The holidays have come and gone but it’s always time for romance.
This is book two in a series, and although I have not read book one, this works as a complete stand alone just fine. The premise is pretty basic; Arthur Anderson is broken up with by his friend with benefits because of Arthur’s refusal to commit. His nosy mother means well but thinks he should be happy and married off now, so she concocts a scheme to hook him up with the town’s library director, as she volunteers there. The town is putting on a big holiday get together as a fundraiser for the library, and she knows just who should play Santa and the elf for the town sleigh rides.
Gabriel Higgins is a library god. He runs the whole place single-handedly and is trying to bring some open-mindedness to this small mining town. Arthur and Gabriel both try to wiggle out of the situation, but the more they try to get out of it, the more they learn about one another. The least they can do is be friends right? But being friends may be harder than it seems.
I grabbed this book off the shelf to fulfill a romance prompt for ARRT and I was really pleasantly surprised! Heidi Cullinan is pretty well known for writing gay romance, but this is my first book of hers. The characterization was really fun and I liked that she actually focused some attention on the trouble of living in a small town (close-mindedness, loss of jobs, etc) and bundled that with reasoning for why it was so important for these two to get together. The romance felt pretty real and it grew over time, which was fun to read. My only complaint is that this book goes in HEAVY with a lot of kink, which while I am totally fine with, a lot of those reading the book may not. Because I am a librarian I’m always thinking about what patrons will think. I don’t think any of my romance reader patrons would take issue with a gay couple, but they may take issue with the book having no mention of overtly sexual scenes only to find out halfway through there are some pretty steamy senses involving consensual non-consensual sex. Basically one of the characters has a rape fantasy and while it is handed incredibly well within the book, it is a plot point that may trigger some of those reading. Just a heads up.
Overall I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this and I look forward to reading others by this author. Also her approach to libraries was AMAZING. Best ever portrayal of what working in a library is like.
Title: Sleigh Ride
Author: Heidi Cullinan
Three Descriptors: Emotional, Kinky, Enemies to Lovers,