Journalism student Gabe Martin gets his first professional assignment—to write about a Christmas charity dinner that benefits a children’s home. It sounds like a total snooze-fest until Gabe learns that the event’s Santa is a mystery man. He shows up in costume and no one has a clue who he is. Uncovering Santa’s identity sounds like the perfect angle to turn a fluff piece into serious journalism.
Mack “The Mountain” McDonall, at 6’10”, is University of Wisconsin-Madison’s enormous star wrestler. When Gabe first claps eyes on him at a wrestling match, it’s lust at first sight. Gabe’s friend, Jordan, sets up the pair on a date. But when Gabe chatters on about his plans for outing Santa, Mack goes cold, and their first meeting becomes an epic fail.
As Gabe researches the children’s home, he learns that Mack has secrets a guy famous for being a brute wouldn’t want the world to know. Can Gabe find his holiday spirit, write a killer article, win the heart of a surly giant, and give everyone a very merry Christmas?
Gabe Martin is having quite a week, he's got his first byline assignment and he's going to his first college wrestling match. Mack McDonnel is a top wrestler in his weight class, truth is he could go pro if he wanted but for Mack its about the scholarship wrestling got him and has greater plans for his future. When they meet, there is definite sparks but when Gabe's article connects with Mack's past will those sparks be squashed out before they have a chance to light something bigger?
First, I just want to say that I look forward to Eli Easton's Christmas stories every year, they have become a highlight of my holiday reading season. Frankly, I think she could turn Scrooge into Santa even without those pesky ghostly visits. Second, I have to admit that as a lifelong Wisconsinite I always enjoy a story even more when I find one set in my state. We aren't a common setting for novels so when I find one I just gobble it up. Third, I have never visited the UW-Madison campus, the closest I've come was my senior year in high school when our football team went to the championship and the game was played at Camp Randall. I have however spent 2 years at UW-River Falls, a Division 2 school in the UW system. So having Desperatly Seeking Santa by Eli Easton in Wisconsin at the UW-Madison, well it was just icing on the cake.
Now as to the story. As I said above I look forward to Miss Easton's holiday tales every year and Desperatly was no different and it certainly didn't let me down. The characters are fun, the story is intriguing and even though I had an inkling who Santa is, it never took away from riding along on Gabe's journey. Having come from a wrestling town, Mack is the epitomy of the sport and I love how his size was developed. As a society, unfortunately we are very "sight" oriented, the physicality of an athlete is what we see and not what's underneath. I just love how the author has meshed first impressions with the reality of who Mack is and what he wants in life.
Desperately Seeking Santa is well written with intriguing characters that most of us probably don't see every day, here in Wisconsin characters of Mack's size is probably more common place because of the sport but even though most might not see them, the author makes them so real that you expect to look out your front window and see them walking down the street. There's drama, humor, lust, romance, and everything in between making this a perfect holiday read but if you run out of time and find yourself reading this in the middle of summer you will love it just as much.
When Julian Gibson realizes he’s transgender, he doesn’t think anything has to change. His parents and friends still call him Julia and think he’s a girl, but so long as Julian can still hang out with his best friend Aiden and read sci-fi novels with his dad, life seems pretty good.
Then high school happens. Aiden ditches him, and a new girl, Maria, keeps cornering him in the girls’ bathroom. A full year after discovering he’s transgender, Julian realizes life changes whether you’re ready for it or not. So Julian makes a deal with himself: if he can tell his secret to three people, it is no longer a hoax. What happens during his slow process of coming out leads Julian down odd pathways of friendship, romance, Christmas shopping, random parties, bad movies, and a realization about why kids still believe in Santa—it’s sometimes better than discovering the truth.
A Holiday to Remember by Felice Stevens
Breakfast Club #3.5
With Lillie away at a sleepover, Marcus and Tyler finally have some much needed time alone together. Marcus can't wait to get Tyler into bed. He has plans that involve getting and staying naked. But an innocent question from Lillie has Marcus wondering if he's ready to take that next big step.
Saturday Series Spotlight: Breakfast Club
What a delicious little holiday tale for Marcus and Tyler. It may be short but it's jam packed with emotion, sexiness, and family, all the things we've come to expect from Felice Stevens.
Last month, Alex Barrow’s whole life imploded—partner, home, job, all gone in forty-eight hours. But sometimes when everything falls apart, better things appear almost like magic. Now, he’s back in his Michigan hometown, finally opening the bakery he’s always dreamed of. But the pleasure of opening day is nothing compared to the lonely and beautiful man who bewitches Alex before he even orders.
Corbin Wale is a weirdo. At least, that’s what he’s heard his whole life. He knows he’s often in a fantasy world, but the things he feels are very real. And so is the reason why he can never, ever be with Alex Barrow. Even if Alex is everything he’s always fantasized about. Even if maybe, just maybe, Corbin is Alex’s fantasy too.
When Corbin begins working at the bakery, he and Alex can’t deny their connection any longer. As the holiday season works its magic, Alex yearns for the man who seems out of reach. But to be with Alex, Corbin will have to challenge every truth he’s ever known. If his holiday risk pays off, two men from different worlds will get the love they’ve always longed for.
20% of all proceeds from this title will be donated to the Russian LGBT Network.
Each year, Riptide Publishing releases a holiday collection in support of an LGBTQ charity. Twenty percent of the proceeds from this year’s collection will be donated to the Russian LGBT Network.
The Russian LGBT network was founded in April 2006. It is an interregional, non-governmental human rights organization that promotes equal rights and respect for human dignity, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. They unite and develop regional initiatives, advocacy groups (at both national and international levels), and provide social and legal services.
To learn more about this charity or to donate directly, please visit their website.
Snowman with Benefits by Marshall Thornton
Desperate to win a neighborhood snowman contest, Trey pulls out all the stops. He and his boyfriend, Landon, work all morning to make a snowman along the lines of Michelangelo’s David. Unfortunately, all does not go well, and the two break up over Trey’s relentless perfectionism. Struggling to take a nap that afternoon, Trey is awakened by the sound of someone in his house. He goes downstairs to find the snowman has come to life – and he’s horny!
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Random Tales of Christmas 2017
Desperately Seeking Santa by Eli Easton
The Santa Hoax by Francis Gideon
The Remaking of Corbin Wale by Roan Parrish