Hi there! On the first night of Hanukkah, I’m sharing a contemporary M/M holiday romance from Jacob Cheyenne. HANUKKAH GIFTS puts a “bad Jew” in the path of an Orthodox man questioning his life, and sexuality.
Check out the excerpt and get in on the $10 GC giveaway below!
About the book:
Twenty-five year old TV producer Jared Greenfield loves his New York City life—his trendy neighborhood, high-profile job, and window-shopping for high fashion on Fifth Avenue—along with a whole city of available men. But even with all the fun of big city life, he feels a longing for something—or someone—more. Going through the motions takes him uptown on December night, where, on the first night of Hanukkah, he spots a handsome, sweaty, player on the basketball court of the Jewish Community Center.
Tall, dark, and Orthodox, the young and athletic Shai Goodhart strikes up an easy friendship with Jared, only to discover that Jared has very little appreciation for his own Jewish heritage and religion. Determined to enlighten this “Bad Jew”, Shai invites him over for a family Hanukkah celebration to remember. But Jared’s easy fascination ends when he discovers that Shai has a house full of tangled secrets that threatens their romance before it even begins. Both young men feel they can help one another, but over the eight days of Hanukkah, deeper emotions propel them closer and closer.
Jared is an out gay 25 year old TV assistant producer on a children’s show in NYC. One night, while dropping show swag off at a daycare center, he stops and admires a tall, athletic basketball player in the community center that shares a building with the day care.
Shai is definitely an Orthodox Jew, and that’s at-first off-putting to Jared, because his own Judaism is so lacking. Jared was raised by a single mother, but it’s clear that Shai’s family is wealthy, and devout. They meet on the subway, and Shai’s so intrigued by Jared’s lack of conviction in their mutual faith he invites Jared to his family home to pass a night of Hanukkah. It’s sweet, and has the possibility for more, which attracts Jared.
It’s then that Shai feels the emotional safety to confess his closeted status to Jared–despite being all but betrothed to a beautiful woman his parents approve of. The whole arrangement is archaic to Jared, but he wants to be a good friend to Shai, and Jared continues to talk to Shai, reveal to him, bit by bit, his own world, his own feelings regarding the reality regarding living a lie in his faith and his personal life. Shai is afraid to come out, but he’s developing a solid affection for Jared, and his heart is torn for a man he might come to love, and his family who would never accept them as a couple.
This one is a bit bittersweet, actually. Jared and Shai find themselves in a crisis and it’s unclear if it will ever be resolved. The ending is not entirely happy–what with Shai’s family being horrible about Shai’s sexuality. This is a novella, and there’s not really any steam. Lots of emotional ups and downs, with Jared wanting more with Shai, and holding those feelings back so he doesn’t pressure him. Their brief contact is sweet, and Jared’s mom is a treasure. I liked Jared, because he was so conscientious regarding Jared’s choices, and yet he wasn’t a doormat, either. Still, I felt this moved a little too fast for me, at times, and the end definitely wrapped too quickly. That said, I love reading stories about Judaism and this one was decent, if a bit short.
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Good luck and keep reading my friends!
About the Author:
Jacob Cheyenne is an author of M/M Romantic Fiction. His characters and stories are often inspired by real historical events, figures and scenes from classical art, or from old black and white portraits he collects in antique stores. His debut novella “Hanukkah Gifts” focuses on the turmoil between two young Jewish men with very different ideas about how to reconcile their faith and sexuality.
When not writing, the author loves swimming, hearing live music, reading fat books on empty beaches, and drinking anything coconut-flavored. When not traveling, he lives and works in the bustling heart of New York City.