Crispin Henry isn’t an adventurer. He learned early on that the world is a frightening place and that home is rare and precious. If his friends didn’t drag him to sports games and ill-advised trips to Vegas, he wouldn’t get out at all—and his trip to Munich for Oktoberfest is no exception. But it’s there that he meets Luka Gabriel, and he learns to take a chance.
Luka is a free-spirited world traveler, working at Oktoberfest to feed his enchantment with new places and new people. His only possessions fit in his backpack, and he depends on the kindness of strangers for a place to sleep. Crispin should know better—but he takes Luka’s hand anyway, and together they turn three nights in Munich into the relationship neither of them has been brave enough to risk—and neither can let go of.
When Luka turns up on Crispin’s doorstep before the holiday season, Crispin takes him in on hope alone. Yes, he knows the odds are good Luka will flutter out of his life again and leave him bereft, but isn’t it worth it to see if Luka is a homebird after all?
Yay, a holiday story that was NOT a holiday story. Not really. : )
Having a ton of Christmas ARC's queued up, I was beyond thrilled to read this one and be able to hold off on the whole Holiday Cheer thing for just one more book, because let's face it, it's super easy to go from Ho Ho Ho to Bah Humbug, if you read too many of them.
Instead of there being eggnog, mistletoe, twinkling lights and other "It's the holidays, so you absolutely *must* get in the mood" stuff, this was a story about two broken MC's learning the importance of home. But not just four walls and a roof. No, their true home.
After losing his adoptive parents a decade prior, shy and quiet accountant Crispin had worked hard to piece himself back together. Thankfully, he'd gotten the right group of friends and family, but there was still something missing. Something 'more' that his soul needed, but feared.
So when Crispin and his boys visited Oktoberfest in Munich and Crispin met globetrotting, outgoing, broken boy Luca, he decided to allow himself to take a chance. Just a small one, but it turned into so much more.
I loved both Crispin and Luca right from the start. Their stories of past losses were extremely similar; however, Luca didn't have the support system that Crispin did, so Luca, while appearing happy on the outside, was even more shattered than Crispin had thought.
Their three-day whirlwind romance in Germany affected them both more than they'd ever imagined, though, so Luca eventually visited Crispin in Sacramento, but he wasn't exactly sure what he was hoping to find there. Well, at least that's what he told himself.
This book had some classic Amy Lane feels, along with the tiniest amount of angst, and a good bit of steam, of which I was a huge fan.
There was thankfully no Big Misunderstanding in sight here, but there was a short-lived (second) separation that I felt was necessary for Luca to get into the mind-space he needed to be in for a realistic, believable HEA to be possible.
I liked how the book ended and how all of the side-characters came into their own plot-wise. They all added to the richness of the story and I was thrilled to get to know each of them.
I am hoping that Cam and Jamie get their own story soon, though.
A few parallels in this story made me think of Lily Morton's "Risk Taker" (Henry's story), mostly because Ivo was another MC with a penchant to wander. Spoiler: I enjoyed this book a bit more.
There wasn't much that I would've changed in this story, so I'd rate it at around 4.25 stars and recommend it to any fans of Lane's "Goldilocks zone" books, by which I mean not too fluffy, not too steeped in angst.
My ARC copy of the book was provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.
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