Rating: 3 Stars

Publisher: A.E. Madsen

Genre: Gay Holiday Romance

Tags: Contemporary, Age Gap (21 Years), Christmas, Romance, Series

Length: 159 Pages

Reviewer: Cindi

Purchase At: Amazon

This entire review is full of spoilers. Keep that in mind before reading it.

Blurb –

Forty-years-old, divorced, and cruising dating apps for a hookup. Maybe I’m having a mid-life crisis, but don’t I deserve to cut loose a little? How was I supposed to know the guy I matched with was my best friend’s son? It’s been years since I’ve seen him. I should tell him it was a one time thing, but it’s harder to tell him no than I thought.

I’m working two jobs and saving up for culinary school. I’m not looking to settle down and have a relationship, but sometimes I need to scratch an itch. When I run into my most recent one-night-stand in my living room, I know once won’t be enough. He’s only in town for the holidays, so it’s the perfect opportunity for us to mess around. No strings attached.

Sugar Cookie is a dad’s best friend, age gap, MM romance. This book is part of the Merry Elf-Mas multi-author series. Each story can be read as a standalone, but why not come along for the ride as each of Santa’s elves finds love during the holidays.

Review –

Sugar Cookie is the third book in the Merry Elf-Mas series, though each one could probably be read as a standalone. While I liked the first two well enough, this one didn’t wow me. None of the characters were very likable, including the two main characters, Nate and Clark.

This started out good. Clark, forty-one, is almost to his sister’s house where he’ll be spending the holidays. His seven year marriage with Jessica officially ended two months ago when the divorce was final. Instead of showing up at Anna’s (the sister) house late at night, he books a motel room. He’s barely in the room before he’s pulling up a hookup app on his phone. He matches quickly, the guy shows up a little while later, they have mindblowing sex, then the guy leaves and that’s that.

Only that’s not quite how it goes.

Nate’s only goal is to save enough money to be able to go to culinary school. He has a part-time job at a bookstore while also working part-time as one of Santa’s elves at the mall. He’s only twenty, so he’s definitely not looking for any type of relationship. Sex, he can do. Anything more that that, nope.

Imagine both their surprise when they see each other again in the home Nate shares with his father, Sammy. Sammy is Clark’s old best friend. Clark, of course, knew about Nate, but he’s not seen him in a long time. Throw out that real names weren’t used when they hooked up, and there was no way he’d have put two and two together.

That’s all fine and good. They were only together once. No harm, no foul, right? Keep it a secret and that’s that. Well, not quite. These two can’t keep their hands (and other parts) off each other, taking idiotic and stupid chances knowing that anybody could walk in at any time.

And they do. First, Anna, Clark’s sister. Second, though this doesn’t happen until WAY into the book (like at 71%), Sammy. Anna only catches them kissing. The one that really matters – you know, Nate’s dad – literally catches them with their pants down in the kitchen. Not the bedroom. Not the bathroom. Not even in a hallway. The kitchen when they knew Sammy would be home soon.

Sammy catching them goes about as well as can be expected. Honestly, he handled it much better than I probably would have.

Now that everybody who counts knows, they become a couple, and live happily-ever-after. Well, a few minor things happen first, but they do get their HEA.

I never felt Clark and Nate together. I LOVE substantial age gaps in books, but not if there’s no chemistry between the couple. When they were together, even sexually, I felt… nothing. Okay, that’s not true. I felt like they were taking too many chances if they were so concerned about being caught.

As a mother of three grown sons, I will say this… no mom or dad wants to walk in and see what Sammy saw in the kitchen. Just… no.

The entire book (before the kitchen incident) I was waiting on the other shoe to drop, for Sammy to find out. That took so much away from the story for me.

Nate is a very immature twenty. With Clark, I felt like Nate was nothing more than a rebound fling that wouldn’t last long-term. There were almost no conversations where the two guys got to know each other outside of sex. They’d say they needed to talk but end up not doing it. They literally only knew the bare minimum. Nowhere in the book does Clark even tell Nate why he and Jessica divorced or anything else. I admit to skimming over some of the sex scenes, something I never do. I guess I was so frustrated over it being JUST sex with these two when they were supposed to be getting to know each other as people, not just sex buddies.

With the other books in the series, I’ve liked the secondary characters – parents, siblings, nieces/nephews. Not in this one. I like the guys from the other books but that’s about it. Anna, though not as bad as she could’ve been, was a bit of a busybody. Carmen, her daughter, was just a brat. Sammy was okay, I suppose, but not much of his personality was shown in the book.

Overall, the book was okay. As I said, I never felt these guys together, and the constant waiting on Sammy to find out the truth went on way too long and definitely took away from the story for me.