Release Day Blitz: M/M ~ Winter Wonderland by Heidi Cullinan ~ (5 Star Review, Excerpt, Playlist + Giveaway)
RELEASE DATE: November 10, 2015
Format: Novel • Genre: Contemporary/Holiday • Length: 70,000 words
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-61923-011-8
Print ISBN: coming soon
Series: Minnesota Christmas
Characters: Paul Jansen, Kyle Parks
Finding Mr. Right can be a snow lot of fun.
Paul Jansen was the only one of his friends who wanted a relationship. Naturally, he’s the last single man standing. No gay man within a fifty-mile radius wants more than casual sex. No one, that is, except too-young, too-twinky Kyle Parks, who sends him suggestive texts and leaves X-rated snow sculptures on his front porch.
Kyle is tired of being the town’s resident Peter Pan. He’s twenty-five, not ten, and despite his effeminate appearance, he’s nothing but the boss in bed. He’s loved Paul since forever, and this Christmas, since they’re both working on the Winter Wonderland festival, he might finally get his chance for a holiday romance.
But Paul comes with baggage. His ultra-conservative family wants him paired up with a woman, not a man with Logan’s rainbow connection. When their anti-LGBT crusade spills beyond managing Paul’s love life and threatens the holiday festival, Kyle and Paul must fight for everyone’s happily ever after, including their own.
Warning: Contains erotic snow art, toppy twinks, and super-sweet holiday moments. Best savored with a mug of hot chocolate with a dash of spice
Kyle spent the rest of the ride telling Gabriel about the dinner date, about Corrina’s Red Hat Society meeting, about the intimate dinner for two in the shop. He also filled him in on the new plan for the Winter Wonderland project. “Mostly we decided we didn’t understand what was going on, and Paul’s going to see if all of us can meet somewhere on Sunday afternoon. All of us being him, me, you, Arthur, Marcus and Frankie. He says you guys solved last year’s clusterfuck, so maybe that can happen again.”
“That should work. I’ll talk to Arthur.”
“No, don’t. Paul’s going to ask you. Act surprised.”
Gabriel smiled. “Sure. So explain to me now how you were nearly having sex against a door.”
“He kept staring at me. At first I thought I had stuff on my face, and he said I did, but now I wonder. I was different tonight, according to him. I still don’t understand how, because all he said was than usual. Which is annoying, because mostly I was nervous and self-conscious, but that was when he looked at me like he finally understood I was a male human. Then he looked like he was about to tell me I was too young again, and I kind of went postal on him.”
“Interesting. Go on.”
“Well, I told him I wasn’t too young, said I’d burn up his sheets, and he’d need an ice pack on his stool in the shop the next day.”
Gabriel laughed, a delightful trill reverberating inside the car. “I wish they had surveillance in the shop. I’d rewind it to watch his face.” He glanced across the seat at Kyle, gaze dancing with devilry. “Are you really that toppy?”
This was a weird conversation to be having with his local librarian. Kyle became focused on a loose thread on his mittens. “Just because I’m skinny and limp-wristed doesn’t mean I want to bend over.”
“No, and I don’t mean to stereotype. I will say it surprises me, though now as I truly think about it, maybe not. I can see what Paul means about you being different, if you were letting that side of you out.”
They were at the café now, which had barely any cars left in the lot. Gabriel pulled in beside Kyle’s car. As Kyle released his seat belt, Gabriel turned to him with a smile. “I think you and I need to get to know one another better. Frankie too. When we meet on Sunday for this get-together I don’t know about yet, let’s discuss a time the three of us can escape to Duluth.” He waggled his eyebrows. “Or maybe even the Cities. We could do some early Christmas shopping.”
Kyle hadn’t been to Minneapolis in forever. “That sounds great.”
Gabriel winked and made gentle shooing motions at the door. “Go on. Drive safe, all right?”
“You too,” Kyle said, and hurried out of the car.
It took him an extra fifteen minutes to get home, and when he pulled into the garage, he let out a heavy sigh of relief. As he stomped snow off his boots and hung his things in the mudroom, Linda Kay’s worried, bespectacled face appeared at the window. When he opened the door, she enveloped him in a tight hug, pressing her face into his chest. “Kyle David, you scared me half to death. You should have come home hours ago.”
Kyle hugged her back, kissing her hair. “I’m sorry, sweetie. I didn’t mean to upset you. I was on a date.”
She lifted her face, worry evaporating to interest. “Oh? With who?”
Kyle’s lips quirked. “Paul.”
Her face screwed up into her beautiful, squinty smile. “You devil. Did you make it to third base?”
“I didn’t even get to first. I’m playing hard to get.”
Linda Kay let go of him and rolled her eyes. “Well, that’s got to be a first. Is it working?”
Kyle remembered the way Paul had looked at him, back pressed against the door. “Maybe.”
“Then keep your zipper shut, buddy.” She took his hand and pulled him toward the kitchen. “Let’s celebrate with hot cocoa and marshmallows.”
Kyle followed her, smiling and feeling loved and warm and home. “Sounds perfect.”
Spotify Playlist: ~ Playlist
*** ARC provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. ***
Paul wants to have a relationship, to find that person that will love him and make him feel safe. The only problem is that no one seems to want that with him. No one except too young, too twinky Kyle, who pursues him relentlessly, but that wouldn't work. For one, the age difference, and then, two bottoms together? No way no how. Only Kyle isn't as young as everyone seems to believe and neither is he a bottom, and with the help of Paul's friends he is set to conquer the man of his dreams.
Gabriel and Arthur's mother help Kyle learn more of Paul and the more that he sees, the more that he likes. As they help plan the Winter Wonderland festival, both Paul and Kyle are drawn together and start exploring their attraction for each other. However, there are things that play against them, like Paul's family who are not all that supportive of Paul's choices.
I loved the way Gabriel and Arthur's mother helped Kyle so he could capture Paul's attention, and I loved that we got to see Kyle interacting with his sister and the rest of his family and how well he fit with Paul's friends. Despite the age difference, Paul and Kyle were just perfect for each other. It was lovely to see them adjust to all the changes around them as they worked on the Winter Wonderland festival and on their relationship. It was also nice to see Kyle realize his childhood crush had turned into something much deeper.
I adored this story to bits! It's fun, angsty, complex and filled with twists and turns and fascinating characters that will just draw you into their Winter Wonderland and make you invested in their story. Definitely an amazing read!
Rating: 5 Stars!!!
Rating: 5 Stars!!!
Proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality, Heidi writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after. A member of Romance Writers of America since 1999, Heidi has served as president of Rainbow Romance Writers, run local chapter newsletters, and volunteered for committees on the national level. In addition to teaching writing since 1993, she also served as the writer’s workshop coordinator for GayRomLit Retreat for 2013. Find out more about Heidi at heidicullinan.com.