Title: Candy Canes & Coffee Beans
Author: Saxon Hawke
Publisher: MLR Press
Pages/Word Count: 65 Pages
At a Glance: An absolutely adorable feel-good Christmas story that will leave a smile on your face.
Reviewed By: Sadonna
Blurb: Will Christmas’ biggest fan get his own taste of holiday magic?
Asher Rye lives for happiness – for himself, and the rest of the world. By day, he spreads joy one cup of coffee at a time as a barista. At Christmas, he’s Dasher the elf, spreading the magic of the holiday season to every child and adult who visits Santa.
When a sad little boy visits Santa’s castle with his stuffed goat and uncle in tow, Asher is determined to show him that Santa never forgets. In his quest to show the boy and his uncle the magic of Christmas, he never expects to be sprinkled with holiday magic himself.
Will Christmas’ biggest fan get a Christmas miracle of his own?
Review: So, the first thing I want to know is where the straight girls can go to find Christmas elves to make their holiday wishes come true? Because I’ve read any number of stories with adorable gay elves finding their true loves in the line to visit Santa Claus! And I’ve enjoyed all of them.
Ash is an adorable guy who is intent on getting himself a good dose of happiness. His father has passed away, and he doesn’t want to die without pursuing whatever it is that will make him happy. He’s a young guy, working and taking classes, and his aim is to do something that is truly going to get him to his goal. Right now he has two things doing that—his job as a barista in a coffee place, working for a good boss and with his best friend, and his seasonal gig as Dasher the Elf at the mall before Christmas. Ash loves him some Christmas, and he’s great with kids. He likes his coworkers (who are wonderfully described), and he keeps the chaos to a minimum.
As the story opens on this particular day, his first customer is a rather sad little boy with a stuffed goat, who is with a man who is quite delectable himself (hey, he’s an elf, not dead). The little boy, Sawyer, is skeptical about Santa knowing him and finding him, and he looks to his “Uncle Killy” for confirmation when Ash tries to reassure him. Things go well, but at the end of the night, Ash finds the goat behind Santa’s chair. Luckily there is a tag with a number on it. Ash decides to call the number, since the mall is already closed, and let “Uncle Killy” know that the goat has been found. This is the start of a beautiful friendship.
I’m not going to spoil any of the story because it’s too fun to read. I loved all the characters in this story, from Ash’s BFF Lu to his mom Judith to his boss Albert and, of course, Killian and Sawyer. We get to find out all about Killian and Sawyer and why they are a family. We find out about what drives Asher, and about his desires for his own life.
Every bit of Candy Canes & Coffee Beans is engaging and thoroughly enjoyable. There are a few tense moments, but this is really a very happy and lovely story. This is one of my favorite Christmas short stories this year. Everything about it is adorable, and I just found myself smiling the whole time I was reading it. Highly recommended for anyone looking for a sweet and happy Christmas story with a perfect happy ending.
You can buy Candy Canes & Coffee Beans here: