Title: Ice, Snow & Mistletoe
Author: Jocelynn Drake
Length: 156 Pages
Category: Contemporary Holiday Romance
At a Glance: Ice, Snow & Mistletoe is holiday romance success number two for me from this author. It gives good feels, touched my heart, and does what any good romance should do—left me feeling happy for the couple’s happy beginning.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: John Sullivan is escaping to Denver. Even with a massive snow storm on his heels, he plans to hide away in his cabin in the mountains and ignore Christmas. It’ll be just him and a bottle of whiskey until the new year when he must return to Cincinnati for his best friend’s wedding.
At least, that’s the plan until he runs into Oz at the airport.
Oz … the man who should have been just a fling. The man who was fun and laughs but quickly turned into so much more before he completely kicked John out of his life.
Oz who desperately needs his help…
John is ready to leave Oz stranded at the Denver airport in the coming blizzard, but he finds himself possibly staring down at the reason Oz pushed him away, and John can’t say no.
Second chances don’t come around often, but John is willing to fight for one with Oz.
Review: Jocelynn Drake’s Thin Ice was one of my favorite holiday reads of the 2016 season. Her latest release, Ice, Snow & Mistletoe, while not a direct sequel to that book, is set in the same social sphere as Spencer and Evan’s story, and Spencer shows up in this book by virtue of being John Sullivan’s best friend.
Ice, Snow & Mistletoe is an opposites attract story with a second chances chaser, but there is nothing at all easy or simplistic about the evolution of John’s relationship with Oz. Oz is bi, though has never been with a man before, and is, in fact, out to meet a woman for dinner when he spies John and Spencer heading into a bar. To be more specific, John catches Oz’s eye and the lightning strike of attraction is powerful enough that Oz follows John into that bar—a gay bar. The internal conflict of Oz’s actions, his questioning himself for allowing his lust to guide him, almost had him convinced to turn around, but once he comes into direct contact with John, everything else pales in comparison to the undeniable heat that ignites between them.
Though a short novel, Drake is skillful in the use of both flashbacks and present narrative to give readers a clear picture of the way John and Oz’s relationship progressed over the short six months they were together, their compatibility as both friends and lovers shown in memories rather than following them in a linear way through the heating up and the eventual meltdown that followed a life changing event for Oz; one he decided not to disclose to John before Oz ended their relationship. I appreciated the way this made obvious that while John and Oz had an undeniable chemistry, the trust Oz needed, which was imperative to include John in this unplanned detour, hadn’t had a chance to grow. I felt Oz’s protective instincts on a personal, visceral level, and respected his choices even if his method of letting John go could have gone down differently. Now, fast forward five years to a coincidental encounter at the Denver Airport, and we have the catalyst for a beautiful chance at redemption and a new beginning. Though, that doesn’t come without conflict or consequences either.
When it comes to light that everything Oz did was out of unselfish love, and then to watch John become invested himself in making Christmas special, it did nothing but solidify my emotional investment in their story. I developed a lot of respect for Oz, and for John, too, as just a really decent man. And through one little girl, Drake reinforces the truth that hate and prejudice are learned not instinctive. I even ended up liking Ashley, Oz’s ex, something I didn’t expect at all in the beginning.
Ice, Snow & Mistletoe is holiday romance success number two for me from this author. It gives good feels, touched my heart, and does what any romance should do—left me feeling glad for the couple’s happy beginning. Add this one to your holiday reading queue if you like a Christmas-y, trope-y, feel-good-y romance.
You can buy Ice, Snow & Mistletoe here: