Love in a WINTER WONDERLAND–Review & Giveaway!

WW blog tour_bannerHi there! Sharing some love for another M/M romance from Heidi Cullinan. It’s not hard, really, because I’ve adored so many of her books. She’s featured autistic and depressed men, CARRY THE OCEAN, illiterate and sexy librarian men, SLEIGH RIDE, rich and poor men, LONELY HEARTS, and cast-off men, NOWHERE RANCH, so I never read the same character twice.

WINTER WONDERLAND, featuring a young femmy top and a burly insecure older man, is fun and sentimental. And it was magical!

Go on and read the excerpt, my review, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway for the Minnesota Christmas books and swag. You know you want to!

Winter Wonderland (Minnesota Christmas, #3)About the book:
Finding Mr. Right can be a snow lot of fun.
Paul Jansen was the only one of his friends who wanted a relationship. Naturally, he’s the last single man standing. No gay man within a fifty-mile radius wants more than casual sex.

No one, that is, except too-young, too-twinky Kyle Parks, who sends him suggestive texts and leaves X-rated snow sculptures on his front porch.

Kyle is tired of being the town’s resident Peter Pan. He’s twenty-five, not ten, and despite his effeminate appearance, he’s nothing but the boss in bed. He’s loved Paul since forever, and this Christmas, since they’re both working on the Winter Wonderland festival, he might finally get his chance for a holiday romance.

But Paul comes with baggage. His ultra-conservative family wants him paired up with a woman, not a man with Logan’s rainbow connection. When their anti-LGBT crusade spills beyond managing Paul’s love life and threatens the holiday festival, Kyle and Paul must fight for everyone’s happily ever after, including their own.

Warning: Contains erotic snow art, toppy twinks, and super-sweet holiday moments. Best savored with a mug of hot chocolate with a dash of spice.

How about a little taste?

A ten-foot-tall snow penis towered over Paul Jansen’s front steps. Again.

He perched on the edge of his sofa, sipping his coffee as he kept the curtain pulled back with his foot so he could assess today’s phallic offering. It was pretty good. It had a bulging vein down the front, but it wasn’t as defined as usual. Big balls, but they’d clearly been joined to the shaft in a hurry. The glans had a nice contour—the snow artist usually took the most time there.

He’d give it a B+. Putting his mug aside, Paul tightened his robe before stepping into his boots. Opening the front door, he squinted into the sleet and wind. Saluted the penis. Snapped a photo for posterity.

Then he took aim with his right foot, braced himself against the doorframe and kicked the sculpture into pieces before reaching inside for his shovel so he could deal with the balls.

This was the third snow penis he’d dismantled of the season—the very early snow season, as the first squall had come through in late September. After the October tenth storm, they’d had snow cover ever since. The snow penises had started shortly after the blizzard. The first time had him laughing, and he’d left it up for a few hours. But it upset his neighbor on the other side of the duplex. It also made it tricky to get out the front door. So after taking a picture, he’d kicked it down and told his friend Arthur once he got to work, “Very funny, but stop upsetting Mrs. Michealson.”

Arthur had only blinked at him. “What’s funny?” So Paul showed him the picture on his phone, and Arthur laughed. “That’s pretty good! But how’d you do it? The snow is way too fine to pack.”

“I didn’t. You think I’d put a penis on my own front steps?”

Arthur shrugged as if to say, Why not? He squinted at the photo. “Seriously, this is a work of art. It’s almost a sculpture.”

“Well, it’s gone now.” Paul frowned. “I thought for sure you’d put it there.”

“Nope, sorry.” Arthur passed Paul his phone. “Let’s get to work on this bookshelf.”

Paul had put the snow penis out of his head and focused on his job. Logan Design and Repair had only been open for eight months, and while they weren’t about to go bankrupt, they worked like dogs to break even. Paul had gotten his electrician’s license over the summer, and Arthur was working on plumbing. They didn’t do anything big, but they could fuss with a water heater, a fritzing stove, a garbage disposal. Right now they were assembling custom bookshelves for the new pastor’s study at the Lutheran church.

