Rating: 4.5 Stars

Publisher: Amy Aislin

Genre: Gay Holiday Romance

Tags: Contemporary, Christmas, Enemies-To-Lovers, Romance, Series, Small Town, Sports

Length: 238 Pages

Reviewer: Cindi

Purchase At: Amazon

Blurb –

For years, Mik has wanted nothing more than to put coal in Rudy Snow’s stocking.

As former pro hockey players, they’ve been rivals for years. It started in Mik’s rookie season, when a reporter pitted him against his older brother’s best friend. Rudy pushes Mik’s buttons like no one else, going out of his way to one-up him at every turn.

Now they manage pubs in a small town that takes Christmas to a level best seen in Hallmark movies, but not much else has changed. They’re still rivals, this time pitting gingerbread martinis against pomegranate sangria.

But when they’re forced to work together to plan a special holiday party, sparks ignite. Maybe it’s a bad idea to put coal in Rudy’s stocking after all. They both might just catch fire.

Then again, what better way is there to stay warm on a cold winter’s night?

Christmas Falls is a multi-author M/M romance series set in a small town that thrives on enough holiday charm to rival any Hallmark movie.

Review –

This is the third book in the Christmas Falls series, and the first one I’ve read by a new-to-me author. I love multi-author series because I’m able to discover new authors, but there’s always a chance that their writing style just won’t work for me. When that happens, it often takes me out of the series a bit. That’s definitely not the case with this book. It was really good, and I’m eager to read more by Amy Aislin.

Mik Gilmore, 31, runs his family’s pub with his brother, Josh, 32. Josh’s best friend, Rudy Snow, is the manager at a competing pub in Christmas Falls. All three men are retired from the NHL, with Mik’s retirement only being a few months old. With Josh getting drafted sometime before Mik, Mik was always known as ‘Josh Gilmore’s kid brother’ or ‘Baby Gilmore’. He was constantly being compared to Josh, even when he retired and moved back home to Christmas Falls. It was (I’m paraphrasing), “Baby Gilmore follows his brother to Christmas Falls,” not, “Mik Gilmore retires,” or something similar.

Been there, done that. I’m the youngest of three girls. My middle sister and I didn’t stand a chance with anybody or anything because we were constantly compared to our oldest sister. Even now, with both of them gone, I’m still known as her baby sister, not necessarily Cindi. Our mother made it clear that the oldest was the favorite and that was that.

The difference with Josh and Mik, however, is that their parents are fantastic, and the brothers have an amazing relationship.

But it hadn’t been so bad in Josh’s shadow. It was safe there. He’d always had a protector, someone to look out for him, a kind of guardian angel in the flesh. And maybe Mik didn’t always need it, but he’d always known the support was there.

Josh and Rudy have been best friends for years. Back when they were all playing professional hockey, a rivalry of sorts started between Mik and Rudy after a comment made by a journalist. This started a lot of back and forth in the media, with Mik truly hating his brother’s best friend. That carried over when they all retired (at different times) to Christmas Falls.

As for Rudy, well, he’s definitely not been hating on Mik. No, he’s secretly been head over heels in love with him for many years, even when they were bickering back and forth in the media.

One day, Rudy wanted to see Mik’s eyes shoot sparks for an entirely different reason, one that had nothing to do with irritation and everything to do with the sparks Rudy felt along his skin whenever he was in Mik’s presence.

Rudy’s been in town for two and a half years. He lives in a rented house that he’s never really tried to make into a home. The only homey thing he has are his plants. He’s not into all the Christmas Falls festivals and events that have made the town a nice holiday tourist destination. He’s not done any of the activities or gone to any of the fun events that are the town’s bread and butter, so to speak. He goes to work, sometimes spends time with Josh and Mik’s family, and goes back to his lonely rental house.

The thing about Rudy is that his parents are nomads of sorts who move from place to place without a real home. They love discovering new things and seeing new places. It’s just the way they are. This is the only life Rudy has ever known, getting antsy when he’s stuck in one place for too long. He gave up making friends in all those places as a kid because he knew he’d just be leaving again. Josh was different. They met when they were both 16, I think? Let’s just say that Josh became the only true friend Rudy has ever had. That didn’t change when Rudy was traded a few times while playing hockey. It was only natural that he’d move to Josh’s hometown when he retired.

Mik enjoys working for the family pub, but he’s always feeling like he’s missing something; like there’s something more out there for him. Josh is married with a little boy and another baby on the way. He’s frazzled because his wife is on bedrest and he’s trying to do too much. Even so, he’s happy and has a good life. Mik’s just out there wishing for something, though he doesn’t know what that something is.

Mik and Rudy go back and forth every time they see each other, which is often when they both volunteer to take some of the load off Josh. It starts with them volunteering to coach Josh’s peewee hockey team temporarily. After, they volunteer to plan a surprise party for Josh and Mik’s Gran.

Gran. What a hoot! I adored that woman.

Anyway, as Mik and Rudy are forced together for what I mentioned above, Rudy takes a few chances by flirting with Mik and making comments here and there that most definitely would not come from somebody who hates the other guy. It kind of freaks Mik out, but then he really starts paying attention. He’s always thought Rudy was hot. He just couldn’t stand him because of their little rivalry. Now he’s seeing him in a totally new light. He tests the waters a little with Rudy, even asks him out on a date at Josh’s urging, and suddenly they have something going between them. Oh, they keep up the bickering, but it’s more in fun now.

Mik jabbed his stick in his direction. “You’ll be eating your words in a minute.”

There’s something else I’d rather be eating,” Rudy murmured.


I said that’s highly unlikely.”

God, what was happening? Mik had always thought Rudy was hot, but he’d never felt this pull toward him. The only person he had to blame was Rudy himself.

Who offered to plan Gran’s party with him.

Who knew Mik’s drink order.

Who made Mik a dirty chai latte from scratch.

Mik wasn’t crushing on his brother’s best friend, was he?

Had Rudy been flirting with him?

Had Mik flirted back?


Wait. Wait, wait, wait. Had the past however-many years of NHL rivalry actually been flirting in disguise?

Holy. Shit.


I’m going to murder you.”

What did I tell you about being nice to me?”

Normally while I like books well enough with a sibling who falls for their sibling’s best friend, I’m usually expecting the other one to cause a scene or be angry that their friend is wanting their brother or sister. I’ve seen it WAY too many times, and I usually end of hating the sibling. Not in this case. Josh was all for Mik and Rudy being together, had even known how Rudy felt for years. Also, Josh had married Meredith, Mik’s best friend, years before, so it was all good.

You’re not mad?”

Josh’s expression turned perplexed. “About… you and Rudy?”

I thought it might be weird for you. Since he’s your best friend.”

I married yours,” Josh said with a laugh. “I don’t have a leg to stand on here.”

Huh. I suppose that’s true.”

I loved Mik and Rudy together, but the Rudy having one foot out the door slash town thing got tiring. I understand how he was raised, and how he’s never had a true home. But now he’s finally with the man he’s secretly loved for years, and he’s considering taking an out of state job because he’s getting antsy for staying in the same place too long? I couldn’t grasp pining for somebody for YEARS, finally getting with that person, and then planning an escape of sorts because they’ve been in the same place for over two years? No. I couldn’t see it, regardless of how Rudy was raised. Honestly, that hanging over their heads – will Rudy accept the job offer? Or won’t he? – is the only reason this isn’t getting full 5 stars.

He wished he had the words to tell Rudy that they had something special. That he was sorry it had taken so long to see him, but he was all in now and thinking ahead to their future Christmases, and would Rudy please step that foot he had out the door back into Christmas Falls?

I will say this, though… the way everything came together with Rudy and Mik was perfect. It also kept me from rating the book lower. Certain things started making sense when they hadn’t before. That mostly made up for everything else.

I’m enjoying the heck out of Christmas Falls and its residents, and I can’t not mention Mik’s love of all things Bigfoot. 😉 I’ve enjoyed this one and Grinch Kisses and Snowbody Loves Me, though those two books also had characters where the, “Will they leave or won’t they?” bugged me so much like with Rudy in this one.

I’m really eager to read the rest of the series. I normally avoid sports books like the plague, which is strange because I’m a huge sports fan in the real world. While I’ve read some good ones over the years, they tend to not work for me. I think Get Frosted worked because the characters were all retired. Not sure I’d have been eager to read it otherwise.

Note (for those who have and will read the book), I’m aware that the pink duster GIF above is not a Swiffer. I used it instead because it’s cute. For those who haven’t read it and don’t plan to, the Swiffer duster is a ‘thing’ between Mik and Rudy.

On to the next one.