Pierce Atwater used to think he was a knight in shining armor, but then his life fell to crap. Now he has no job, no wife, no life—and is so full of self-pity he can’t even be decent to the one family member he’s still speaking to. He heads for Florida, where he’s got a month to pull his head out of his ass before he ruins his little sister’s Christmas.
Harold Justice Lombard the Fifth is at his own crossroads—he can keep being Hal, massage therapist in training, flamboyant and irrepressible to the bones, or he can let his parents rule his life. Hal takes one look at Pierce and decides they’re fellow unicorns out to make the world a better place. Pierce can’t reject Hal’s overtures of friendship, in spite of his misgivings about being too old and too pissed off to make a good friend.
As they experience everything from existential Looney Tunes to eternal trips to Target, Pierce becomes more dependent on Hal’s optimism to get him through the day. When Hal starts getting him through the nights too, Pierce must look inside for the knight he used to be—before Christmas becomes a doomsday deadline of heartbreak instead of a celebration of love.
I love putting together my Christmas wish list of favorite authors holiday stories and Amy Lane always has a reserved spot. This year her story was…different. But in the most intriguing way.
Pierce has hit rock bottom. His life literally crashed and he’s struggling to put the pieces back together. He lost his job, left his wife, and is recovering from a nasty car accident. Jaws of life rescued him from the mangled automobile but his mental health suffered as much as his broken body. The single bright spot he has remaining in his life is his sister and he was horrified to discover his anger and bitterness thrown at her. He can’t trust himself and needs a time-out from his shattered life. He escapes to his bestie’s vacation home in Florida hoping the hot sunshine will burn away the black cloud stuck over his head. What he never expected was the blinding irresistible rays from the cute young neighbor at the property. Hal is unlike anyone he’s ever encountered before. As the days melt away, he finds his way again but not without the direction of Hal. His thirty-day getaway is almost over and now that he’s found someone who ignites him from the inside out, he’s not sure how he’s going to leave him. But holiday flings have an expiration date…right?
Quirky humor balances the heaviness of Pierce’s situation. Pierce almost died and experiencing a brush with death rattles a person deeply. Then he faces that fact that he’s not happy with his marriage. He’s divorcing his wife but they are still in the process of disentangling their lives. There is an awkward phone call between Pierce and his soon to be ex that adds to the weight of his grief. He is mourning his old life. But on the flip side, he’s finally breaking free and ready to start anew. Hal is the fresh, fun spark we all need. Without Hal’s eccentric and magnetic draw, this would have been a rather depressing story.
Hal is an unforgettable bundle of joy and cheer. I adored his bossy yet tender personality. I loved how he pushed Pierce but only with the best intentions. Hal is thoughtful and considerate and most of all…fun. He has hurdled his own disappointments and had to fend off attacks on his heart. He appears stronger than he may be but putting on a smile and pushing through is the only way he knows how to be. It seems unlikely that he would fall for the grumpy, bitter older hottie at the pool but the best gifts are those that are unexpected. Hal is a caretaker at heart and loves helping Pierce. He doesn’t question taking a chance when the odds are against him but can he convince Pierce to do the same? Well, there’s one way to find out…..
Age gap, distance, and previous relationships are only a few obstacles these boys have to clear. Although it’s a holiday story, it wouldn’t be Amy Lane without a dash of angst.
Lane groupies! This is a tender story about healing when given a painful but clean slate…the burn is slow…AND the story is not over. I’m glad and will certainly keep my eyes out for updates on their upcoming adventures!