Paul did the books, which often kept him at the shop late. When that happened, dinner usually appeared, delivered by Frankie, Paul’s other best friend’s fiancé. Sometimes it was stew or something homemade, sometimes it was a hot beef sandwich from the café. Sometimes he got hauled off to Arthur’s house to have dinner with the whole gang: Frankie and Marcus, Gabriel and Arthur. Hauled off was the only way they got him there, because Paul hated being the fifth wheel.

Though he was equally tired of being alone.

The day the first snow penis showed up they’d tried to get Paul to come to dinner once they were done ribbing him about his secret admirer, but Paul refused to go, opting to eat his dinner from home at the shop as he caught up on some paperwork.

Shortly after he settled in, his mother called.

“Paul. I’m glad I caught you.” The clipped, irritated tone made it clear glad was a figure of speech and nothing more. “I heard about the incident on your porch. I hope you told Arthur it was in poor taste and I won’t have to hear about this happening again.”

Arthur’s name dripped with disdain as it came out of her mouth. “Actually, I have no idea who did it.”

His mother clucked her tongue. “What a scandal. Have you told the police?”

About a snow penis? Paul entertained himself for a minute with the idea of trying to file that report. “It’s only a prank, I’m sure. Probably won’t happen again.”

“I certainly hope not.” She paused, her tone promising she was about to segue into the real reason she’d called. “I wanted to know if you were coming to church this Sunday.”

Oh, hell. Whenever Mary Jansen told her son she wanted to know if he was going to church, it was code for I have someone I want you to meet. And this someone would not, under any circumstances, be male.

Paul fumbled for a lie. “I’m due to go hunting with the guys this weekend.”

“You’ve hardly been to service lately. What will Pastor think?”

“I went a few weeks ago, but I promise I’ll go again soon.”

“Let me know when, and I’ll have your favorites for dinner after.”

His favorites and an eligible young lady. “I will,” Paul said. This was also a lie.

She’d ended their call shortly after that, but the exchange put Paul off finishing his supper and distracted him enough he mostly stared, frowning at the totals on the computer screen until it was just past midnight. Giving up, he headed home.

A new penis blocked his front door.

The second one had been something else. Not quite as tall, but it curved carefully to the right, and it had all the veins detailed like it was going to be used for an anatomy lesson. This one was uncircumcised, and the balls had hair—dried grass fused into the snow.

He took a picture of this one too, sending it to Marcus, Gabriel and Arthur as a group text. Fess up. Which one of you is the artist?

He had his money on Frankie, since he was the stylist, but either they were all practiced liars, or it wasn’t any of them. They all replied laughing, insisting it wasn’t them, dying to know who it actually was.

Paul had no idea.

My Review:
This is the third book in a series. It can be read as a standalone, but I think it’s best enjoyed after reading the series.

4.5 stars for this contemporary M/M romance, from this sentimental old fool.

Paul is the one of the Three Bears, a self-styled collection of older gay men that grew up in tiny Logan, Minnesota. He, of all of them, wanted a steady, loving partner. And, his two best friends, Marcus and Arthur, each found their significant others in the two past years. At Christmastime.

Paul is a sentimental old fool, really. Now 38 y/o he has always yearned for love, given unselfishly and completely, to him. He wants a storybook love, a Hallmark love–the kind he never felt growing up in his cold-hearted ungrateful family. He and Arthur were a thing for a long time–but Arthur never wanted to be exclusive with Paul, constantly brought others to their bed, and Paul wasn’t able to satisfy Arthur’s need for Domination. It was mortifying to Paul, after a while, so he moved out. They are still good friends.

