Jason is having second thoughts. He’s let his good friend, Molly, convince him that a night in a lavish Vegas hotel – and a one night stand – is a good idea. It’s been two years since his partner was killed, and Jason hasn’t been with anyone since then. Mark is ready to finally live out his fantasy. Having only recently come out to a small number of people, Mark is still incredibly nervous about his sexual orientation. But both Mark and Jason are in for a few surprises, and a very Merry Christmas.
There was a small twist at the start that took me totally by surprise. It was an excellent way to add tension to this short story without detracting either from the sexy romance of it or feel too clichéd. I thought it really helped to add an edge between Jason and Mark too. Despite Jason’s (well founded) reservations, the two men quickly end up in bed and I found the sex between them scorching hot. The sex scene is erotic and of a good length, especially considering how short the story is. But I would have loved more of it. A follow-up sex scene, or even the hinted at BDSM scene – something after the emotional resolution would have rounded this story out perfectly to my mind.
I really enjoyed how the author gave a good amount of plot for this short story. This wasn’t all about the sex, but also about a real hurt in Jason’s past, and a big decision for Mark’s present and future. There wasn’t just a few throwaway lines here, but what I thought was a good, solid amount of plot. The characters were also real and complicated. Die-hard romantics should be warned there is a Happy For Now ending – but personally I feel there is definitely a positive spin to the conclusion and only the most hard-core Happily Ever After readers could find fault with it.
Overall I really enjoyed the short story. While a bit more sex would have been icing on the cake, this was a good, strong story and I’ll happily read more of Ms Snow’s work. Recommended.
Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short Reviews. It has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.