Author: Heidi Cullinan
Length: 272 Pages (Kindle)
Category: Contemporary Romance
At a Glance: For me it wasn’t the perfection that I’ve experienced with every other Love Lessons book—and nearly every Heidi Cullinan book I’ve ever read—but overall, it was a super fun read.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Hot messes have a hard time with happily ever after.
Baz Acker and Elijah Prince have it all. They’re engaged, and their wedding is guaranteed to be a spectacle no event will ever top. So why are they hunkered down in a quiet corner of the Acker mansion, restless and edgy while they wait out the holidays?
When Baz suggests a road trip with Walter and Kelly to Las Vegas, it sounds like an ideal escape, but it turns out Vegas only amplifies their unease. Elijah can’t slough off the self-hating his parents programmed into him, and he worries how that will affect his marriage. Baz, crippled en route because of too much time spent in the car without rest, must face the truth that his wealth and influence can’t always counteract the limits his disability will put on his—and Elijah’s—life.
With help from their friends, a wily poker player, a take-no-prisoners drag queen, and a smooth-talking casino owner, they face the truth that happiness is a state of mind, not a destination where they book a stay. What happens in Vegas won’t stay in Vegas—it will follow them all the way down the aisle.
This novella was written for and by the request of Heidi’s Patreon readers. It is suggested but not required that you read at least Lonely Hearts before reading this book.
Review: I will never not run full speed toward a Love Lessons book. I love these characters like WHOA, and reading this series has always made me feel all the emotions and love all the things—I. Love. This. Series. So, obviously when I saw that Heidi Cullinan was writing more Baz and Elijah—giving them an even bigger HEA—I freaked out, and ran and pounced on this book as fast as I could. Aside from Marius, who I stupid love—more about that later—Baz and Elijah are perhaps my fave characters/couple in this universe. Wait…actually, maybe Walter and Kelly…But, nooooo, Aaron and Giles… Ha! You get the idea. Tons of love for this series.
Back to Baz and Elijah, because Short Stay is meant to be their book, after all…After just being engaged for a few weeks, both guys are feeling the pressure beginning to mount. Gloria Acker is a party-planning force to be reckoned with, and frankly, neither Baz or Elijah are up for the spectacle. So, what better way to get away from it all and unwind than a road trip to Vegas?!
Vegas is such a great setting for a story, and the scenery was utilized well here. The crew goes to the Bellagio, on a VIP outing to the Stratosphere tower, shopping, to a show, into the desert, and of course enjoys their fabulous digs at Herod’s—the owner of which is none other than Ethan from Cullinan’s Special Delivery series. Baz and Elijah’s Vegas getaway provided Cullinan with the perfect opportunity for a crossover story with the Special Delivery gang, and you will definitely see a lot of them! It really was so fun to reconnect with those guys. Randy is just as amazing as you remember him—[insert hearty eyes]—as were Ethan, Sam and Mitch, and Steve and Chenco. I will say that if you haven’t read that series, you may feel a bit lost at times, because they do figure prominently in this book.
You might think with the Vegas setting, and the two groups involved, that it would be nonstop Vegas shenanigans, but as with all of the Love Lessons books, things are much deeper than that. Baz and Elijah are still struggling to figure things out, even with the escape from the pressures back home, and with all of the help, counseling, and guidance from Randy, et al. They just don’t know, given all of their individual baggage, if their love will be enough, if they can overcome everything. Instead of talking to each other, though, they continually turn to others, which was one small issue I had with the story. If these guys can’t even talk to each other, are they really ready to get married?? They are in their early twenties, and have only been engaged for a few weeks. Why the rush to get married??? That just didn’t compute for me, to be honest.
I know some of you could sense the ‘but’ coming in my first paragraph, so here’s the rest of it… Regarding the aforementioned “help, counseling, and guidance” from Randy and the rest, it just seemed like so much convenient perfection at times. Everyone saying and doing the exact correct thing at every moment, and conveniently having right at their fingertips every single answer and thing the guys needed—I’m not gonna lie, it was a bit unbelievable. That being said, however, some of their help and running interference made for some absolutely magical moments in the story. Randy and Ethan were able to orchestrate some things for Baz (and everyone) that were amazing—particularly two of his wedding gifts, which gave Baz the opportunity to be his true self, if even for a short time, and actually brought a tear to my eye.
Other magical things in the book included the entire St. Timothy and Minneapolis contingent being able to make it out west for an impromptu wedding, and Every. Single. Thing about Marius. My love for him grows every moment he is on page. He needs his own book! And, I’m not above begging!
So, yeah, for me it wasn’t the perfection that I’ve experienced with every other Love Lessons book—and nearly every Heidi Cullinan book I’ve ever read—but overall, it was a super fun read, and a great addition to the series. Fans of both Love Lessons and Special Delivery will definitely love the hell out of Short Stay!
You can buy Short Stay here:
About the Author
Heidi Cullinan has always enjoyed a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. Proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality, Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights. She writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, playing with her cats, and watching television with her family. Find out more about Heidi at heidicullinan.com.