'The Christmas Fling' is the first book in Heidi Cullinan's series 'Christmas Town' a spin-off from her series 'Minnesota Christmas' which I diligently read and loved...even, 'Santa Baby' pulled 3.5 stars out of me, but while the first book in the 'Minnesota Christmas' series started off with a solid 4 star read for me...'Christmas Town' hasn't gotten off to such a good start.
Interestingly enough while I liked Terry and Evan individually...Terry and Evan as a couple, well...not so much. Terry and Evan went from a rather kinky, hot and frantic one-night stand to co-workers who for all intents and purposes as far as Evan is concerned they've never met but even more bizarrely while Evan is frantic to find Kevin, he's less than happy with Terry and upon first meeting him doesn't seem to like him very much but he puts up with him because he thinks Terry is his best chance of finding the elusive Kevin...Oh, if Evan only knew.
As Terry and Evan work together they start to build a relationship as both co-workers and friends and while Evan finds himself wanting to take the relationship to the 'next level', Terry's attraction is tempered by his own quirks and insecurities. It quickly becomes apparent that if Terry and Evan are going to make a go of things they're going to need more than a little help from their friends...friends that we've met previously in the 'Minnesota Christmas' stories. Needless to say this was one of my favorite parts of the story with Kyle & Paul, Gabriel, Arthur & Dale, Frankie & Marcus and a few other residents of Logan.
As much fun as it was to revisit some of the residents of Logan and to meet some new characters like Levi and Charlotte. Where I found I occasionally had an issue was the fact that while Evan and Terry periodically each had people managing their needs to keep them on track personally and/or professionally as they both tended to become singularly focused on a task at times forgetting that they needed to do things like eat or sleep as well, I've known a few people like this and truthfully at times I've been one of those people having to manage someone's needs to ensure they eat, sleep, take meds, etc. and to a degree that means managing the person but at times it felt like it was going beyond managing their time to managing them and given that these are suppose to be two mentally competent men capable of managing their own lives I can't say that I was very comfortable with this course of action by people who were suppose to be their friends...I'm still pondering this one because I'm just not sure how well the idea sits with me...managing...manipulating...it's a fine line we're walking here.
Somehow out of all this and in spite of some fun and quirky moments between these two I just couldn't get a sense of them as a couple...as co-workers...yes, in this capacity I liked them and I could easily imagine them working together as architect and designer. At times I was even beginning to get a sense of them as friends but that's where the connect stopped for me. I think the biggest obstacle to me seeing more of a connection between these two men was the fact that Evan spent a very hot and steamy evening getting up close and personal with Terry and yet, in the light of day because of a name, a beard and few pounds difference in weight Evan didn't recognize Terry as Kevin when the man was standing right in front of him. Add in the fact that Terry made some comments that only Kevin would have known and yet in spite of all these things Evan couldn't see what was right in front of his eyes...so for me, Evan and Terry as a couple was more of a stretch than I could imagine. Maybe if Evan had managed to connect the dots without the proverbial brick to the head I might have been able to get behind this pairing. But he didn't which leads me to wonder 'how can he be so fixated with someone when he can't even pick him out in a crowd so to speak'. I understand that Evan isn't suppose to be good with names and faces but this...wow, this was so far outside of that concept for me, that I just couldn't buy into it.
My final issue was the epilogue while it started to sort things our a bit for me. Unfortunately it was to short and abrupt to finish the job and while the story was complete I was still left hanging and feeling like there just needed to be a bit more to finish things off and put a bow on the package.
I have to admit this one took a little extra effort to get through it was an ok read but unfortunately failed to grab my interest as strongly as stories in the 'Minnesota Christmas' series did previously, but I can be a bit of a die hard about these things so I'm going to hang in there and see what Ms. Cullinan has in store for us next year when we hopefully once again visit 'Christmas Town'.
A copy of 'The Christmas Fling' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.