Read my reviews of previous books in the Rebel Sky Ranch series:
There seems to be a default assumption that holiday-themed romances have to be sweet, but Fox sees this assumption, packs a ton of sweetness into this novella, and then raises the spice level off the charts as a surprise bonus.
The “Christmas” element here functions mostly as a time setting that allows the characters to interact, but I appreciate that Fox also incorporates other winter holidays into the experience. Ultimately, this story is about Tanner and Junior encountering each other as young adults finally coming into their own. They’re approaching adulthood from vastly different directions, but the spark of connection happens to work for both of them. And sparks definitely fly as they fall into a dynamic that surprises both of them with its intensity.
However, instead of having her characters be immediate sexual savants and ride off into the sunset together, Fox always sets her books firmly in the real world. Junior and Tanner put in the work to figure out how to make every aspect of this new relationship work for them. Consent is always sexy in romance stories, but Fox proves here that communication can also make even subtle exploration into something incredibly romantic. (And spicy. There is some chili powder in this cozy seasonal hot chocolate.)
This novella is set in the same part of Fox’s epic shared world as the cowboy romances, and many familiar characters are present, but this story can be read as a stand-alone. I do hope, however, that new readers who are here for the holiday spice are intrigued by this amazing found-family cast of characters and check out the rest of the books. I had a lovely time revisiting some old friends (especially the Sparrow and Warwick show, which is always a delight), and I know that new readers who enjoyed their time here will love them just as much.
Disclaimer: I received a digital review copy of this book from the author.