Thursday, December 22, 2016

Santa Baby by Heidi Cullinan

Title: Santa Baby
Author: Heidi Cullinan
My Rating: A-

Genre: Holiday Romance (m/m)
Series: Minnesota Christmas #4
Main Characters: Dale, Gabriel, and Arthur
Release Date: December 2016
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: erotic

Story Overview:
Trimming the tree is more fun with three.

Twin Cities developer Dale Davidson has come to Logan, Minnesota, to turn it into Christmas Town, not to give in to Arthur Anderson’s offer to join him and his fiancé, Gabriel Higgins, for a Christmas Eve threesome. Dale is polyamorous, but it’s clear Arthur is offering a night of fun and nothing more. Maybe one night with the couple he admires so much won’t hurt…

Together the three of them light a fire hot enough to boil Lake Superior in January, and one night of fun becomes an extended engagement as Dale puts down some tentative roots in his new hometown. Everyone loves Dale, Logan’s own Santa Claus, and somehow no one knows what wild times are happening right underneath their noses. No one knows, either, the complicated ways they’re falling in love with one another.

But a shadow from Dale’s past emerges, an abuser threatening him with violence and shame. Ronny doesn’t want a happy ever after for Dale, only to draw him back into a consuming darkness. It will take the love of not only Gabriel and Arthur but all of Logan to convince their Santa he has nothing to be ashamed of—and that he will always have a home in their hearts.

My Review:

Because this was a continuation of Arthur and Gabriel's story, I expected this to be a novella, but it's not. This is a full, complex story that I thoroughly enjoyed, although I'll admit I was surprised by the different tacts the two guys, Arthur and Gabriel, took to their new relationship with Dale.

Dale is the guy who's come to this small town and is helping to rejuvenate it. But he's also incredibly drawn to Gabriel...a guy who is introduced to Arthur. Arthur and Gabriel fell in love in book #2 in this series. Gabriel isn't the most experienced guy ever, so he's surprised and more than a little guilty about his interest in Dale. Gabriel has no experience with polyamory or the fact that a person can truly love two people at once. Like I said this is a complex book, but my favorite character through it all was Arthur. Because the true relationship with Dale is between Dale and Gabriel, it would be so easy for Arthur to take that badly. But instead he shows the depths of his love by not only allowing Dale into their lives, but pushing for it to happen. He sees how much Gabriel and Dale need one another and isn't threatened by that. It's truly the most gorgeous thing about this story...the depth and purity of Arthur's love. He only wants what's best for these two other men...without regard to himself. I LOVED THAT!!

For Gabriel, the story is about how he accepts this undiscovered aspect to his sexuality. He had no idea that he had it in him to be polyamory or even what that was. He has a struggle in this book, but again that's where Arthur shines...he helps guide Gabriel through the muddied feelings. 

Then there is much pain and hurt here. And again, wow...Arthur's handling of all that was amazing. He loves a slightly different way from the way that he loves Arthur, but it's still gorgeous to watch as he takes care of his men.

Then when the men sort through all the complexities of their relationship, then there is also the fact that they live in a small town where gossip is rampant. They are not in a widely accepted style of relationship, so there are worries there. 

This book was excellent. It's not a menage in the traditional sense. There is some incredibly hot sex scenes, but the focus is the emotions between the three and how sometimes love doesn't fit into expected molds...and that's okay. I thought it was a gorgeous book!

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