Sleigh Ride 2015 Advent Calendar: Blame It on the Fruitcake, Four Alternative Christmas Presents

Author:Pat Henshaw, Tam MacNeil

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Rating: 4 stars, 3 stars

Buy Links: DSP

Type: Short Stories

Received from Publisher

 

Blurb: Blame It on the Fruitcake

Fruitcake is the laughingstock of the holiday season. But can it be an aphrodisiac instead? Motorcycle mechanic Sam McGuire is surprised to find a gaily wrapped box on his doorstep with a piece of fruitcake accompanying an invitation to a holiday party.

Wondering if he’ll fit in, Sam attends the party—mostly to get more of the fruitcake he falls in love with—and meets Jay Merriweather, his new neighbor. The lure of Jay’s big family and its holiday tradition of enjoying Grandma’s fruitcake hook Sam, as does the sexy man himself.

But Sam can’t imagine why handsome, college-educated Jay would want someone like him, who was raised in a children’s home and barely graduated high school. Maybe the magic of the holiday season can help two men who seem so different come together like the ingredients in a well-made fruitcake.

Four Alternative Christmas Presents

It’s Christmas Eve, and newly minted superhero Matt AKA “Strong Man” is in the middle of taking down one of Central City’s most notorious criminals, the mesmerist and villain Dr. Destructo. It’s Matt’s first mission, and he’s working with his idol and secret crush, Jake X-Ray. He doesn’t want anything to go wrong.

Unfortunately for him, everything goes wrong. Soon Matt finds himself racing through alternative presents, trying to capture Dr. Destructo and trying to figure out why all the Matts in these other scenarios have the one thing he really wants—a relationship with Jake.

 

Review:  Blame It on the Fruitcake

I really liked this one. For a short this one felt like it had a lot of depth. Of course it’s a little festive too. Mostly it’s just the fruitcake but it all comes back around to family and the holidays. Despite the length of this short I felt like I got to know the characters quite a bit. Sam was an orphan passed over for adoption his entire life. That’s kind of done a number on his self worth. So he’s told himself he’s all he’s got and that’s fine. Sam has his own business as mechanic. He’s made something out of himself. He can’t help but not feel deserving of his hot new educated neighbor’s attention. Sam is totally attracted to Jay. Jay seems pretty set on dating Sam but there’s always that self doubt niggling at Sam. He’s been let down too many times to just see where things go. Even if things between them are amazing.

This is another one that had great characters. Some shorts just feel like a really good complete story and for me this was one of those. I understood Sam’s fear of giving his heart and hopes to Jay. It made his wanting something between them feel so much more momentous. Jay was totally likable and obviously wanted Sam from the start. Thank goodness he’s persistent. I really liked Granny. This one had a great HEA. It was more poignant after hearing about Sam’s struggle in life having never belonging to anyone. I recommend this one for sure. Again not super festive but totally worth the read.

Four Alternative Christmas Presents 

Christmas and superheroes sounded like a win win to me. Unfortunately in this story the Christmas part felt kind of thrown in to fit the prompt. It wasn’t bad but I didn’t feel any swoony festive cheer after reading it. So not your typical Christmas short. Some people may like that though. To each their own.

While capturing a baddie they’ve hunted for a while, Matt and his mentor and secret crush Jake are forced to face their feelings. The baddie has a weird alternative universe gadget that sends them on the chase through four different situations all revolving around him and Jake being in love or lust. This forces Matt to face his desire for Jake when they finally make it back to their current reality.

I don’t really get the present angle of this one other than it gives them to each other I guess. It was cute and action packed ending in an HEA. There was some fun banter with a superhero spoof vibe. Jake is a jerk to Matt initially out of frustration because he shouldn’t be attracted to a guy he’s mentoring. Matt doesn’t understand why he doesn’t like him. It’s all a good way to hide their obliviousness to their attraction to each other. Everything happens pretty quickly as they’re thrown from reality to reality. I just didn’t love this one. I never really warmed to the characters and I didn’t feel invested in them as a couple.

 

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