A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar collection Stocking Stuffers.
Clay and Daniel fell in love as enlisted men during Desert Shield, but Don’t Ask Don’t Tell meant they had to keep it secret. After Clay’s convoy was ambushed, PTSD changed him, and their relationship ended in a horrible fight on Christmas Eve.
Twenty-five years later, they’ve reconnected on Facebook, and Clay finds out Daniel will be alone on Christmas Eve. Impulsively, he sets out for Daniel’s hometown of Gilead, Ohio—where Daniel is now the mayor—to surprise him with a visit. But a blizzard strikes and Clay wrecks his car. All hope of seeing Daniel is lost—until a mysterious old man named Nick offers Clay a ride.
The weight of past wounds and the scars of war might make their reunion awkward, but Clay is willing to take the risk to win back his lost love. Despite a lifetime of disappointing holidays, Clay hopes that this soldier is finally coming home for Christmas.
Another visit to the quaint little town of Gilead...and it's Christmas.
I have to admit I honestly didn't realize this was a Christmas story which kind of shows how observant I am these days given that this was part of Dreamspinner Press's 2017 Advent Calendar Collection, Stocking Stuffers...obviously not one of the ones that I read...color me slightly embarrassed, but really it matters not because I love Christmas stories and this one was no exception.
'Welcome Home Soldier' is set in the quaint little town of Gilead which is the reason that I came to be reading it. I've read 'The Rhubarb Patch' and I knew I'd be reading 'La Famiglia' so when I stumbled across 'Welcome Home Soldier' even though it's not listed as a part of 'The Men of Gilead' series one of the MCs is the mayor of Gilead...so how could I possibly ignore it? Obviously I couldn't especially when you take into account that it's got on of my favorite things in it...older MCs.
Clay and Daniel met 25 years ago when they were both enlisted men and during the days of DADT after three years together things ended on Christmas eve and on a less than amicable tone.
Twenty-five years later thanks to modern technology they reconnect on Facebook. When Clay discovers that Daniel's going to be home alone for Christmas he throws caution to the wind, grabs his overnight bag and heads for Gilead and what he hopes will be a joyful reunion with the love he walked away from and has never been able to forget.
When Clay's car crashes because of a blizzard Clay begins to think that maybe reuniting with Daniel was not meant to be until a mysterious stranger stops and offers help delivering him to Daniel's front door.
As Clay and Daniel finally find themselves face to face and begin to reconnect it becomes clear to both men that while 25 years has taken them down very different roads, it's really done very little to dull the flare of attraction that they shared back when they first met.
This one had a lot going for it as far as I was concerned first there was the 'older MCs' in case I forgot to mention this, plus it's a sweet second chance story and while I would have loved more reunion time what was there I thoroughly enjoyed...making and decorating cookies on Christmas eve so you can have them later with milk...come on how sweet is that? and best of all two men who are willing to take a chance and reclaim what they walked away from 25 years ago...and there's prezzies!!! No, I'm not talking about the smex...well, there was a little of that too but mostly this one was about reconnecting and coming home...you'll have to read the story to learn about the prezzies!!!
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Reading gives us someplace to go, when we have to stay where we are. (Mason Cooley)
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