to melt like snowflakes on his tongue. But he isn’t sure he can trust anyone with the only gift he has—his heart—without breaking it like an antique ornament. Unless he can find the courage to take a leap with the one lover he never expected . . .
Wrapped Together by Annabeth Albert is the fifth book in her Portland Heat series. I am a huge fan of this author with her fun and heart-warming books that leave you clenching your heart and happily sighing. This book was no exception. From the first page I was hooked and wanted to see just how things would play out between the surly stationary store owner and the sexy and boisterous gift shop owner with a personality that was hard to ignore. I loved the fact that this was a holiday tale because….. Christmas! There’s always a little magic in the air when it comes to the Christmas season; and, sometimes it’s that winter magic that can help two individuals find love with the last person they expected.
Hollis Alcott and Sawyer Murphy have known each other for years. Both Hollis and Sawyer are twins and their siblings are married to one another. While there has always been a simmering attraction between the two men, both Hollis and Sawyer have never really acted on it with the exception of one incident at their siblings’ wedding. Hollis would rather sweep how he feels about Sawyer under a huge rug, while Sawyer is not opposed to giving in to temptation. They do say opposites attract.
Hollis is reserved and finds joy in simple things like scarves and beautiful pens and stationary. Sawyer is a lively individual, an extrovert who knows the meaning of fun. The one thing they both have in common, beside their love for their siblings and their beautiful niece, is the fact that they both can’t turn down a challenge. So when Sawyer becomes determined to make Hollis believe in the magic of Christmas once again, it is a challenge that Hollis has no choice but to accept. What Hollis does not expect is for his heart to soften as he experiences various holiday traditions with Sawyer. Love is certainly in the air, but will Hollis be brave enough to jump?
The attraction between the pair becomes too hot to handle so they both agree to sex with no strings attached. Sawyer was such a lovable and vibrant character. He was the one that definitely pushed for more. Despite his hesitations, Hollis could not help but give in and succumb to Sawyer’s charms. I loved how Sawyer slowly chipped away at all the carefully-placed layers that were guarding Sawyer’s heart. Hollis’ heart gradually began to melt one sexual innuendo at a time and one sweet gesture at a time. This was a tender, sweet and sexy tale as we watch the two men go from a “frenemies” type of relationship to something more. Something neither one of them expected when they ventured down the road of harmless flirtation and lust. Hollis certainly had a lot of hang-ups regarding letting someone in and allowing them to see him at his most vulnerable, but he was no match for Sawyer’s persistent demeanour. Essentially it all boiled down to whether Hollis was willing to open his heart and allow himself to fall in love with the one person who has made his heart beat the pitter patter of love for quite some time. Could he trust Sawyer with his heart? Can Sawyer break through Hollis’ defenses and make him see how special the Christmas season truly is especially when you share it with someone you love?
All in all, Wrapped Together was a wonderful addition to this series. I love how real the characters this author creates seem to be. Hollis and Sawyer were no exception. This book is another heart-warming gem about learning to open up and letting that someone special in, becoming vulnerable and learning to trust in love even when it happens with the last person you expect. This is a wonderfully executed holiday romance by Ms. Albert. It’s is not bogged down with unnecessary over-the-top angst and drama. What you get is a sweet, fun and light-hearted love story that will leave you happily sighing and clutching your heart. This is definitely a series to check out for lovers of the M/M genre. Highly recommended.
Portland Heat Series
Meet Annabeth Albert
Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.
Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.
Represented by Saritza Hernandez of the Corvisiero Literary Agency