Melissa reviews Better Not Pout by Annabeth Albert Published November 12th 2018 by Carina Press, 288 pages.
One overly enthusiastic elf.
One poorly timed snowstorm.
Is it a recipe for disaster? Or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for holiday romance?
Teddy MacNally loves Christmas and everything that goes along with it. When he plays an elf for his charity’s events, he never expects to be paired with a Scrooge masquerading as Santa Claus. His new mission: make the holiday-hating soldier believe he was born to say ho-ho-ho.
Sergeant Major Nicholas Nowicki doesn’t do Santa, but he’s army to his blood. When his CO asks an unusual favor, Nick of course obliges. The elf to his Kris Kringle? Tempting. Too tempting—Nick’s only in town for another month, and Teddy’s too young, too cheerful and too nice for a one-night stand.
The slow, sexy make-out sessions while Teddy and Nick are alone and snowbound, though, feel like anything but a quick hookup. As a stress-free holiday fling turns into Christmas all year round, Teddy can’t imagine his life without Nick. And Nick’s days on the base may be coming to a close, but he doesn’t plan on leaving anything, or anyone, behind.
A complimentary copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this: Because it’s Annabeth Albert! And it’s a Christmas story and I love reading those in or out of season. 🙂
It’s Christmas!!!!! Well, almost. But this book certainly put me in the holiday spirit. 😀 For those who have read Annabeth Albert’s Out of Uniform Series, Better Not Pout is nothing like that. I’ve not read all of AA’s stories so I don’t know if it’s similar to any of her other work, but I have read the majority of her Uniform series and the type of story this is is completely different. Same great writing quality, but the characters are different.
Teddy is a bubbly happy person who sees the good in everyone, wants to help everyone and do everything he can to make their wishes come true. He is 28 and living in a small town with little to no hope of finding a partner. He is very close to his family (large extended family too) and the people in his town. I absolutely adored Teddy and his attitude. And boy, do I wish there was a picture of him in his elf costume. 😉 Bet that was totally cute.
Nick is Teddy’s complete opposite. He’s in his 40s, about to retire from the military as an MP (military police), and he’s basically a grump. Not close to his family (for reasons), doesn’t think he deserves to be happy with someone (his last relationship didn’t go well), and he has resigned himself to living life alone, except for some friends – maybe. Nick fills in as Santa for Teddy’s charity center and no, the sparks don’t instantly fly between them. They certainly notice each other, and that was GREAT! Don’t get me wrong, I love a good “love at first sight” tale (mostly), but I want some realism mixed in and Teddy and Nick get to know each other before they jump into bed (or was it the couch?).
Not a slow burn, per se, but Nick doesn’t want to start something with Teddy when he is only going to be in town another month before he retires and moves to Florida. Teddy is hesitant for the same reason, except he is much more willing and ready to be with Nick just for the sake of sex while Nick is in town. And yeesh, was there a lot of sex. Waaaaaay too much sex. I’d guess 70% of the story is sex (just a guess; may not be that high). I got so sick of the sex I skipped it, like all of it. I didn’t even read the kissing because I was so over them being together in that way. Sure, they are trying to pack in as much of the orgasms as they can before Nick leaves town, but does it all need to be on page? The story could have (would have) been much shorter without all the unnecessary on page sex.
I don’t want to spoil the ending but of course there is a happy one, I just won’t share what that is. Nick and Teddy had a great romance in the month they had together, and despite not wanting to fall in love or caring about the other, they couldn’t fight it and that made for a delicious holiday story. There was so much snow and winter in this tale I wanted to move to Florida myself. 😉 This will make for a delightful read snuggled up in a blanket next to a fire drinking hot chocolate.
I give this 4 stars/8 pots
Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer. The #OutOfUniform series joins her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ romance #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat and #PerfectHarmony series. To find out more visit http://www.annabethalbert.com.