Kyle Parks is 25 but thin, small and effeminate. He’s had a crush on Paul for the bulk of his life. To a young, gay, bullied kid, Paul and his buddies were the epitome of strength and virility. Kyle has a tenderness that is staggering. His twin sister, Linda Kay, is an adorable and interesting character. She has Down’s Syndrome but is a fireplug nonetheless, and has Kyle wrapped about her fingers. She’s a big part of the reason he still lives at home–their relationship is so excellent. He’s a doting brother and eager to satisfy Linda Kay’s whims. To me, Kyle is a sentimental young fool.

SNOW-PENIS

I don’t advocate making a snow penis, but they surely add a bit of dimension to the landscape!

To the meet-cute: Kyle’s been trying to catch Paul’s eye with filthy Grindr posts, but what really hooks him is the giant snow penises (peni??) that Kyle erects on Paul’s porch once, or three, times. Yep, that got his attention, right quick–especially as his mother and sister keep calling to deride him for being a spectacle, embarrassing the family and wondering when he’s going to come to his senses and find a woman to marry. Yeah.

Paul’s horrified that this babe (think swaddling babe not uber-hot babe) has a thing for him. He’s not even sure Kyle’s LEGAL at first, but Arthur’s mom, Corrina, works her meddling magic once again. If she could get her Dom son a proper mate, she could surely help Kyle win Paul’s heart. Corrina’s known Paul most of his life, and knows what turns his world: this quest for love.

I died as Kyle sat through one after the next of horrible Christmas romance movies, trying to get what Paul saw in them. And, when they are paired to help put together Logan’s Winter Festival it’s a blessing, and a curse. Paul’s so skittish, and he’s been terrified of public opinion for most of his life. His friends aren’t terribly supportive either. Arthur, in particular, deserved a nut punch. I was so glad that Kyle was such a strong man. I’ve heard readers complain that they can’t buy a femme top, but Kyle was fantastic–even as a toppy bottom. He pushed all the right buttons for Paul, except when he didn’t listen to Corrina. It totally made Paul run–as she knew it would. Kyle was persistent, however, and I think that turned Paul’s crank a bit, because persistence shows interest, and interest is a facet of the love Paul craves.

WW_take_a_riskThey have a bit of communication problems, but the biggest impasse is Paul’s inability to love himself, and accept that people may actually genuinely love him, particularly Kyle. The differences between Paul’s family and Kyle’s family was never so starkly etched as on Thanksgiving. The sympathy factor was high, I’ll admit. I liked the added friction of an older man from the Twin Cities making no secret of his attraction for Paul, and also the appearance of Paul’s ridiculous family at a crucial and tumultuous moment. I so liked being witness to Kyle integration into Paul’s friendships, and Corrina Anderson is a crafty old gal.

Expect hot and dirty sexytimes and cold and awesome snowtime fun. Expect a lot of sentimentality and South Pacific and an ending that blows away Hallmark for sensitivity and sap. #Loved.

Interested? You can find WINTER WONDERLAND on Goodreads, Samhain Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and AllRomance. It comes out tomorrow, but go on an one-click it so you’re ready to read ASAP! I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

PS–the first book in this series, LET IT SNOW, is a super bargain at $.99! I snapped it right up!

****GIVEAWAY****

Click the Rafflecopter Link to enter to win paperback copies of all three Minnesota Christmas books (Let It Snow, Sleigh Ride, and Winter Wonderland) and a Logan-themed mug
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

Heidi CullinanAbout the Author:
Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren’t enough of those stories out there. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, listening to music, and watching television with her husband and teenaged daughter. Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights and is proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality. Find out more about Heidi, including her social networks, at her website, Twitter, and Facebook.

2 thoughts on “Love in a WINTER WONDERLAND–Review & Giveaway!

  1. younela says:

    Any holiday I can go away with my kids and grandkids is a great holiday, so far we’ve only managed it once with each of them.. I’m definitely going to have to start at the beginning with this series they all sound so good, I’m wondering how I’ve missed them.

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