A gentle word, a kind look, a good-natured smile can work wonders and accomplish miracles. – William Hazlitt
Cal Harrison knows this because he’s learned it the hard way, living on the streets, sleeping under bridges, begging for food and loose change, trying to find day-work that will at least give him enough coin for a meal at McDonalds. To say that Cal is at the lowest ebb of his life doesn’t go far enough to describe where he is at the moment he ducks into a neighborhood bar during a torrential downpour, hoping for nothing more than a few minutes to try and warm up before he’s forced to leave.
Matt Kirkland is a man who is about as far on the opposite spectrum of Cal’s brand of luck as a man can be, having just landed a deal that transformed him from just another unknown member of the masses who’d happened to create a social website into an internet mogul, not to mention a very wealthy man, nearly overnight. Matt is one of those men whose star is rising but whose head and feet are still planted very much on the ground, and when he happens to be in the bar the day that Cal wanders in, it’s a moment that will change both of their lives in significant ways.
Matt sees something in Cal that can only be explained by way of miracles. The man is cold, wet, hungry, grimy, bordering on skeletal, and just about as odorous as a man can be, yet when Matt sees him all he wants is to know Cal better, to buy him a meal and a hot cup of coffee and show Cal that the world can be a little less cruel, if only Cal will accept Matt’s offer of help. The only problem is that in Cal’s experience, charity never comes without a price, and that’s a price he’s not willing to pay. He’s survived this long without having to sell himself for a warm shower and a few bucks. He’s not about to start doing it now, regardless of how attractive the idea might be.
Ellen Holiday’s Small Miracles is a warm and uplifting story about a man who wants to give and a man who is unwilling—and let’s face it, terrified—to grab hold of what’s being offered. Nothing comes without a price in Cal’s vast experience, not even miracles, and he’s a firm believer in the fact that Fate and the kindness that has been done to him isn’t something he can pin his hopes on without it being torn away from him just as he’s learned to depend upon it.
This is a story of a man who will go to any length to prove his sincerity, to prove that what he has to offer isn’t merely a bed for a night but is the gift of warmth and friendship and kindness and hopefully, in the end, something so much more.
Having read and very much liked this author’s Inside the Beltway, I think it’s safe to say I’ve cottoned on to her storytelling style and the brand of romance she offers. I wanted very much for Matt to be able to touch that part of Cal that’d been taught that trust and hope leads to pain and disappointment, that life was nothing but a series of raw deals, and when it finally happened, on Cal’s terms, I found myself wishing that the story had lasted just a few pages more, to see where Cal and Matt went after The End.