Title: Sleigh Ride
Author: Heidi Cullinan
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Rating: 5 Stars
Blurb: Minnesota Christmas, Book 2
Arthur Anderson doesn’t want anything to do with love and romance, and he certainly doesn’t want to play Santa in his mother’s library fundraising scheme. He knows full well what she really wants is to hook him up with the town’s lanky, prissy librarian.
It’s clear Gabriel Higgins doesn’t want him, either—as a Santa, as a boyfriend, as anyone at all. But when Arthur’s efforts to wiggle out of the fundraiser lead to getting to know the man behind the storytime idol, he can’t help but be charmed. The least he can do is be neighborly and help Gabriel find a few local friends.
As their fiery arguments strike hotter sparks, two men who insist they don’t date wind up doing an awful lot of dating. And it looks like the sleigh they both tried not to board could send them jingling all the way to happily ever after.
Warning: Contains a feisty librarian, a boorish bear, small town politics, deer sausage, and a boy who wants a doll.
Review: The smell of books. If there was a scent more beautiful in the world, Gabriel didn’t know what it was. – Heidi Cullinan
I’m a sucker for Christmas stories, and a total sucker for Heidi Cullinan…so, this one seemed like a no-brainer. And, it was. Sleigh Ride ticked all my boxes: Christmas. Quaint little town. Sexy, bearded ginger. Sexy (though, unwittingly so) librarian. BOOKS. KINK. Did I mention Christmas? Heh, heh. Yes, well, it’s all there, folks. You may never look at your hometown librarian the same way again. 😉
Gabriel Higgins has a dream of bringing Logan, Minnesota’s small library into the 21st century. He believes that the people of even very small towns deserve the same access to information that people in big cities have, and as the library director he wants to make it happen, but funds are very tight. So, Corrina Anderson’s idea to sell sleigh rides for a library fundraiser should be a great and welcome idea, right? Unfortunately, though, the plan includes teaming Gabriel up with Corrina’s son, Arthur.
Arthur Anderson is dead set on NOT giving in to his mother’s wishes to play Santa to Gabriel’s elf, and begins looking into other ways to bring money into the library. What he doesn’t count on, however, is how seeing Gabriel in action – reading books to the kids during story-time at the library, and then later, interacting with his nephew, Thomas – causes his entire world to turn upside down.
I loved this passage about how in awe Arthur is of Gabriel when he reads aloud:
“When Gabriel read to you, you felt like the most important person in the world, getting the most important information anybody had ever been given. He made the world fall away, made the world okay.”
In the beginning, neither of them could have possibly fought the attraction harder. In fact, they couldn’t stand each other at the start, and their many denials about that attraction, and about what was happening between them, are extremely humorous at times! But, when lightning strikes in the form of some serious kink that Arthur spontaneously pulls out of the librarian, Arthur quickly realizes that there is no going back for him.
I fell more and more in love with Arthur as the story moved on. He is so incredibly smitten with Gabriel it was hard not to constantly swoon. And he is hilarious, so brash, and raunchy, and blunt. Absolutely fantastic. Classic Heidi Cullinan. I highlighted many lines, but here are just a few…
“He was adorable all around, really, and sexy as fuck with a mouth on his dick. It was all that repression and fussiness – if Arthur had known nerds let go so hard, he’d have been cruising libraries years ago.”
“And those legs…those goddamn legs were the sexiest things Arthur had ever seen. Tall geeks at the library. Take a fucking note.”
“How many times, how many ways, could Gabriel send Arthur to his knees.”
That last one was during one of the swoon-worthy moments. Arthur has a reverence for what Gabriel does at the library, and for the town, that is massively endearing. His respect for Gabriel is so obvious, and I loved how hard he worked to make Gabriel feel okay about what he wants in bed. Unfortunately, our sexy, kinky librarian has a lot of shame issues to work through, and when some of the town gets in an uproar about one of Gabriel’s library story-times, things get a little bit rough. As the fundraiser gets closer and closer, though, and as Arthur and Gabriel do as well, it seems as though they can overcome anything. Together.
Sleigh Ride is wonderful. The secondary characters are great – I couldn’t possibly write this review without mentioning how completely adorable and fantastic Arthur’s nephew, Thomas, is – the story flows perfectly, and the ending is utterly fabulous. I giggled many times…I cried twice…I highly recommend it. I could go on and on about the myriad of wonderful qualities to this book, but I’ll just leave it at this…whether you love Christmas stories or not, you should definitely jump on the ride.
You can buy Sleigh Ride here: