For years, Mal has given Aidan a little piece of the world for special occasions in the form of unique rocks and fossils - until the year he gives Aidan a piece of the moon instead. Aidan has treasured every gift: in a world of impersonal relationships, they're the one reminder he has that somebody out there cares about him for who he really is. Then through a twist of fate, their relationship goes beyond personal and into intimate, leaving Aidan shocked and set to run the other way. Despite his feelings for Mal, past experiences have convinced Aidan that he's a failure at relationships, and he's afraid to trust his heart. It just might take a Christmas miracle for Aidan to find the courage to love.
©2012 Ari McKay (P)2014 Dreamspinner Press
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"Romance, on the rocks."
I don't know, maybe. It's an enjoyable read, but I'm not sure it's one to have on repeat.
I haven't this was my first.
I did smile a few times, especially the necklace thing. That was a nice touch.
Mal and Aidan have been best friends for many years. They have shared the highs and lows life has thrown at them and they have no secrets. Well, aside from the little detail that Mal is in love with Aidan. Every year for birthdays and holidays, Mal brings Aidan a rock from wherever he happens to be on his latest trip for work, but this year he brings Aidan something a little bit different, something special.
Everything changes the night Mal and Aidan attend a Halloween themed Masquerade party and they are drawn to each other, not know who they are behind the masks. When the secret is revealed, Mal is hopeful that the passionate night they shared will lead to something more, something he has long held out hope for. But Aidan is used to being disappointed when he loves someone, so he pushes Mal away out of some sort of twisted self-preservation. When Aidan comes to terms with his own issues, will Mal still be there to help him pick up the pieces?
I had a few issues with this story when it was all said and done. First, if you’ve been best friends with someone for so many years, you are going to recognize that person regardless. So the whole not knowing each other when in costume aspect didn’t work for me. I also felt like I never got a real feel for Mal as a character. I’m not saying I disliked him or he was an unlikeable character, the opposite is true in fact. I just wish he’d had more character development in the story. I knew exactly what happened to Aidan and why he was so dead set on being in a relationship, a little more attention for Mal’s past would have been appreciated.
All that being said, Stellman really took the story and gave the characters a distinct voice with his narration. There were these little quirks in the story I enjoyed as well. The rocks Mal gives Aidan every year, and the special one this year in particular, how Aidan puts it on a chain to wear so he can keep a piece of Mal close when they are estranged, the case in his bedroom, the versatility in the characters. So while I had a couple issues with the storyline, overall I quite liked this book.
If you are a fan of short stories with a heart, characters that have to find their own way before they can be a couple and some pretty smexy make up sex, then you’ll probably enjoy this book as well.
"Short friends-to-lovers holiday angst"
This short story packed more angst than I was expecting for such a short tale.
I did like the chemistry between Amal and Aidan, though I would have been interested in seeing more of their dynamic as best friends since I'm a complete sucker for the in-love-with-my-best friend and friends-to-lovers tropes.
Michael Stellman did another great job narrating this shortie. There were times when it sounded like he was a bit too close to the microphone, but I love the sound of his voice, and it wasn't too noticeable.
"sweet if predictable"
This is a fairly predictable, but sweet love story of two friends who have loved each other but have not acted on their impulses for various reasons. When they do act on it, Aidan runs and Mal is devastated. This forces Aidan to re-evaluate his life and luckily Mal takes him back.
I liked how the story arc included therapy and though it happened at lightning speed, it was at least a nod that some of life’s problems need more than “the love of a good man” to fix.
I also liked the symbolism of the rocks, they acted to truly ground Aidan in times of trouble.
The masked ball scene was a little much to swallow, but for the sake of the story I was willing to suspend my disbelief.
All in all I though the story was sweet, a little hot and very appropriate for a holiday short story.
3.5 stars – I liked it!
Michael Stellman did a great job with the narration. He didn’t do much with the voices but did an excellent job with letting the story speak for itself and seemed to “get” the emotion behind the words. 4 stars - I really liked it!
4 stars – I really liked it
A very short story of unrequited love, lost, then found. Both characters were well developed and the story well written with the perfect romantic happily ever after. ♥️
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