Zac never had a family of his own, but Rudy has enough to share.
Shy, inexperienced Rudy has a crush on Zac from the moment his new colleague walks through the door. On an office night out before Christmas, Rudy finds the courage to make a move, and they form a tentative bond. When he discovers Zac will be alone at Christmas, he invites Zac to come home with him.
Zac prefers to keep people at arm’s length. Yet when Rudy offers him a family Christmas it’s impossible to resist. With no parents of his own, Zac is pleasantly surprised to be welcomed by Rudy’s. The only drawback is that everyone assumes they’re a couple. Unwilling to disappoint Rudy’s mum and make Christmas awkward, they decide not to deny it.
It’s not a chore for Zac to pose as Rudy’s boyfriend, but the pretence makes him want things that scare him—things like a real relationship with Rudy. Zac’s suffered enough rejection in his life already and is afraid to risk his heart. If he can get over his past rejection and let Rudy inside his armour, he might get more for Christmas than he ever imagined.
I love Christmas, I truly do. I love everything about it. I go overboard and indulge in every moment. I shop like crazy, I decorate every room, and turn the kitchen into a danger zone. The more chaotic the better! One thing I always cherish, is opening Northcote’s annual holiday story. He always delivers a tender tale with a heavy dose of heat and it’s becoming one of my traditions. Relaxing with a hot toddy while reading a hot telling from one of my favorite authors. This year we are given Rudy and Zac and I gotta say, it might be better than last year.
Rudy works for Rainbow Futures and he’s got a serious crush on the new guy, Zac. It looks like a crush is as far as it’s going to get though, because Zac is a recluse and shuts down every attempt at changing that. When his boss makes it clear he is to join the staff for a night out, he’s forced out of his hermit status. When drinks turn into shots, Rudy throws caution to the wind and makes his move. The evening does not play out as Rudy envisioned but it opens a door between them. When Zac confides he has no plans for Christmas because he has no family, Rudy offers an olive branch. He likes Zac and would love to have anything Zac is able to give, even if it’s just friendship. To his surprise, Zac accepts. He timidly takes what Rudy is offering and it looks like for the first time, he has plans for Christmas.
Zac shocked himself as much as Rudy when he agreed to go home with him for the holidays. A moment of weakness in his fierce facade allowed him to take…which is something he has learned not to do. Zac has no one and relies on no one. He has discovered the hard way, that he can’t trust anyone. But what if he’s wrong? What if he was trusting the wrong people before and will lose out on something magnificent if he turns away now? Zac thinks Rudy is sweet, naive and hot…perhaps this is the chance worth taking.
It’s obvious where Rudy gets all of his charming personality from, his family. They are loads of fun! From traditional meals and drinks to games (Sardines!) they all kept me rolling. I enjoyed each and every one of them. Rudy has a large crew at home but they were easy to keep straight. I struggled a bit with separating their co-workers in my head and definitely preferred the time spent at Rudy’s parents home, but you’d be crazy to not want to be there.
The visit home may begin as playing fake boyfriends after a miscommunication, but it quickly turns into something much more. Do you know how some people brighten when a certain individual is around? Zac begins to glow in Rudy’s presence. It’s so beautiful. I adored witnessing both of them change in different ways. More confident. More vulnerable. More content. Just…more. They both have special gifts and when they share them with each other, the story sparkles. Some of my favorite parts include a dark closet, a kitty and a chance to love and be loved.
Zac is rather difficult to warm up to initially. His walls are tall and solid. Don’t be surprised if your affection grows as the story grows. He’s rather sweet once you get to know him.
Anyone in the mood for a festive story of hope, chance and the marvelous power of love.