An M/M Christmas, episode 3

The Cupids Do Christmas (Public Limited Cupids Book 2) by [Curtis, Riza] But to Love More: A Holiday to Remember by [Cassidy, Foster Bridget]  You've Been Knotty: Gay paranormal mpreg holiday romance by [Larkin, Kellan]

The Cupids Do Christmas (Public Limited Cupids Book 2) by [Curtis, Riza]This was a really cute story.  It's the first I've read by this author and, obviously, from this series and I was impressed by how many interesting things there were in this short story.  Shifters, Christmas and other holiday lore, magic, red threads of fate, a little steam, a big dose of cute attraction, and a ton of heartfelt goodness.  There wasn't really any groundwork or background given, we're kind of expected to accept all the parts that make up their world and that's actually okay in this instance.  It's a little confusing in the beginning but once you put it aside it's easier to enjoy the story for what it is.  I like the MC's even though we don't get to know them very well, a little more from Piotr than Danny, but from what we can see they make a good match.  It's more than an HFN but less than an HEA but I'm okay with that in the end.  There's a lot of holiday crossover and cuteness that make up for the lack of depth because this ends up just being a cute story with a sweet HFN/HEA.  3 stars.
 The Cupids Do Christmas: Public Limited Cupids Book 2, Riza Curtis

But to Love More: A Holiday to Remember by [Cassidy, Foster Bridget]Simple, sweet, and like sinking into a warm bath kind of comfortable.  Carlos and Mel are friends from childhood.  Mel always thought that Carlos was like a brother and close friend at the same time that Carlos was holding a torch for Mel.  Neither was aware of the adoration turning into attraction until Mel left to live his life thousands of miles away.  When Christmas brings Mel home Carlos decides it's time to make his move.  Despite the initial confusion and wariness Mel opens himself to the possibility of more with Carlos.  What he finds is something that he wasn't expecting but can't for the life of him think of how things could have ended up any other way.  Even when Aldo, Carlos' brother and Mel's best friend, tries his best to get between them Mel is determined to keep moving toward the future he sees for them.  Aldo won't give up, though, not until a family confrontation at Midnight Mass ends with Nana giving her seal of approval and sharp scolding to everyone who dares to interfere where they're overstepping.  The whole story was short and sweet with a built-in shared background for both MC's that gave depth that would otherwise be lost with the length of the story.  A nice, gentle conclusion that implied an HEA fitting with the warmth of the season.  3 stars.
 But to Love More, Foster Bridget Cassidy

You've Been Knotty: Gay paranormal mpreg holiday romance by [Larkin, Kellan]This had a good idea, the reality, however, wasn't as touching as I was hoping for.  Eben is a crotchety dragon shifter that hides everything about himself and his desires because of what he is and the idea that he could never deserve the light and youth of the wolf shifter that captured his shriveled heart.  Jake is in a bind.  Pregnant by the reluctant Eben, driven from his pack for falling pregnant by a non-wolf, and his life is in danger from the only family he's ever known.  Both men are in a situation neither predicted nor wanted...well, not that Eben would admit otherwise even if he did.

There's a lot of tension and unsaid sentiments that just keep not getting said through most of the story.  Jake's immaturity never settled and he never says out loud that he has come to terms with the truth of Eben's cautions concerning the wolf pack.  And his reaction to Eben's true nature is pretty maddening.  Not his initial shock and panic, no, it's when Eben admits that it was part of his reasoning for running Jake off and then Jake acts like it wouldn't have mattered and thus shames Eben a bit for it.  Ugh...I'm not a fan.  Eben grew on my quite a bit because he was willing to change and become more demonstrative for the benefit of others.  Jake stayed the same and I never really warmed to him.  Overall, it had promise but didn't really live up to it.  The story was nice and the dragon bit, the "nephew" part, and the confrontation in the pack office were the highlights.  The romance, Jake, and all the silent, brooding angsting were the low points.  2.5 stars.
 You've Been Knotty, Kellan Larkin

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