Kinder Thane lost his life partner three years ago and ever since, has folded into himself. He doesn’t speak to friends and only sees his family once a year. Every year on the anniversary of Leland’s death, he spends his time with the ghost of his dead boyfriend.
When Jessie Riley moves in across the hall, it sends his entire existence into a flurry. Suddenly there’s life out there, happiness, the joy of the holidays, and it’s so shocking he almost doesn’t know what to do with it. It gets to be too much but before he can pull back inside and go back to the way he was, Leland has a final gift for him, one that changes everything.
This one was actually a good solid 4.25 star read for me, if anyone’s interested in a sweet, short, 40-page Holiday story with a decent number of feels.
After being together for 7 years together, the love of Kinder Thane's life, Leland, was killed by a drunk driver on Christmas Eve, but for the past 3 years since the accident, Leland had been visited Kinder to help him get through the Holidays.
Except this year, Leland recognized that Kinder hadn't begun to move on with his life.
“I can’t celebrate the day you died,” he whispered in a husky voice.So, getting his inner ghost on, Leland did something about that and bowled over Kinder's hot new neighbor, Jessie, forcing him into Kinder's lonely life through a concussion and trip to the emergency room. Oops.
“I’m not asking you to. But I am asking you to live.”
His partner sighed. “Then maybe I need to give you a kick in the ass.”
Thane glared into the darkness. “I’m fine.”
“Right.” The wry amusement in Leland’s tone made him smile, even though he tried to stop it. He could see the curve of Leland’s lips, the expression that would be on his face in that moment. If he weren’t dead. Instantly the smile was gone.
“Kinder, am I going to have to encourage you along?”
There was no way for Thane to respond to that. He wanted more than anything for Leland to encourage him for the rest of his life, but that wasn’t possible. Besides, why would he want his deceased lover to encourage him to leave Leland behind?
“So be it, my love.”
Before Thane could ask him what he was up to, someone hollered. “Ahhh!”
What followed was extremely cute, with acts of kindness expressed through grapefruits and Christmas stockings.
And with a few coincidences, which may or may not have been coincidences, brought about by a Tasmanian devil ornament and an (un?)fortunate turn of phrase.
The steam level was left at a simmer, but I expected that, with Kinder still reeling from the death of his beloved, so the lack of all out-sexy times didn't bother me.
At only 40 pages, the author did a good job of character development, making the story seem believable and bringing on the feels, but another 10 or 20 pages would've made the story even better. I'd definitely read that expanded version.
But we do get an epilogue, from a year later with the guys moving in together, which solidified their HEA for me and made me smile.
Priced right at only $0.99, I highly recommend this short story to anyone looking to get in the Holiday spirit and very gladly hand over 4.25 *call-me-Kinder* stars for this one.
My copy of the book was provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.
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