Author: Brandon Witt
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 47 Pages
Category: Contemporary, Holiday Romance
At a Glance: This story is all about the feels and I highly recommend it.
Reviewed By: Carrie
Blurb: Other than working the front desk of a gay bathhouse in Denver, Brian McKay is a bit of a recluse. At the best of times, his social life consists of work, role-playing games at a local toy shop, and making YouTube videos with his Teddy Bear hamsters. The arrival of the holidays—with the annoying music, Christmas shopping, and all the reminders of how he disappointed his father—just reinforces his reclusive nature.
When James Olsen, a gorgeous daddy bear who frequents the bathhouse, notices him, Brian is at a loss. He’s not proud of his own bear status or his struggle with weight. The idea that James has interest in him beyond an easy hookup is more than Brian can fathom. But with a little bit of holiday magic, James might help Brian learn to accept Christmas again—and himself.
Review: Aren’t we all looking for acceptance? The freedom to be who we are and have someone love us, warts and all? This feeling, the happiness and completeness when you meet someone who loves you, right where you are, is what this Christmas novella is all about. Teddy Bears is a quintessential Brandon Witt novel, filled with heartwarming emotions, quirky characterizations, and resolves in a satisfying HEA.
In keeping with the Bah Humbug theme of this year’s anthology, Brian McKay hates Christmas. All of Christmas, December 1st all the way till January. But, it’s not just Christmas Brian doesn’t like; he doesn’t particularly like people in general. Now that he is in his forties, Brian just wants to be left alone to live his life the way he wants to, away from a judgmental human race. He loves RPGs, collecting figurines (which he uses to create YouTube videos), Barbies, and his hamsters. Brian’s work at a bathhouse isn’t perfect, but hey, it pays the bills and allows him to live as he would like to.
James is a bisexual daddy bear who has been alone for a while. He keeps frequenting the bathhouse where a certain bear works, but he can’t seem to make the man pay attention to him. When he serendipitously runs into Brian while at a toy store buying Christmas gifts for his grandchildren, he leaps at the chance to finally have the man he has been fantasizing about.
Cue the Christmas miracles and all the feels. Brian begins to unwind under the calming and supportive, loving nature of James. Miracles keep happening, one after another, as James discovers all the things Brian perceives as being “bad” about himself and turns them into positives. It is a journey of self-awareness and acceptance which ends with both men finding a way forward together.
“I want you to know that how you are is how I want you. You’re the first man I’ve found interesting in years. I got you the doll because I want you to be who you are. That’s the man I want to keep seeing.”
I have to say, I appreciate how Witt creates layers in his stories; having both MCs be bears juxtaposed against the teddy bear hamsters (who stars in those Buffy and Her Teddy Bear Vampire Lovers videos); creating “bath house Santa”; all of these ideas create layers which draw you into his stories and make them interesting, relatable and a joy to read.
This story is all about the feels and I highly recommend it.
You can buy Teddy Bears here: